Chapter 1 - Local Content Strategy

In this chapter Dan Saunders goes into detail about the importance of creating a separate strategy for your local pages. Local content has really helped him on this journey and he has shared a few of his top tips on using hyperlocal content to carve a niche in the market to really take advantage and get ahead of the competition.

You may ask yourself, does my business need a content strategy? Whether you’re a giant multinational business, a single store owner, or just an ecommerce site with limited delivery capabilities, everyone needs a content strategy. The big difference is how much time you should invest. The simple truth comes back to, how much of my business is local? Work out the percentages and that percentage is how much of your time is how much you should invest in writing content.

Step 1: Research

Research your local markets, your competitors and how they act within different regions and establish ways to develop a competitive advantage. The best way Dan found to do this is through local networking. Although not ideal at the moment, getting out on the streets and meeting people to understand how your local market is different from all others and where you best fit in that world is invaluable. Once you have got that, the pieces below will fall into place much, much easier. To be clear, everything below will not help every type of business but most of it will help. Dan knows this because he has done it not only for clients, but for friends, family and even for his own business.

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Step 2: Optimise your site so that it dominates the local search market

When you focus on these local markets, the competition gets thinner. For instance, when someone is looking to buy a property, they will be very specific about the town, village, borough etc. that they want to live in. Most traditional real estate agents want to brand themselves for the city, when in fact, they should be going after these micro markets. As a local business owner, you need to be thinking the same. 

“What makes me different from my competition and why would locals buy from me?” Then dominate the type of searchers your buyers will be looking for. Create vibrant, stimulating content for your buyers, understand how to write creatively to inspire action, yet include the necessities for producing great SEO copy. High-quality creative content is a crucial ingredient to support SEO campaigns. Not only does it attract natural links, high-quality content also helps achieve better longtail rankings and improves your conversion rate. 

It is not always about producing more and more exciting content, existing content should never be launched and forgotten. Your content marketing should be built on an iterative approach to improvement. Keep the popular content current, generating fresh leads by maintaining relevance and continuing to attract high-quality traffic that converts.

Step 3: Write unique content

We all know your content needs to be as unique as you are, targeted to reflect exactly where consumers are in their buying process. Understanding not only your business but also the intent of your audience. Your content output needs to be tailored, positioning your business as the go-to local provider for your products and services.

The easiest way to do this is by breaking your target audience down into four persona groups:

  • the stranger
  • the visitor
  • the lead
  • the customer

You need to take a multi-faceted approach to your content marketing services. Put your consumers at the heart of each piece of content you create, considering each persona’s online journey and placement of your brand to attract them. Your content campaigns, (even on a local level) should be bold and utilise impactful imagery that resonates with your audience. From infographics to video, animation to photography, if you have those capabilities, use them. Make sure they are carefully engineered to breathe life into your campaigns through multi-channel assets that drive results.

The big players in the market do not have enough experience (or resources) in local markets when it comes to writing content. These multinational competitors’ branches will have articles on key products all the way down to what they rate as the best Christmas songs. That is all well and good, but what you can beat them on is local content. Focus on a local level for every town and village you want your expertise showcased on. While the big players have the public information available on your town, there’s local information they can give on things such as local schools on your street (outside of an Ofsted report), they don’t have community activities, local running routes and the best type of house to live in which village.

Offering this information is your secret weapon and will help you earn your badge as a local expert. Try and make this something people cannot get anywhere else. The best way forward is blogging, vlogging and YouTube (Google loves it when you use their tools!). The more Google tools you use, the more Google’s bots will love you, and the longer the user will stay on your site. Remember, your audience can get a free valuation anywhere on the Internet, so offering it on your site is not of any significant value. Local news and content is where you will win.

Step 4. Use long-tail keywords

Long-tail terms are those with at least 3 or more keywords and they tend to be very targeted and as a result convert better. If we take the example of the estate agents in Leeds, UK, buyers are looking for specific homes in and around Leeds. For example they search for “Victorian Mansions in Oakwood”, with Oakwood being a suburb of Leeds. The estate agent in Leeds would have a better chance of being ranked as the search phrase is much more specific, and more importantly, it’ll convert better. With the longer tail terms, you can be even more specific focusing on the cost and type of house as well, for example “cheapest bungalow in Meanwood”. Fewer people are searching these phrases, but that also means there is less competition and more serious home buyers specifically looking for a certain type of property. You can do the same no matter what your business is. Think how your local persona is searching and carve your name in that niche.

Doing a standard search for “house for sale Doncaster, you only see the major competitors like Rightmove and Zoopla.

Houses for sale in Doncaster

However, with the long-tail-terms, you can see individual estate agents.

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Step 5. Use the right platform

Any business that wants to rank locally needs a Facebook business page, Twitter and Google My Business (GMB). It is extremely important to complete your GMB profile and maintain it regularly and put these social links on your site too, it will add some legitimacy to your pages.

Social media is also a great source for writing content and for idea generation, e.g. What are the most common questions you get asked on Facebook and Twitter? How often are you having to answer these questions? With regards to the content for GMB, go back to what we said about unique content for your local branch. Don’t do the typical overarching standard corporate approach, your team in each branch is unique and that’s a unique angle that GMB can help you convey and promote.

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