September 18, 2015 | Emily Winsauer

8 Tips for Writing for a Local Audience on the Web

We all know that it’s better to appeal to a specific audience (let’s say, 40-something homeowners with kids in Knoxville who like action movies starring Tom Cruise) than to market broadly to everyone. Still, actually writing website content that appeals to the locals can be tough.

By localizing and leveraging content, many businesses can tap into local audiences to attract even more prospects. Obviously, some businesses' physical locations are largely irrelevant; for example, data centers in Scottsdale, AZ are unlikely to benefit from blogging about the weekly Scottsdale ArtWalk. But many (if not most) companies can create blog and social media content about local interests and community events that will dovetail with their goals and initiatives.

Share Your Story

Nurturing your local audience by tailoring the content on your website and social media accounts is crucial—not just for small companies, but also for larger ones with distinct local audiences and unique landing pages for every city they operate in. It’s for this key reason: When we love a story, we pass it on. Sharing increases site traffic and is one pillar of a dynamic content marketing strategy, after all.

When we read about where we work, live, and play, we connect with it and feel the urge to share it on social media. As marketers, we feed that “share” impulse that makes images and links go viral on social media. Whether it’s a neighbor posting photos from your town’s tiny Fourth of July parade on Instagram, or a locally-owned home and garden store sharing seasonal gardening advice on Twitter, we can’t resist sharing what’s going on in our corner of the world.

Tips to Attract Local Prospects

Perhaps a local charity event–a walk for cancer research, for instance–would tie-in nicely with your company’s mission. Or maybe consider how your company has contributed to your community’s history or left its legacy in town. However, you don’t have to be a long-term member of the community to blog for a local audience. Even if you only established your company last month, localizing your web content can still improve your business. Here are our eight tips for writing for a local audience on the web—just to get you started:

  1. Identify your ideal customers or buyer personas first, and then focus on mapping your content to meet their needs.
    Here’s a detailed guide and template for researching your buyer persona’s local habits if you haven’t already. Take Knoxville as an example, where drinking craft beer and hiking the Smokies are popular local pastimes. Consider what content and keywords would appeal to your buyer persona throughout the buyer’s journey. What are their interests and motivations?
  2. Research local keywords and incorporate long-tail keywords into your blog content.
    Find out what your buyer persona is searching for (beyond “Knoxville” and “beer” and “Smokies”). Buzzsumo is a great resource for this. Also, make sure that your meta description and URL include relevant long-tail keywords. Associate your products and services with your locale, and of course stick to SEO best practices.
  3. Keep your eyes open for local events and new stories that mesh well with your business.
    Read local news blogs, community newspapers, and follow local interests on Facebook and Twitter. Think of ways to integrate relevant news into your web content. For example, if you operate a store for runners and it's 5K season, think of ways to tie in a list of local races or a “hall of fame” of remarkable local runners.
  4. Sponsor and participate in local events.
    If there’s an opportunity to participate in or sponsor the aforementioned 5K, that’s even better. The 5K could be promoted on the running store blog before and after the race, noting which runners are longtime customers of the store. Best of all, live-tweet the race and engage with the fans who are doing so, too!
  5. Mention local conditions, weather patterns and situations.
    If extreme weather affects your customers in a way that relates to your industry, write about it! It makes sense for a Florida homeowner's insurance company to blog about hurricane season, or for a heating and cooling company to offer tips for the long winters and hot summers in the Northeast. Perhaps you're a realtor, and the city council has raised property taxes across the board in your county. Research the best ways to navigate property tax hikes—and then write a blog post about it that will help the average person understand what the changes mean for him or her.
  6. Don’t be afraid to link to outside sources.
    For example, a blog for an integrative medical practice might include a link to a recommended massage therapist or other alternative health specialist outside the practice. Not only does it benefit both wellness professionals, but it can help your patients receive more comprehensive care as a result.
  7. Share your media online.
    Take those photos from the 5K race and post them on Instagram. Inform your email subscribers of your company’s community involvement, and ask them to interact with you. Don’t be shy!
  8. Become known for your community involvement.
    The more active you are in community events, civic boards and local area causes, the more visible your company will be, and the easier it will be to integrate this participation into your online presence. The kind of good will and reputation boost you earn are invaluable!

There you have it: 8 simple ways to drive your stories home and engage with your local audience. As the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is"--a sentiment as true today as when your grandmother first cross-stitched it onto a throw pillow.

Ready to nurture your local audience and attract more prospects? Start here.

Crafting Effective Buyer Personas-Click Here to Download

Emily Winsauer

Emily Winsauer

As VIEO's content director, Emily Winsauer was responsible for content strategy for VIEO and our clients for over 5 years. She recently moved to Seattle where she's still creating compelling content in her new role.

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