Many local newspapers have been forced to close over the last decade due to drops in circulation and advertising revenue as readers turn to digital means of consumption.
However, it’s not all bad news. Local bloggers have, in many ways, filled the gaps caused by the loss of newspapers. Even better, you can contribute to this effort with a blog on your website and not only will you be helping to spread local news and information, you will be greatly improving your local search engine optimization (SEO) and awareness of your business.
Let’s look at three things that made local newspapers great and find ways to incorporate those attributes into your blog for maximum effectiveness.
1. Name names
Growing up, were you ever mentioned in your local newspaper? If so, your parents undoubtedly clipped it and probably even bought extra copies so they could send the article to other family members and close friends.
When you can mention your customers or other community members in your blog by name, you immediately create a built-in audience. People will probably even email links to the posts that mention them to their friends and share them via social media.
Sometimes local businesses take too narrow a view of what they can discuss in their blogs. Try to see the big picture of how you and your business fit into your community. Expand your scope by participating in local events. Sponsor some youth athletic teams.
Photos with names of local customers are even better. If you are retail, find ways to capture photos of customers at your store and tie them into a blog post. These kinds of posts allow you to discuss your business, the names of the communities you serve, and products/services you provide in a very natural way, which is what Google’s search ranking algorithm is looking for today.
2. Cover local events
Every community has attributes that make it unique. Pull these into your blogs. To give you a quick example, I was looking at an excellent local blog in a roofing contractor’s website. They had recently suffered a severe hailstorm. He used that event to discuss how hail can damage different kinds of roofs. It wasn’t a major sales piece; it was very informative.
Do the opening and closing days of the school year impact your business? Are there major festivals or events that come through town on an annual basis? Find angles to discuss these kinds of things and how they may relate to your business or your customers. Above all, be informative.
3. Bring in a global perspective
Local newspapers always have a small “International News” section. Another way to entertain and inform your readers is to look at what you do or sell from a nationwide or international point of view. Your business is one piece of a huge picture puzzle made up of similar merchants or service providers around the world.
If you do something that requires a major capital investment in equipment, look at how is this done in poor countries where small business owners don’t have the money to buy the same kind of equipment you have. A friend once told me about a tire repair guy he had to use out in the middle of the desert in Baja California. The man didn’t have electricity or an air compressor, so he figured out a way to use the compressor on his truck’s air conditioner to inflate tires.
Find a way to post frequently: everyday if possible. The posts don’t have to be long. A few paragraphs will suffice. Write in a conversational tone and mention your area and what you do in natural ways. If you keep this up, over time and combined with local citations and other strategies, it will help make your website a local SEO star.
Photo Credit: Stevepb/Public Domain