How to Localize Your Content Marketing Strategy
Optimizing your content can seem pretty straightforward, but having it rank well for specific locales is a bit trickier. Localizing your content marketing can bring a lot of benefits, especially because you can tweak the content for various regions to maximize impact.
There are a few simple tips that can help you focus on a more local approach to your overall content marketing strategy. Start with these:
Use local keywords
When you’re making a specific region a target of your content marketing plan — let’s say a city — make sure you use that city’s name in your blog posts and try to include long-tail keywords associated with that city’s name.
Let’s pretend you represent a national retailer that sells widgets, and they are seeing flagging results in Minneapolis. You could focus on some long-tail keywords like, “Where to find the best widgets in Minneapolis?” and “Where can I buy widgets in St. Paul?” For even more detailed and nuanced implementation, you can start to identify neighborhoods, streets and other local points of interest, and target content about those specific things. For example: Find a local park that’s popular, and write a blog post about that, or profile an upcoming regional event that gets people excited and involved. In order to target local, you need to think local.
Write about local issues
It can definitely be worth it to spend some time on local blogs and media aggregators for the region you’re targeting. Continuing on with the Minneapolis example, you could visit Reddit’s /r/Minneapolis to see what the hot issues of the day are, as well as identify some of the local news aggregators. Once you have your thumb on the pulse of the issues, you can formulate a content strategy that includes very timely blog posts about current issues that are of interest to people in your target locale.
There are usually dozens of local blogs and news sites that can provide an endless array of things to write about, and a creative content marketing strategy can include very timely, relevant and local information that can help accomplish overall goals.
Identify and write about local peers and competitors
As you can start to see, localizing a content strategy involves a lot of research, and identifying both complementary and competitive companies is a big part of that. Find out who your competitors are in a market, and discover who links to them and why, then you can start to get a feel for planning a strategy that capitalizes on that information. Identify competitors’ successes and failures, and you can start to identify cultural cues that may help you avoid embarrassing situations. A content marketing plan for New York City, for example, may look far different than one for Mobile, Alabama, and a smart content marketing plan will absolutely plan for cultural expectations and norms.
Use local check-in services for information and targeting
Tools like Foursquare and Instagram allow for extreme localization through hashtagging and check-ins. You would, for example, want to start following the #widgets and #minneapolis hashtags on Instagram to get a feel for the community, then implement smart content on those networks as part of your overall localization plan. Taking a photo on Instagram that people of #Minneapolis would appreciate and favorite can help build brand recognition and awareness. For Facebook, you can actually target posts to specific locales, so this is another way to focus a specific piece of content to a local market.
Guest post on local blogs
You can also offer to write topical blog posts on influential local blogs. Huffington Post is a good place to start identifying influential local bloggers because they often re-post blogs from strong local writers. Build a list using a tool like BuzzStream, and start reaching out to local bloggers to include them in your overall strategy.
Finding your target audience, understanding what sets them apart from other local markets and focusing a content strategy to them is a challenge. But it is also ultimately rewarding for companies that want to set themselves apart from their competition.
Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s nursing programs online, offering one of the nation’s leading online fnp programs. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.
Photo credit: SEOPlanter on Flickr