Bloggers: Position Yourself Where the Money Is

Image Credit: Local Money Book

Image Credit: Local Money Book

Most bloggers struggle to make money because they don’t have the one thing that is necessary to really earn an income from their blogs: the right audience.

The money is going to flow to blogs that can reach a specific target audience.

That audience could be people interested in a particular niche (home improvement, golf, healthy living, gardening, etc.) OR in a specific geographic location. Choose the location you love and know the best and that has a fairly large number of people either living in it or traveling to it.

Give some serious thought to how large an area you want to cover because that is going to be key to how many businesses and advertisers will be interested.

In some areas – such as Austin – that will be a simple decision. In others such as the Dallas / Ft. Worth metroplex you will have to decide whether to target DFW or just Dallas or Dallas Metro or only Ft. Worth or Ft. Worth Metro, or maybe rural Dallas or surrounding areas outside a particular direction from Dallas.

Ask around and see what other people call where you want to target the most. Do a little research – maybe check to see how CraigsList has your area sectioned off. They have Dallas/Ft Worth separated into Dallas, Ft. Worth, DFW Mid-Cities, North DFW and South DFW.

A larger area is probably going to be better than a very narrowly focused one because the more people you can reach for a specific business the more valuable your site will be to them. This is going to vary greatly depending on whether you are in a large city or a small one.

Before you decide on the area you will cover, be sure to think about what kind of topics you want to write about and what businesses are involved.

Why target only Santa Rosa Beach or only Pensacola if you can just as easily target the entire Florida Panhandle or even all of Florida?

The reason you want to do that is so that you can reach a potentially larger audience and more businesses will be interested. A lumber mill like Good Millwork would be much better off working with a blog that covers Florida than any one city in Florida.

In their case, blogs or forums about home improvement or interior design might be an even better fit. If you’re really into DIY (do it yourself) home renovations or have a flair for interior design or love architecture consider those niches instead of or in addition to a geo-local blog.

You need to cover an area you know well because you will know how far people customarily travel to shop or on vacation or for entertainment in YOUR area. This can vary greatly from state to state and even city to city.

While city dwellers may rarely drive outside their own city, those who live in smaller cities (populations under 80,000-100,000) usually do travel into the closest large city and those who live in small towns may drive 60+ miles to make major purchases or have a night out on the town.

Do NOT target only the metro area. Remember that those who live outside of it drive into the city because there may be no other choice for them. Whenever possible you want your site to appeal to those in surrounding communities too – and this is why:

You want to target the audience that businesses need to reach.

Different businesses are interested in reaching different geographic locations. There is a hole in sites like Yahoo! Local and Google Maps for some businesses that you can fill.

Those sites usually target only locations within 25 or 50 miles which can be detrimental to manufacturing businesses that are centrally located between major geo-metros. Here is an example.

Golden Rule Gazebo is a gazebo manufacturer which delivers all over Texas and to surrounding states. They are located right in the middle of Texas – perfect for delivering gazebos across the state but bad for getting any kind of visibility on Local Search Directories because all of the major cities are just beyond 50 mile distance limit from them.

That means they can’t show up for searches for gazebos from Austin (just over 100 miles) Dallas (124 miles), Ft. Worth (112 miles), Houston (163 miles), San Antonio (173 miles).

Being featured on and advertising on blogs with large audiences in major Texas metros, blogs that write about Texas in general, or blogs where the audiences might want a gazebo are the perfect solution.

Good target audiences that immediately come to mind for gazebos are people interested in landscaping, wedding planning blogs or blogs catering to Bed and Breakfasts.  Think about what audiences you can reach that businesses need.

Geo-targeted and niche blogs can fill the void for businesses like them. And sharp bloggers can create collaborations to push their local location blogs and niche-specific blogs to the top of Google search.

You can offer advertising packages across blogs for the specific other cities and metros businesses want to reach in the same way free printed classifieds like The Penny Saver and Thrify Nickel (now called American Classifieds) do.

Exactly what geographic area you cover is up to you. It could be anywhere and of whatever size you feel is best for what you want to write about and what kind of businesses you plan to attract as advertisers.  You could even partner with an existing site.

There is ample interesting content that can be developed:

  1. What to do in that area
  2. Local attractions
  3. Local events
  4. Restaurant reviews
  5. Local musicians
  6. Other bloggers who write about your area

By reaching a local audience, your blog can become a focal point that any business local to that area can use to reach their potential customers and clients. That is where the money will be.

It makes more sense for people to “hang out” on a site where others where they live are instead of Facebook or Twitter and that ability may be coming later this year. (More on that in the next month or so.)

You could either have just a blog and use this new Social Network we will be alpha testing OR create a blog that has a live aspect to it similar to how BloggerLuv works. What you want to do is become “the” site – or at least one of “the” sites – that everyone wants to share locally.

If you’re sold on the idea of starting a local site you may be interested in becoming an authorized Local Proud reseller. This very short video explains what they offer:

Have questions? Want to take your blog to the next level or start a new one? Join us in at BloggerLuv, add CommentLuv to your blog, or inquire about being invited into our private blog collaboration.

Just leave a comment in this post or use our contact information.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.