Bloggers And Small Businesses Can Conquer Cyberspace With Collaboration

I ‘met’ Freelance Writer Donna Anderson (@SheWritesALot) online when she wrote about the Cornell University / Yahoo! Research Twitterverse Study for the Lexington Examiner. Donna writes regularly for them and I asked via Twitter if she would write a post about writing for local blogs like Examiner.com which has versions for many local locations.

I feel bloggers, small businesses, and consumers would all benefit from some cross-promotion between traditional news sources and blogs – including what Donna has been doing writing for Examiner.com. There is no reason others of us should not be doing the same.

This guest post goes beyond what I had in mind. It is definitely a MUST READ for every blogger.

chocolate covered oreos

Craving chocolate covered oreos?

I’ll have to admit I was a little intimidated when Gail asked me to write a blog post for GrowMap and give you advice on how to write localized articles for your blog. I’ve learned so much from GrowMap and, after her Technorati interview, Gail has become a blogging and business sensation. It’s kind of like Jennifer Anniston asking me to style her hair for her. Is she serious? She wants MY advice?

So it took a brainstorming session that involved a Double Chocolate Smoothie and a handful of Oreos to settle my nerves and help me come up with something to say that you might find useful. And it took another day for my hands to stop shaking enough, after consuming all that sugar, to get it down in writing!

Before we get into the how-to stuff, I should probably explain WHY you should start including local content on your blog. If you’re like me, you always want to know all sides of the story and how everything relates.

I think, by now, we all realize that it’s almost impossible to imagine the vastness of Cyberspace and the potential it holds for connecting with people all over the world. The possibilities are endless. But, when you take a look around you’ll find that, for all it’s size and wonder, people still want to connect on a personal level. Just look at the popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook and all the individual groups and communities within each of those sites.

The social networks aren’t the only sites that are growing in popularity. Sites like Examiner.com that specialize in localized content are seeing a tremendous increase in traffic and it’s because people want to know what’s happening in their own cities and towns. Yeah, it’s great that we can click a button and connect with someone on the other side of the world. But let’s face it:

Most of our day-to-day opinions and purchasing decisions
are based on local information, and most of our day-to-day
relationship happenings involve people who live nearby.

Now, how do you write local content to appeal to the people in your community?

There are two types of local content: news that happens in your local area and news that happens elsewhere that has an effect on your local area. The first one is easy enough to spot and include on your blog. It’s the supermarket grand openings, the lost dogs, the book signings, the parades and festivals, whatever is happening in town that’s relevant to your blog.

The second is a little more difficult. It’s possible to localize just about any type of information. But it’s not enough to simply put the name of the city in the title and call it a local article.

You have to show your readers how that information
is relevant to them, in their community.

Baby food

Click Image for Healthier Baby Food

For example, let’s say you have a baby care blog and one of the baby food manufacturers announces a recall of one of their products. You could simply announce it on your blog but everyone else is already doing that and you’ll never be able to compete for indexing.

But, you can take it a step further and localize your information. Call the stores in your area that carry that product and find out if they’ve removed it from their shelves. Ask them if it’s created any difficulties, are they allowing returns, will they give refunds, etc? Then, include these business names and your findings in your article to let your local readers know how this recall is going to effect them personally.

Anytime anything newsworthy happens anywhere in the world, some blogger is going to blog about it and you’ll have to compete against them for index placement.

By localizing your articles you’ll not only be providing
relevant information to your readers, but you’ll be creating
a unique article (because it’s localized) and you’ll be able
to compete for better index placement.

A bad example of a localized article would be to simply state that Main Street Gazette in Your Town, USA reports that XYZ Baby Food Manufacturer has announced a recall. Yes, you managed to include the name of your city, but you haven’t shown your readers how it relates to them personally. You haven’t added anything of local interest to your article. And you’re just one of the crowd as far as Google is concerned.

How can bloggers and local business owners collaborate to increase sales?

A small business that operates on a local level isn’t really interested in the vastness of Cyberspace, either. All he’s really concerned about is his own little corner of the world, his own city or town or neighborhood. He’s not out to compete with the world. He just needs to let the people in his marketing area know he exists and unfortunately that’s difficult because of the sheer size of Cyberspace. It’s a vicious circle, that’s for sure.

