Search engine optimization is one of many benefits of blogging. Blogging improves your search engine rankings (how high up on the page you appear in search engine results) for the topics you write about, because it demonstrates to Google that your site is a resource of constantly updated information about those topics. To improve your rankings specifically for searches in your local area, it’s helpful to incorporate local references into your content. To help you do that in an authentic way, here are six local-focused blog post topics that will draw new customers from your geographic area:
- Customer celebrations – Is one of your customers marking a special day or milestone in their life? Acknowledge the day and celebrate with them. Ask permission to feature their story and photo as a blog post. This will show that person, as well as your other readers, just how much you value and appreciate everyone who chooses to do business with you. It also shows that you care about their whole life, not just the one aspect you deal with in your business.
- Customer successes – Profile some of the most creative or interesting ways people have used your products or services, and the success or happiness that resulted. Along with a brief write-up, you could also include an audio or video interview and/or demonstration. Like #1, this expresses customer appreciation, but it also gives more insight into what you do in your business. By telling it as a story rather than just talking about your company, you help prospective customers write themselves into that story. Readers will also relate to seeing other local residents and businesses.
- Community profiles – Introduce your neighbours, vendors, suppliers, and other members of your business community. Show what makes them special and how proud you are to have them in your network. Share their news and accomplishments – be sure to follow your local community newspaper to stay on top of who’s doing what.
- Expert interviews – Publish guest posts or interviews featuring local experts who share your customer base because they offer related products or services. Show that you are connected to extraordinary people and you can be a resource for connecting your customers to them. Tip: You can also write guest posts for other local blogs such as the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. Be sure to include a link to your own website in your author bio.
- Charity causes – Use your blog to give back by highlighting the work of a community group or event. If applicable, you can share photos and stories of a personal connection with your business, e.g., if someone in your company has been touched by the issue, and/or if your team is participating directly in a fundraising or awareness campaign. You can also help others support the cause by collecting donations at your location or providing a link for online contributions.
- Weather – How does the weather in your community affect your customers’ lives? Find a creative and genuine way to relate that to one of your blog’s topics. For example, a paint store might offer suggestions for how to store paint cans in the winter.
The best way to get your content seen by local people is by having other local people pass it along. Be upfront about asking people to share – they are usually happy to support local business owners (especially if the content features them or someone they know). To make sharing even easier, have your web developer install social sharing buttons right on your blog so they appear on every post. Also be sure to promote each new post several times on different social media platforms so people catch it when they happen to be on those sites. In a follow-up post, I’ll share tips from some colleagues about how to boost the search results of your locally-focused content and get your business found online by local customers.