3 Ways to Boss the Local Area on Your Blog
Some businesses feel they need to go viral across the world with their social media or blog content, but is that actually so important? If you run a skip hire firm in Doncaster, it doesn’t really help your business all that much if that funny gif of the work experience kid backing the lorry into the boss’s Jaguar is doing the rounds in Guatemala.
Sure, the ‘share’ and ‘view’ numbers look exciting, and yes, some of the people that see it will live close enough to use your business when they need to, but a much better use of your time and efforts is to target your content directly at people in the local area.
How to Appeal to Local Customers Through Your Blog
If your business sells products or services in a certain location, you need to be seen by as many people in that area as possible in order to hit as many potential customers as possible.
Here are three ways of harnessing your blog and social media to do just that, using the example of approaches taken by estate agents. However, these could easily apply to other types of business too.
1) Be the Local Authority on Something
Full disclosure: I write the blog posts for Robert Watts Estate Agent in Bradford, but the will to become a local authority on things to do for families in Bradford was entirely their shout. The company is proud of its roots in the city and passionate about selling its child-friendly virtues.
Of course, they also require posts about buying, selling and renting properties, as that is their main business, but the local content gives them something else that is still relevant to what they do (enticing people to the area in which they operate), and which gives added value to their site.
To revisit my Bakewell tart analogy from a previous blog – the house stuff is the cherry and the local detail is the fondant icing.
Some people will search for the cherry (ie. they want to buy, sell or rent in the city) and find Robert Watts that way. Others will go hunting for the icing (ie. free family days out in Bradford), come to the site, see the cherry and keep the company in mind the next time they need an estate agent’s services.
2) Front a Local Campaign
Another way to cement your place at the heart of a community is to spearhead local campaigns that people feel passionate about. You can document this activity through your blog and social posts, providing a focal point for these activities.
An estate agent that does this very well is Ribston Pippin in Menston, the village next to the one in which I live in West Yorkshire.
Last December, they ran a brilliant campaign called Let’s Light Up Menston, which had two really positive aims. They encouraged people to decorate their houses with Christmas lights, which brought a great festive feel to a place that doesn’t really do official village-wide lights. Secondly, for each lit-up photograph posted to their Facebook page, they donated a ‘reverse advent calendar’ to the local refugee response campaign, containing 24 essential items for those in the area who had fled conflict and danger elsewhere.
Not only did this show off their charitable intentions, but it also put them right at the forefront of their community when it came to making the village feel as Christmassy as possible.
In addition, they use their blog to crown a monthly Community Champion, honouring a local who works hard to make Menston a better place. All of this means that they are hugely visible and own the local estate agent patch.
It’s worth noting, if you are considering taking this approach, that you can’t fake this. You have to truly believe in the campaign you are promoting. If you are anything less than 100% committed, it is pretty obvious.
If you do find something you are passionate about in your local area that needs changing, improving or implementing, make sure you absolutely take the lead and document your progress in blog posts and social media updates.
3. Jump on Board a Local Story
The third approach is to give your own spin on a local story. If you can find a funny, silly, interesting or unusual angle on something that concerns your potential customers, that post could soon be shared around them like wildfire.
This tactic is the reason behind writing this post. I’m a Scunthorpe United fan and, at the weekend, the club sacked manager Graham Alexander. If I was writing a blog for a North Lincolnshire estate agent, I would be all over this story; it’s huge for their target audience. However, no one seemed to have bothered, so I tweeted them…
#Scunthorpe#EstateAgents, why haven’t any of you written a “Five Properties to Tempt a New @SUFCOfficial Manager” blog? Showcase your sale properties near golf courses etc. I’ll do it for £25 – first come, first served. @PaulFoxEA@StarkeyBrown@hellolovellespic.twitter.com/dwdfBUajmC
— Jim Coulson (@jimcoulson) March 26, 2018
What an opportunity to have your post and branding shared amongst fiercely loyal and local football fans, many of whom will be considering moving house in your catchment area in the near future. You could showcase your local knowledge, advertise some houses you have for sale right now and show how much of a good sport you are, all at the same time.
If local people know you post interesting stuff that is relevant to them, they are more likely to follow/like your profiles and then you’ll be front of mind next time they need your services.
If you run a local business, there is a limit to your potential customer base – basically, it’s the people who live close enough to use your company. By owning the local area through a clever take on the news, leading a campaign or becoming an authority on something that people in that area value, you put yourself ahead of the competition.
Perhaps my background in local radio makes me so passionate about this; localness was the biggest advantage we had over the big national stations so we really worked at trying to win that battle.
If you would like to boss your local area on your blog, I can write posts for you that do just that. Get in contact today and together we can work out a blog content plan to target the areas of your community you would most like to talk to.