Most people who write for a personal or professional blog do so with the intention of capturing the widest possible audience. They write evergreen content, hoping to make their posts relevant for as long as possible, and try to cater to a national, or even international audience.
But while this approach can be beneficial, especially at large scales, there’s often a more impressive benefit to writing locally-focused content. For example, rather than writing about the national housing market, you could focus on a local market like Houston. Instead of writing about auto accident statistics across the country, you can focus on recent trends in your hometown.
Why is local content so beneficial for your blog, and what steps can you take to get started?
The Perks of Local Content
There are three major benefits to writing and publishing strong local content on your blog, regardless of your industry:
- Competitive differentiation. Chances are, there are hundreds of blogs like yours operating at a national or international scale. Maybe even thousands. That’s a lot of competitors to worry about. But how many of those competitors are focusing exclusively on demographics in your hometown, or in your surrounding metropolitan area? By focusing on more local content, you’ll instantly narrow your range of relevant demographics; that may seem like a bad thing, but you’ll gain competitive differentiation. You’ll set yourself out from your thousands of competitors, and will have the opportunity to gain an edge.
- Local keywords. Local content also gives you the opportunity to optimize your blog for local keywords—words and phrases pertaining to your geographic location. If you do this correctly, embedding local keywords in the titles, headers, descriptions, and body of your blog posts, eventually your blog will rise in search engine rankings for local searches (and searches that have been modified based on a user’s geographic location). Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex and nuanced strategy, so it’s not as simple as stuffing local keywords into your content, but it’s a good start if you want more organic search traffic.
- Networking and prominence. Writing local content gives you a good excuse to engage with people in your local community, and over time, you’ll gain prominence in local circles. If there’s a community of people with passions aligned with yours, you can meet them in person, and they’ll be more likely to support your work. You may also discover people in your area who can help you in other ways, such as by giving you a speaking platform, connecting you with other people in your industry, or generally helping you establish yourself in this city.
Finding Local Topics
The question is, then, how can you find new topics to write about, and which local topics should you choose?
- Cover local events. Start by discovering and covering local events. Is there a big industry conference in or near your city? Attend, take lots of photos and videos, and write about your experience. Is there a festival happening downtown? Spend some time there, and write about the experience. Obviously, the more closely related the event is to your overall blog subject, the better, but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone if it means getting a fresh new post. While you’re at it, make sure to stay active on social media during the event; it’s an easy way to attract new fans and readers.
- Interview local leaders. Next, try interviewing prominent people in your city—especially if they’re relevant to your industry. Most people will be willing to volunteer an hour of their time in exchange for the increased visibility or publicity they’ll get by being involved in your blog. They’ll also do you the favor of promoting the piece when you publish it. This is also a good opportunity to publish the content in multiple formats, potentially including a video, podcast audio, and a transcript of the conversation as a blog post.
- Study local trends and news. Pay close attention to what’s going on in your city. Read the local newspaper, and talk to people about happenings around town. Is there a political scandal rocking the mayor’s office? Is there a new business building headquarters in your city? Take the opportunity to learn and write about it—and find a way to tie it to your core content.
- Guest speak. As you start becoming more integrated into your local community, look for opportunities to guest speak. It’s a great chance to network with other prominent community members, and it will give you a platform you can use to introduce your blog to more people. Depending on your long-term goals, this may also be a useful way to promote a book, build a business, or transition to a different medium.
However you choose to approach it, incorporating more local content into your blog can help you achieve more visibility and popularity. Experiment with different angles, get involved with your community, and eventually, you’ll find your stride.