One of the reasons that blogs are so popular is the comments section. After a while the comments section becomes a little community of loyal followers. (There’s that word ‘community’ again!) You’ll increase that sense of loyalty even more if you localize some of your content and focus on a local business. This will give your readers one more point of commonality.

You’ll also be surprised to see more traffic
coming in because of your localized content.

organic baby

Click Image for the Benefits of Organic Baby Clothes

For example, let’s say you have a niche blog promoting baby care products. Team up with your local pediatrician, day care center, or baby clothes store and create a new category on your blog just for them.

Be sure to use their company name and the name of the city in each of your blog posts so they get picked up accurately by the search engines.

How does it benefit you, the blogger,
to include that localized content?

The biggest benefit is that it helps establish that feeling of community. It’s much more difficult to establish a relationship over the Internet because you can’t see the person you’re talking to. But if you help people connect by giving them something local to focus on then, then you’ve given them a better reason to follow your blog.

Secondly, more than 80 percent of all searches are conducted on Google and Google has localized their index. If you type in the word ‘plumber’ the first results you see will be plumbers in your immediate vicinity, based on your IP address. So, if I live in Kentucky and I’m looking for information about hotels in Nashville, I actually have to enter the keyword ‘Nashville’, otherwise my results will be all Kentucky hotels. Using keywords to localize your content will give you more listings on the index which is especially important if the small business you’re targeting relies on traveling and tourism.

MONETIZING LOCAL TRAFFIC:

How you choose to monetize this local traffic is up to you and the business owner. You can charge a fee for advertising space or set up some type of coupon code or affiliate program. You may find that just having a local vet give advice on your dog food blog is enough to boost sales of your affiliate product so high that it doesn’t really matter if he compensates you.

Now, let’s add in the localized online media…

The local small business owner who’s looking at collaborating with a blogger really needs to be concerned about traffic. After all, that’s the whole purpose for teaming up. And some blogs just don’t have the ranking to draw in that traffic. Even if they do, they can always use more. So, in my mind, here’s the perfect scenario with a proven track record.

  • The blogger wants to attract traffic to his low ranking blog and understands that if he adds some local content he’ll be able to establish a stronger community.
  • The small business owner wants to attract traffic to his business and he needs an online presence that ranks well, with an established readership, to get that traffic.
  • Examiner.com is a higher ranking site that caters to localized traffic and allows the author to write about any given topic and link to whatever they want. The writer is also allowed to link to his own blog in his bio.

Put those three points together and it comes out looking something like this:

Local small business owner and blogger collaborate to create 3 or 4 articles a week to post at Examiner.com or a similar higher ranking site. These articles talk about topics relevant to that business and provide links back to the blogger’s blog and the business owner’s website. The blogger and the business both benefit from traffic generated by posting localized articles at Examiner.com because it’s a higher ranking site with an already established local readership. Examiner.com benefits from the additional traffic the articles bring into their site. Everybody wins and it’s all because…

It’s a collaboration!

Will it work? It’s already been proven. It’s actually just another method of article marketing – only it’s localized…and on steroids. I’ve seen this method in use on Examiner.com numerous times and I could name some of the companies but then I’d have to kill ya. In fact, Examiner.com encourages it because it benefits everyone. Everyone benefits when we all pitch in and collaborate! Right, Gail?

Ask away in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can.  In the meantime, Gail, thank you very much for this opportunity to be of service.

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Comments

  1. Ummmm, I think the if top quality Bloggers get united on a common platform then your idea can do wonders. But still it will be very difficult to form such unity.

  2. Small businesses have brighter chances of flourishing into a full fledged big business if done the right way and getting a blogger to write about the business is one perfect technique.

  3. Targeting the local demographic is a great way of building reputation and some traffic. However, with Google’s individual search aspirations its quality might start to deteriorate in the coming months.

    I think there is still a big win to be had with creating content around long-tail keywords though. Low competition makes for an easier ranking but of course does require a bit more work.

