I welcome you to the fifth and final post in this series on regional Hyperlocal Blogging. I hope you’ve caught parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. So far, we’ve covered the waterfront of blogging in some of my favorite California counties, the unifying quality of which is that they have a strong rural element. Today, we’re cruising down HWY 101 to the big city – The City – San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.
When the Irish contingent of my ancestors got off the boat a century ago, they chose San Francisco for its opportunities. They made a home in this famed city of elegant parks, blossoming commerce and strictly divided neighborhoods where the Celts rubbed elbows with the Italians, the Chinese, the Maltese and the Russians at the crossroads. Today, the contents of the pot have more or less melted together, but San Francisco remains a city of opportunity for the cultured and the cultural, the inspired and professional, the dreamers of the big urban dream. For the hyperlocal blogger, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley offer such a vast array of topics, your only real problem will be deciding what to write about first.
My two final SEO copywriting tips are rooted in the reality that living in metropolitan environs tends to mean being surrounded by excellence. Make the most of the benefits inherent in this by giving these two hyperlocal blogging approaches a try:
Hyperlocal Blogging Tip #9
Promote Your Neighbor
New bloggers quickly learn that giving is one of the surest paths to receiving in the blogosphere. Write about the local businesses and blogs you admire most. Highlight the expertise of your peers, and yes, even your competitors. Go one step further. Invite the very best players in your industry to your blog by doing interviews with them and lay out the welcome mat for all of their respective fans who will arrive to read up about their local heroes. Secure great interviews with known experts and expect banner traffic days. Each new arrival will be exposed to your blog and your brand in the process.
A Bay Area hyperlocal blog can strive to build bridges within the professional community. Use Google Blogsearch and Placeblogger to find relevant content and local bloggers to shine your spotlight on. In so doing, you will not only be offering your blog’s readers the most interesting content you can find, but you will absolutely be increasing your chances of receiving like notice from your colleagues, peers and neighbors.
Imagine this scenario. You’ve opened a brand new bakery in the city specializing in Austrian pastries. You’ve got Sacher tortes that rival the old-world original and your Buchteln melt in the mouth. But recently, several of your customers have been asking for Beehive cakes. You don’t bake these, but you know who does – that institute of unforgettable sweets – Dianda’s Italian-American Bakery. Maybe your gut feeling is that Dianda’s is your competitor. For the sake of your blog’s success, think beyond this and see that the pastry chefs at this famous bakery are your industry’s experts…people you would recommend to your own valued customers when their tastes lean toward the Mediterranean. You can honestly admit that Dianda’s is the best when it comes to what they do.
Can’t you imagine that your bakery’s blog readers would be rather delighted by an interview with the owner of this brother bakery, complete with your personal recommendations for some of their most delightful creations and plenty of appealing photos? Imagine how diehard Dianda’s fans will appreciate your interview post, and then imagine them clicking from the interview onto your own Featured Desserts page. Imagine their mouths watering when they see that photo of your Carnival Doughnuts.
And, imagine the owner of Dianda’s being so honored by your respectful admiration of his company that he returns the favor by either sending people to you when they want Vanilla Crescents or even by featuring you on his blog. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it?
In my years of working with small businesses, fear of competition is a subject that I have frequently had to address. On the local level, I sincerely urge you to begin looking at your competitors as resources for the best content and better visibility for your hyperlocal blog.
Hyperlocal Blogging Tip #10
Ask Your Readers
When you live in a cosmopolitan place like the Bay Area, chances are high that your blog’s readers are going to be savvy, educated people who offer you a powerful resource just waiting to be mined. Readers can tell you what they’d like to know more about, if you ask them, giving you very relevant ideas for future blog posts. Readers can also respond warmly to the sincere flattery of being asked to give their advice, opinions and solutions to problems you may be trying to work out.
Imagine this scenario. You’re a Berkeley, California foreign language tutor. You’re planning on giving all of your students a taste of Spain by having them meet up at a restaurant for a memorable group lesson. However, you’ve never been much of a one for dining out, and you want to be sure that you pick a good restaurant. Ask your readers for their recommendation of the very best Spanish restaurant in the Bay Area. Take their advice and then report on how the evening went. You might even offer a small prize for the winning suggestion – a gift certificate for something at an online gourmet foods store? A copy of Spanish Made Simple mailed to their address? Don’t forget to thank your readers when they share their knowledge and help you out.
Or, imagine you’re a real estate agent from Albany. You’ve got a client who is looking for a property with three separate homes on it to create the multi-generational family compound of their dreams. MLS is yielding nothing of this description in your neighborhood, month after month, and you’d really like to meet this client’s needs. What if you wrote a post about this client’s dream, thoroughly describing the type of special property they want and asking your clients if they know of such a place that’s going to be available at any time in the near future? Again, consider offering a prize to the finder…how about free consulting time with you, a gift certificate for a home decor store, or even, a commission on the sale. Recognizing that your readers may know things that you don’t and then giving them the chance to share what they know can create a level of participation on your hyperlocal blog that is vibrant and sure to cement brand loyalty amongst your best readers.
Different strategies and techniques are going to shine for different types of businesses when it comes to blogging about the place where you live. Trial and error are part of the learning process as you strive to learn as much as you can about your audience while helping them to learn as much as they can about you and your local business. I sincerely hope this series of posts has given you a place to begin with your hyperlocal blog, and I am wishing you good luck!
And now, to end my series by taking my own advice (see tip #10) I would like to know if any of my readers can tell me why my search for hyperlocal blogging on Local.com is bringing up the following ad: