Linda Buquet

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3 Tips for Developing Local Blog Content (From a Local Content Writer that Knows)

Here is another guest post by local freelance writer Carmen Rane Hudson

Blogging can be a great strategy for ranking locally, but it?s not necessarily an easy one. You may find yourself wondering just how much there really is to say about fences, gutters, roofs, or teeth. You also might wonder how you?re ever going to develop content for all 28 of the suburbs your client is trying to rank for.

Since I?ve managed some locally-focused blogs for four or five years now I?ve had time to develop a couple of helpful tricks. I?ve found coming up with ideas and keeping those cities front and center are my two biggest challenges?here?s how I solve them.

1. Watch for community events that tie into the client?s business.

Community events are an obvious strategy for developing locally focused content, but they run the risk of being completely irrelevant. So I like to focus all of my energy on events which have some bearing on what the client actually does. Granted, it can take some creativity or even a bit of free association to come up with these ties?they won?t always be direct.

I blog for a gutter contractor. His local County Extension office periodically holds ?Water Wise? workshops. Talking about water use makes a lot of sense since gutters play a large role in water conservation efforts such as rainwater collection and gutter gardens. I?ve blogged about those subjects for him as well, so talking about the community event is totally natural, and I get to use the name of whatever city is hosting the workshop.

Three caveats here.

First, if you do one community event you have to keep adding others or else the addition of the first one just looks weird. Second, don?t directly promote your client?s business in these posts. If you normally do bios (see below) then don?t do them here. It just comes across as very self-serving, which you want to avoid.
Do, however, make it clear the client is not affiliated with the event in any way (unless, of course, the client is a sponsor or something). You want to make sure the customer understands the client just thought the event was interesting or useful in some way. Otherwise, your client will end up fielding a bunch of useless phone calls related to the event.


2. Talk about local conditions which impact the client?s mission.

This is sort of like the exercise I use for city pages, but it?s a bit more in-depth and timely. A simple scan of the weekly news for the cities your client is targeting can help you develop these posts.

Did a local hailstorm damage every roof in town? That?s great blog fodder for your roofing client. Did the local traffic commission release a report saying XYZ City saw more car accidents this year? That?s great content for a personal injury attorney.
You can also talk about conditions which often arise in that particular city or geographic location. I blog for two different businesses in Tampa, so I talk about hurricanes a lot.


3. Use a ?bio? line.

Usually I end every blog post (except for community posts) with a little bio about the client, written in italics. I feel this is important because the blog post could actually be the very first page a prospect sees. I want a way to communicate my client actually builds gutters if I?ve spent 700 words talking about how to build a rain garden.

I might use something like this:

Before your gutter garden can thrive it will need a nice flow of water from your roof, which means clean, leak-free gutters. If you live in City A, City B, City C or anywhere else in this Major Metro Area We Serve, contact us for a free quote on brand new seamless aluminum gutters today.

This is nice because if you have a list of multiple cities you can just rotate them out with every single blog post, ensuring cities without good community events or local news ties continue to get showcased. This is also a nice way to talk about those suburbs which were ultimately too minor to warrant their own city pages during the website build out.

Finally, it?s also a great way to place the city name into the post without creating ridiculously hyper-local blog titles such as the ?Do I need to Change my AC Filter Annually in Wichita, KS? example brought up in this older thread about blogging for local SEO. There?s nothing wrong with a post about changing AC filters, but adding ?in Wichita, KS? always looks a little bit unnatural, since an AC filter is an AC filter whether you?re in Wichita or Washington.


All Things in Moderation?

In my opinion, except for the ?bio? line, the ?local? techniques should be used in moderation. Blogs are valuable spaces for clients to tell customers all the things they wished they knew, for answering frequently asked questions and for making interactions between a business and its customers just a little bit smoother through the power of information. I wouldn?t sacrifice this far more important content just to get another community event or local news item onto a blog.

As with most things, the 80/20 rule applies?when the local content comprises about 20% of the posts it gives the blog a nice ?human? feel that demonstrates a connection to the places the client has chosen to do business, striking a nice balance between talking to robots and talking to people.

What do you think?
Any other local blogging content tips???


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About the Author: Carmen Rane Hudson is a writer who creates content for local SEO professionals. Find out more about her services by visiting www.crhwrites.com.

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P. S. For more local content insights be sure to visit our <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/local-content/">Local Content Forum</a>.

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One of my clients was mentioned in this article that i thought was a great example of a good local content page so i thought i'd share. (PS - he didn't know his business was mentioned - i caught it from google alerts so another good tool to monitor clients if you're not already using.) How to Spend 50 Amazing Hours in Oakland | 7x7
 
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