    Good to read everyone’s thoughts on this.

    Joe

  4. Stacy Swift says:

    It’s important think that communication can progress business. I’ve a blog & also involve with SEO. we are all friends help each other. Thanks for your better information.

  5. I value the same to the small & large business. No business is small because every concept takes time to grow up. Firstly every business should take intensive care. When it grows then no one can stop it. But there was hard work and honesty behind in every successful business. Undoubtedly the tips will help every new comers in any business concepts.

  6. Bellevue Locksmith says:

    Great Blog, a lot off new info for small business owner. Thanks

  7. It will become more about social

  8. I really like this post. Everybody needs others in order to grow. I am not saying that they should take advantage on something. What I meant was, they should also approach others and see for themselves those who really succeed on their type of business.

  9. Hi Donna! The idea of collaborating with small businesses to come up with a great blog post is great. It is great for establishing credibility online.
    Noel Addison would love you to read ..Mobile Website – Do You Need One?My Profile

  10. Impressive information, new to this field, so your article helped….

  11. This article has some great info for digging deeper to carve out your own local niche. Seems like it should be common sense once you take it all in, that collaboration will local small businesses will allow you to provide some really great area specific information for readers that goes beyond just summarizing the latest local news story. However, most people seem to ignore that common sense for the least amount of work, and so that is where most of the competition will be. Less people will do the work to dig deeper, so there will be less competition for you.

    Great info. Thanks!
    Stacy would love you to read ..Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital CameraMy Profile

  12. I liked this post because of the collaboration emphasis! We need more of this in every industry and I wish others would embrace the collaboration as growmap has and the bloggers that write here. I am new to the blogging world and I am still trying to find my niche but this article was helpful and hopeful all at the same time.
    Dan Honig would love you to read ..Daniel Honig Jr.My Profile

  13. At my last company, a great way we collaborated with bloggers was to have them write a review as well as host a giveaway exclusive to their blog. This got our name out there and giveaways always bring tons of traffic to blogs. A win win situation for all.

  14. Very useful and inspiring information!
    Thanks!!!
    -L
    Laura Ribas would love you to read ..7 técnicas efectivas para gestionar tu tiempo y ser más productivoMy Profile

  15. SEO is definitely getting harder than it was. Google places gives priority to local businesses and cannot easily be fooled due to their confirmation process. Quite right too.

  16. It takes an artist of sorts to blog and blog well. I agree that taking into consideration your community makes a difference. I tried blogging a few times, but I don’t feel that I have what it takes to get a reader and keep a reader. I will take your advice and give it another shot.

    • Lupe, one of the benefits of blogging is that it’s a less formal ‘atmosphere’. You’re allowed to relax and be comfortable, especially on your own blog. when you’re writing your blog posts, pretend you’re just having a conversation with one of your friends and ‘speak’ to your blogging audience the same way you do in normal conversation. That might help you feel better about your blogging.
      Donna Anderson would love you to read ..Using Article Marketing To Tackle The Google GodsMy Profile

  17. I do get your point. I write blogs for a law office and it always has to mention the city and also current events within that location. Based on what I’ve learned associating the city with the current event does increase traffic towards the blog. I also believe that by guest posting on other site helps as long as your article links back to your site. Yeah, you are right. Everything is about marketing your blog and actually spreading the word. Localizing the article does indeed create a buzz that would make whatever it is you are marketing noticeable to readers.
    donna young would love you to read ..Chase Freedom Review: Rewards with No Annual FeeMy Profile

  18. For success in local business it is necessary to be master in all happening of local market. If a blogger become successful in getting the trend of local customer, he will be successful.
    To capture local market a blogger can manage offline sessions with local business men.
    Smith would love you to read ..Steam showers | steam saunas | steam cabins | steam showerMy Profile

  19. I run a few blogs with a strong local focus. I can tell you that posts on local issues that matter to the community is what keeps the majority of my readers coming back. Collaboration with other bloggers is something I have yet to take part in – I’ll be honest I prefer having total control over my content and my brand.

    • Hi Joe,

      It is quite possible to collaborate without giving up any control over your own content. You do not have to publish guest posts if you prefer not to – you can simply have a group of bloggers who choose to promote each other’s content or write about similar topics so that more readers know about them.

