One of the statements I often hear at networking events is “you can’t make money blogging“. And if that’s their attitude to start with, then I guess they are right; they won’t make money blogging.
My main blog is a hyper local transport blog that earns well into six figures. You see using blogs and other social media tools can be very effective for getting more local business.
It seems most people think of social networking as only a way to drive global traffic. However, it can be used very effectively for getting local business as well.
For me, it’s always been about knowing where my customers and readers are based and how they would find me rather than achieving a international audience.
Here are four tips to make blogging local work:
Target local keywords
This is fairly limited, because you can only targeted “area specific” keywords. However, it’s worth doing if there are some tough keywords to crack.
I once spent a couple of weeks going after “Kent Courier” just to annoy a business partner and get my site above his… it worked. It annoyed him. A highly competitive phrase would take longer and more effort, yet may not bring any customers.
Go local. Target regions or local towns and see how effective it can be.
How not to go local…
Don’t copy every post and just change the geographical regions… having been there and done that, it doesn’t work all that well. OK, it doesn’t work at all.
You rarely get traffic from it and you might trip duplicate penalty triggers. Write each post so it’s unique and targets your local keyword. Ultimately it will save you time and you’ll earn more, faster.
Using social media sites
Getting involved in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is a great strategy to get more people to your blog. When used right they can be very effective. I’ve had a Facebook page since 2007, I don’t do very much with it.
But guess what? It still gets found and I still get business from it. Facebook doesn’t work well for me (well it might if I put more effort into it), but it might be where your ideal customer hangs out.
You have to get involved in the Twitter and Facebook community and answer people’s questions. Yep, publicly demonstrating your expertise. People won’t buy from you until they know that you are really interested in helping them. If they can tell that you only care about your wallet, they will avoid you.
You want to get involved and answer people’s questions without expecting anything in return. When you do this, you build up the trust factor. When people realise you really want to help them, they will then purchase your products and recommend you.
But because it’s so public, everyone can see how helpful and knowledgeable you are. It’s a win/win/win scenario.
Many bloggers just go nuts; they go to social media sites and start spamming them, leaving tons of links back to their blog without contributing anything to the conversation.
If you can provide real value, you will make yourself stand out, and generate more business regardless of what niche you are in. Start with local communities and forums for better results.
You want to use the social media sites to get people to come to your blog. Once you get people to your blog, you have to convert that traffic into sales.
This is where a lot of bloggers screw up.
One of the main reasons bloggers fail to make money is they have boring posts that are sales pitches attracting desperate buyers only. Instead of having every post be a blatant pitch-fest, you should post a huge amount great free information. Now this tip is very important… some bloggers are concerned that by giving away how to do something that they lose the customer.
You may lose a tiny percentage of people (who were never your ideal customer to start with) but everyone else is reassured that you know what you are doing. It builds trust and in the local community trust is vital.
Tell a story
It’ no secret that the more value you deliver, the more money you will make. However, you also want to deliver that value in an interesting and exciting way.
One of the best ways to do this is to tell a story. People are very interested in stories, we’re hardwired to remember them. So if you make your marketing about your business life (rather than just about your business), you will do much better.
Using your personality in your blogging will significantly boost your results and customers connect with you.
Over to you – do you blog local? How does it work for you? Could blogging local give you better results?
photo credit: Mexicanwave