In 2016, trying to gain traction with a content marketing strategy can seem nearly impossible. This is especially true if you’re a small business without resources. The good news is that there’s an answer to your woes, and it comes in the form of local content.
Content marketing saturation
The past ten years have been a fundamental decade for the content marketing industry. It’s grown from a marketing niche that was spammy and black hat by nature and evolved into one of the single most important and valuable digital marketing investments a company can make.
One of the most appealing attributes of content marketing is that it allows small businesses to even the playing field. For the first time ever, small businesses don’t have to proportionally scale their marketing budgets in order to gain widespread visibility. A long term investment in quality content — as well as a strategic plan for publishing and dissemination — is enough to get noticed.
However, things are starting to shift. Trends indicate that we’re reaching a definitive point of saturation in the internet ecosystem. Between blogs, videos, press releases, website content, social media content, images, memes and dozens of other formats, there’s so much content being published that it’s hard for any one piece to stand out.
Just how much noise is there? Consider that the following is happening every single minute:
- Facebook users are sharing 2.5 million pieces of content.
- Roughly 300,000 tweets are sent out.
- Nearly 220,000 images are uploaded to Instagram.
- Three days worth of content are uploaded to YouTube.
- 200 million emails are sent out.
How incredible is that? It doesn’t matter where you look — you’re swimming in content. Some content is good, while other content is poor quality. Even if content is good, it’s difficult for it to stand out among the noise.
This presents a problem for small businesses trying to utilize content marketing. Whereas massive Fortune 500 companies have the ability to buy their way to the top, there’s a much steeper climb for small companies, like yours.
And while there’s no singular answer to earning visibility, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the best answer is local content.
Local content to the rescue
As a small business — especially one that operates within a defined geographical market — you’re much better suited to develop a local content marketing strategy than a generalized strategy that targets anyone and everyone.
Want some proof? Check out these statistics and data points from RevLocal:
- Half of all consumers who perform a local search on their smartphone visit a store within the next 24 hours.
- 88 percent of online users trust reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
- 35 percent of consumers trust a business after reading just two or three reviews.
- 92 percent of searchers choose a business from the first page of a Google result. Furthermore, the first result on the first page receives 33 percent of all traffic.
- 61 percent of smartphone users want ads customized to their local surroundings.
A local content strategy touches on all of the things an average small business customer wants. As marketer Sarita Harbour says, “Readers want to identify with the information they read, and providing local content as part of your overall web content strategy gives readers useful and relevant information they can use. People like the idea of dealing with a local business or at least a business that is familiar with their neighborhood or city, and your local content helps position your business to be the first one they call when they need your services.”
4 ways to be successful with local content
To rise above the noise, you must create content that actually matters and carve out a successful geographical niche. Overall, local content is the best answer.
Let’s take a look at some of the different ways in which you can be successful:
1. Focus on a specific location and target market
People often think that local content simply involves throwing the name of a city or state into your content and then moving on. While this is part of it, there has to be a deep focus on both location and an individual target market.
To get an idea of what this looks like in practice, check out this example. AustinBands.us is a website that’s designed with a specific geographical location in mind (Austin, Texas) as well as a defined target market (party and event hosts). With these two elements combined, the website is able to penetrate a very specific group and garner maximum ROI.
2. Use available tools
It can be tempting to assume that you know everything about your local market. However, your assumption would be wrong. Your local market — although it may be small compared to the larger national marketplace — is much bigger and more diverse than you realize. The only way to define you market with accuracy is by using available tools. Thankfully, there are a lot of quality tools out there.
Some of the top tools you’ll want to reference include Facebook Insights, Neilson Prizm and the Google Keyword Planner Tool. In fact, you can gather data from one resource and plug it into another to gather even better insights.
3. How-to and city guides rock
As you know, long form, semantic content performs much better than the shallow, keyword-stuffed content of the past. In terms of local content, the best way to create resourceful, geo-targeted content is by creating things like how-to articles and city guides. Here are some examples of what we’re talking about:
These are examples of guides that are effective both in terms of SEO and social sharing. This type of content yields value for years to come and allows you to attract massive amounts of traffic.
4. Make multimedia a priority
There’s a common misconception among many marketers that content marketing refers to written word only — things like blogs, website content, and news articles. The truth is that anything can be considered content. In fact, textual content is currently fading into the background while media-based content – things like video, images, and infographics — is becoming more popular.
If you’re using a social media platform like Instagram, Periscope or Snapchat, local multimedia content is one way to be wildly successful. These mobile-first social mediums thrive on local creation and dissemination, so keep this in mind.
Local content: The key to small business content strategies
It’s currently difficult to stand out amidst all of the noise and saturation online. And while every business functions differently, it’s worth noting that local content has helped thousands of small businesses regain digital footing by reaching highly profitable customers.
If you’re tired of your content marketing efforts falling short, give local content a try!
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