      The most important thing you can do for another blogger is write about them and use proper anchor text and promote that content – all things totally within YOUR control.
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Content Marketing GoldMy Profile

  20. Adding local content to your blog can really increase traffic and visitors for your blog. The reason is quite simple many people can relate to the story/content and find it more interesting.
    If you are in side of the reader, you really enjoy reading post that takes place in your community. right?
    Cristina would love you to read ..How can i win the lottery?My Profile

  21. Hello, everyone. My name is Sally and I am really a newbie to all of this. I do however really appreciate all of the information that I get from reading blogs on various subjects. I have found that bloggers are some of the most helpful people on the web.
    Again, Thanks a lot for the information,
    Sally R.

  22. Hey Donna, Unity work every where and its works perfect in the world of blogging too. When we are at problems like tweaking helps, tips . Co bloggers surely help and suggest best ideas too. Helping others too make people to visit your site and they promote your site . The final thing is Making a good relations with visitors and co bloggers can really rocks the blogging life :)
    Harry would love you to read ..Backlink Profit Monster Software Real ReviewMy Profile

  23. Collaboration sounds great. I may partner with a trusted friend and combine our skills to get the desired results. In addition, we may divide the work as per our specializations and this would ease our loads while improving the efficiency. This is a great idea and I plan to try it.

  24. Local traffic is very important for my real estate business.
    Google Places became a big part.

  25. Melanie, your blog is a perfect example of one that would benefit by creating some partnerships with local businesses!
    Donna Anderson would love you to read ..Why I Use Ezine Articles For My Article MarketingMy Profile

  26. Ummmm, I think the if top quality Bloggers get united on a common platform then your idea can do wonders. But still it will be very difficult to form such unity.

  27. yes you were right ive been busy these day to make brand image of my online store . i sell lingerie by online and i realized that Search Engine Marketing has big part in this case.

  28. I definitely have to agree with this article. A simple blog post from a reputable blogger can mean millions to a business.
    daniqa would love you to read ..Oct10My Profile

  29. I agree, bloggers and small businesses can go a long way by trying to benefit each other. Small businesses have brighter chances of flourishing into a full fledged big business if done the right way and getting a blogger to write about the business is one perfect technique. Local marketing is a brilliant technique.
    Ryan Ward would love you to read ..110 Dove Ct – Featured Listing VideoMy Profile

  30. True.. This is another way of helping one another -blogger collaborates other blogger – a good trait to follow and create relationships. Happy blogging :)
    Nerissa would love you to read ..angry birds gameMy Profile

  31. What a unique standpoint on blogging, yet it makes so much sense when you think about it.

    When I read your point: “The blogger wants to attract traffic to his low ranking blog and understands that if he adds some local content he’ll be able to establish a stronger community”, it occurred to me that localized SEO is a great spawn point for scaling things upwards and outwards.

    Great article, Gail.

    Mark
    Mark would love you to read ..Auto Blogging – Get Free Unique SEO Articles Delivered To Your Blog In A ClickMy Profile

    • Hi Mark,
      Local search is becoming more and more important – especially in the mobile marketing area. When you think about it, mobile searches are almost always local – people looking for restaurants, theaters, car repair, etc. The search engines realize this which is why they’re concentrating so much effort on localizing search results.
      Donna Anderson would love you to read ..Facebook vs Twitter: The Results Are InMy Profile

  32. This is really a great idea about collaboration. Well I totally agree that no man is an island. We need others as well to grow. Businesses will not grow if they are alone, right?

  33. I think this is a growing business these days. I mean, the collaboration between bloggers and small businesses, they could really help each other out. Businesses can get data easily while bloggers get paid for writing contents.

  34. Credit card says:

    I loved the idea of collaborating with business related peoples like what you mentioned consulting a pediatrician and getting content to place in the blog section of the website that sells baby care products. This idea will really work out.

  35. TrafficColeman says:

    I do lots of local marketing with content..to be honest I’m writing content for the top stories that happen in my city..I get great traffic from that.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

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