Let me define “local” here for you quickly. If your business earns revenue from a client base that either walks in your front door, drives up to your window, or places a phone call to you to make an order or schedule an appointment, then you probably have a local business.
And as a local business owner, did you know that one of the most powerful tools you have in your marketing arsenal is content?
That’s right, content marketing for a local business is so overlooked today it’s not even funny. In fact, I think I’m going to do a survey of 100 businesses where I live to see how many of them run a blog – and by “run” I mean actively post content. I’m going to wager that the percentage is extremely small.
And because of the “extremely small” amount of content being produced by a local business, there’s an “extremely large” opportunity for you (or any local business) to capitalize on a huge opportunity with content marketing.
If I owned a local carpet cleaning business, for example, and all of the my competitors just had a website – of which they haven’t updated in the last 3 years (which is most commonly the case) – then imagine the dominant position I could hold if I, as a carpet cleaning business in my local area, started to produce content or started a blog! It would be stunning, to say the least.
Ok Bobby, enough preaching about the benefits of content marketing for local business – tell me how to do it!
I gotcha – let’s get to the good stuff… is basically what you’re saying.
Below are 20 tips on how a local business can leverage content marketin:
1) Start a blog
This should be obvious, but not always easily implemented. I always recommend WordPress (self hosted). But if nothing else, you can always start a blog for free on WordPress (non-self hosted), Blogger, Typepad, or even Tumblr – all of these are proven powerhouse platforms for blogging and producing content. And best of all – they are all free! But still, I’d chose WordPress (self hosted) over them all anyday.
2) Use the “global + local” keyword strategy in your blog titles.
So let’s say I’m a car salesman at the Toyota dealership in Athens, Georgia. Then the way the “global + local” keyword strategy would look something like this:
3 Reason Why You Need A Toyota Prius in Athens, Ga.
What you see above is an example of a title that you would use for a blog post. And the “global + local” keyword strategy is the combination of the keyword phrase “Toyota Prius” and “Athens, Ga.” This is a powerful combination because you’d be amazed as to how many people in Athens , Ga. – or any local market, metro area, city, etc… – search global product names and tag their local city to the end. And like I said before, a very small percentage of local businesses use content for marketing which means virtually none of your competition is implementing the “global + local” keyword strategy. To me, as a car salesman in Athens, Ga., this would be a goldmine opportunity! The same is true for any industry in any local market – think about it…
3) Use the “global + local” keyword strategy throughout your post
Using the same strategy as #2, the “global + local” keyword strategy in your title, you need to implement this same strategy throughout your content (or throughout your blog post). Having your global produce or service name plus your local market in your title is powerful, but having it repeated in various ways throughout your blog post is even better!
4) 250 word minimum
Bottom line is, Google loves content. Google is like the content cookie monster – and it can never get enough of its fill. So writing content that has at least 250 words is a simple, yet powerful rule of thumb to follow. I’d prefer to see you write 1,000 word articles, but I understand how challenging that can be and still remain motivated enough to keep writing. So start with smaller goals, and let’s say 250 words minimum to start with – then work up from there. At the end of the day, it’s more about the quality of your content than the length (word count) anyway.
5) Use subtitles
Using sub titles is another great opportunity for you to leverage the “global + local” keyword strategy. If you add a sub title before each paragraph, then you’ll have near unlimited opportunities to capitalize on “global + local” keyword phrase exposure.
6) Proof read your articles
I’m the worst culprit at this – I get so excited about writing an article, and ideas are flowing so strongly through my head, that I get to writing it all down and then I want to publish it as quickly as possible. It’s as if the Internet is about to evaporate and I need to get my content published as quickly as possible.
That’s ridiculous really, but I find myself doing it all the time.
The biggest problem with rushing from “completing my article” to “publishing” is all of the grammatical errors in between. Ultimately, we want to put our readers first in everything we do. Sure, we want to capitalize on search engine traffic with local content marketing. But if the local customer base starts seeing your content and it’s all jacked up, then it doesn’t matter anyway because no one’s going to call you. The easy thing to do is just take a minute or two and proof read your articles before publishing.
7) Use Social Media
I know if might see like a pain in the butt, but take each of your new articles and share them across Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, and even Pinterest (if you use images in your articles) – which leads me to #8…
8) Use images in your article
Images have a way to capturing the casual visitor’s attention and adding an extra punch to your content. And as I mentioned in #7, if you use images in your articles then you share your content on Pinterest.
I’m really starting to take a liking to Pinterest and I wrote about how you can use Pinterest to start an online magazine for your blog.
9) Post Regularly
I’m not really sure how to define regularly, but posting on a consistent basis is critically important because 1) Google loves content, which means if you are posting content frequently on your blog, then Google is coming back frequently to crawl and index your content – this is a very good thing, trust me…. and 2) If you are posting frequently, then you are producing lots of content.
And each new article represents a new webpage that is crawled and indexed by Google and will appear in the search results. After awhile, you can have so much content in the search results for your local business that it’s only obvious that you’d get all of the first calls.
10) Have fun & be passionate
I can’t stress this enough – you have to actually be having fun, or be passionate, or be emotional about what you writing about. Do whatever you need to do to get in the mood (revved up, excited, passionate, emotional) to write your article. Because, at the end of the day, your passion will come through to your readers – TRUST ME!
If you’re writing content just to game the search engines then people are going to know it instantly and you’ll never get another visitor to your blog. Even moreso, Google will figure out that you are trying to game the system and your blog will be “de-indexed” (or remove completely) from Google. It’s never a pretty thing when a site owner is completely removed from Google.
But if you are having fun and being passionate with your writing, then your content is going to do extremely well and top rankings will come quickly.
Here’s one bonus tip to leave you with and it’s critically important. That is – BE PATIENT! Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your online presence through the use of content marketing. However, if you stay consistent and passionate with your content marketing, then I guarantee you it’s only a matter of time before you are dominating every search result that’s even remotely close to your business, products and services.
So what about you? Have you seen success with content marketing for local businesses?
Are there any other tips you would share?