How Local Businesses Can Blog Successfully About Anything

I was inspired by a post written the other day on SEOmoz, which talks about how a business can blog about anything successfully. Reading the article, I agreed with just about everything the author said, but had one important thing to add: blogging successfully, when your business depends on local customers is a bit different than blogging with a national or worldwide focus. The key here, is that it’s very important to write articles with a local focus or you will get mostly irrelevant traffic.

Don’t get me wrong, blogging will increase your traffic, but what good is that traffic if you are talking to people who live in other states and you don’t ship or if your business physically serves one area in one state and your traffic is coming from all over the globe? Not much.

Local businesses, ideally, need traffic coming in from prospects in their area.

I’ve seen this scenario more times than I can count: A marketer was able to increase traffic to a local business’s website many time over by blogging regularly – which is awesome. However, what’s not so awesome, is when taking a deeper dive into their traffic analytics it’s easy enough to see that 95% of the traffic is coming from people who can’t do business with them, even if they wanted to – because they are located outside of the business’s service area.

How to blog successfully with a local focus to get more sales ready traffic

Keep in mind, that no matter what you do, there is a local focus. Think about the most common questions you are asked. Many of them may be general, but think about how you could put a local spin on them. For example:

A plumber is asked frequently how to keep pipes from freezing. But, let’s say this plumber is located in Southern California, where it very rarely gets cold enough to freeze. It wouldn’t be too difficult to drum up some ideas that speak to your local area, such as “How to Protect Pipes in Southern California and Avoid Emergency Repairs” or “Keep Pipes Safe from Rare Southern California Freezes”. Start by taking those common questions that the business is asked and think local.

Using the location in your title will help keep the focus local and will also help people in your area who are searching for information related to their specific problem find what they need. Most importantly, keeping a local focus will give your business a chance to make a great first impression with people who can actually do business with you.

Now you have two, really great things going for you: Trust and Location.

People prefer to shop locally when they can. It’s easier to trust a business that they can walk into or meet with face-to-face if they needed to.

Local blog topic idea for small business

Other ideas, such as searching the web and using Q&A sites such as Quora are a great place to go to get ideas about topics you can cover. Even if a topic has already been covered on a national basis, there is no reason why you can’t bring it home and put your local spin on it. As long as you can cover a localized topic fully and provide helpful information, you will see gains in organic local search traffic.

Lastly, make sure you have social sharing buttons on your site that make it easy to share your blog’s content. Most people have a large local circle of friends that they have connected with on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. Having content that’s helpful to a local audience will also boost the potential for sharing to more local people within your reader’s circles. This will further extend your branding potential – all from your blog.
photo credit: JSmith Photo

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