How blogging can really boost a local business

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If your business is all about local, don’t think that a blog isn’t worth doing.

There is a lot of excitement going on in cybercircles at the moment about online marketing for local businesses, but many local businesses don’t yet see how blogging can work for them and their customers / prospects.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

First of all, let’s establish what we mean by “local businesses.” My interpretation, at least, is businesses where the vast majority of their customer bases are within a relatively confined geographical area. And by implication, this would suggest businesses that function primarily offline to deliver their products and services. Some, although not all, are likely to fall into the SME or even solopreneur categories. Here are a few examples that I can think of:

  • Plumbing and heating
  • Electrical contracting
  • Law and accountancy firms
  • Taxis and personal transport
  • Automotive retailing
  • Wealth management
  • Book-keeping
  • Hospitality, restaurants, resorts, conference facilities
  • Complementary therapies
  • Franchise holders (various)

First the bad news

Even if your locality is in a city or other densely populated area, realistically you are not going to attract an audience of thousands, although as some of your blog posts will be about generic things which appeal to everyone in your business area you might get lucky!

But here more than almost anywhere in the business blogosphere, audiences for your blog posts are all about quality, not quantity. You may not be getting over a thousand visits a day to your website, but even if you get just 20 good ones, don’t worry. Your conversion rate is likely to be a lot higher than that of any of your competitors who don’t blog, or who blog badly/irregularly/etc.

A local business has a “small but perfectly formed” audience

The good news about that bad news, is because you’re dealing with a geographical locality that you know well already, you’re far more likely to know where to look for new customers and prospects than if you’re blogging even nationally, never mind internationally.

That narrows your field down considerably and although your audiences may be on the small side, there’ll be little “wastage” (people reading your blog who for whatever reason couldn’t possibly buy from you.)

It should also be relatively easy to build up a subscription list of good, convertible prospects – especially if you co-ordinate your blogging activities with face-to-face business networking in your locality.

Don’t forget, also, that there are many apps available for advertising and promoting local businesses on mobile and other devices, as well as various LinkedIn and to a lesser extent Facebook and Google Plus groups based around a business locality in which you can participate and promote your blog.

You can combine both “local” and “business” for a really sharp focus in blog posts

Depending on the nature of your business, you can combine your own local knowledge with your business expertise to the benefit of your readers. By keeping abreast of local business and other news, you can write blog posts that home right in on key issues that affect everyone in the area.

For example…

  • Local weather issues (e.g. flooding and tree falls as we’ve had in the UK recently)
  • New motorway / highway planned through locality
  • Housing shortages / developments
  • Local business award schemes, new business networking groups, apprenticeships, recruitment
  • Interviews with key local figures who have an effect on your readership
  • Local sports facilities and activities
  • Upcoming exhibitions and other events in the area
  • Local motoring news, traffic issues
  • Local retail activities, new store openings, fashion, shopping, hair, beauty, spa resources, etc.
  • A jobs page listing vacancies relevant to your business within your locality

You need to ensure that whatever local issue you write about links strongly to your own business and your customers and prospects, however – don’t just be another local business news source!

Put your own stamp on each issue and invite discussion about it from your readers – brilliant for making your blog “sticky” and retaining reader loyalty.

So if your business is all about local, don’t think that a blog isn’t worth doing. Provided that you write about the right things it really will make a huge difference to your business’s online and offline brand image – plus it will gain you respect and a following you’ll find invaluable.

For more on how to write business blog posts check out this category here on HTWB … there are well over 100 articles to help you. (And I’ll be publishing a book about it soon, too…watch this space.)

photo credit: Peter Blanchard via photopin cc

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