Of course we all know the stat numbers are not stupid but very important to our efforts. I also think that the numbers can be your worst enemy if you let them. I have a strong feeling that many bloggers burn out just before they are ready for take-off because they concentrated on their numbers more than their content and long range goals.
Do any of you ride motorcycles? I rode years ago and before I just jumped on a bike, I attended a safety course at the local Harley Davidson dealership. It was a 3 day course and everyone was treated as if it was the first time you had ever touched a bike. I attended the course because I wanted to survive. I wanted to last a long time. I wanted to learn the tips and tricks that would allow my children to continue to have a father, even though Dad may be going through a little phase in his life.
One of the things they teach you is when entering a curve in the road, is to look ahead and pick a spot ahead of you in the curve in which you want to arrive. Never look just before you in front of your tire. Bad things can happen if you do. If you pick a spot ahead you are more likely to arrive safely. If you are obsessed with your stats on a daily basis, you may not arrive at your destination ahead of you.
Marketing your blog and your stats go hand in hand. Believe me, I see the fruits of my marketing efforts in my stats. My hyperlocal site, Monroe Scoop, is just over 5 months old now and I’m pretty happy with the progress of the site. There is so much more to do however. There are things that need to be done that I’m not even aware of. There is not a repository of information out there that gives me the step by step guide on what I need to do and when I need to do it. If you go hyperlocal, you are pretty much breaking new ground in your community and it’s trial and error for the most part.
Here are some of my recommendations to you to market your hyperlocal blog.
- Business cards. Simple but effective. Make your site name large on the front of the card. Name, phone number and e-mail address. Leave cards everywhere. Bulletin boards, at the table when you leave a tip. When you go out, put a few in your front pocket and freely give them away to everyone.
- Get an e-mail address with the same domain as your hyperlocal site. To me nothing looks worse than having a hyperlocal site called bishopvilleblog.com and having an e-mail address with something like firstname.lastname@example.org. You should present a professional e-mail that matches your domain. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org is much more professional.
- Hyperlocal blogs are about people. Local people. Local people love to see their names in newspapers, web sites and videos. Make a point to always mention names in photos, videos and articles. This is great marketing because when you do, they send out the link to everyone they know. Your traffic increases and you expose more people to your site. Whenever I mention someone in one of my articles, I make an effort to contact the individual. Let’s say I know a name and I know where they work but that’s all. I call their place of work and ask for the individual. If I cannot speak to them, I leave a voice mail. This especially works for local politicians who attend local events shaking hands. I may be there shooting video, but do not get a chance to speak with them. You can bet that they will appear in my video when I edit. I then call their office and give them a link. They love it and will usually e-mail or call back and thank you for the publicity.
- When I show up at a local event with my video camera, I always wear my monroescoop.com shirt. Many people come up to me and ask me about the site and what I’m doing. I’m treated as if I’m with the Press Corp, and I guess I am, although it still feels weird being treated that way. However, it’s very cool.
- Early on, whenever you publish an article, e-mail it to all of your friends on your personal e-mail contact list. Write a very brief summary of your article and post the link. Ask everyone if they would please forward your e-mail to their friends. At the bottom of your e-mail, ask your friends if they have ideas for articles. Try to make them a part of what you are doing. There have been psychological studies that have determined that someone needs to see something so many times before it sinks into memory. I think the number is 13 if I remember correctly. Keep sending those e-mail alerts to your friends until you are sure your site has sunk into their memory.
- Contact every non-profit organization that you can think of in your community and offer free press release publishing on your site. If you see an article published online from your local newspaper or online from another site, republish the information on your site. Give credit to your source and then contact the group to let them know you have published their article on your new site. I promise they will appreciate it. Ask them to add you to their e-mail list for press releases. When you receive a press release, publish it quickly and let them know. Almost every organization in your community is starving for publicity. Your local newspaper does not always publish articles they deem not newsworthy. Let these organizations know that you are the “go to” source for publicity. They will love you.
- Did you go into a local merchant in your community and receive great customer service? If so, let you community know about it. This is a no-brainer for your site and I promise you will receive traffic from it. The people in your community want to know the good merchants in your community where they can receive good service and fair prices. When you publish a hyperlocal blog, you are in charge of a powerful public platform that can influence the decisions of others. A while back, I needed a tire for my wife’s car. I went in search of a new tire at a local tire store. I received such good service that I offered to do a free story on my site highlighting the Tire Store. I asked the manager if he would mind. He loved the idea. I had a camera in the car and took a few shots. He even gathered his work crew and posed for a group picture. I found a hyperlocal story in my normal day-to-day activity. The story has sent me a lot of traffic. I’m sure it has sent him some business. If you would like to read the story, here is the link to the Tire Town on Monroe Scoop. Articles and marketing for your hyperlocal blog are all around you everyday. Never leave home without a camera! This merchant will hear from me again and I will give him an opportunity to be an advertiser on the site. I’ve already laid the groundwork.
- Twitter. I will usually send out a Twitter message to my followers after I publish an article. I will stress this, don’t overdo it though. If I have an interesting article or new video posted I may send out a Tweet in the morning and one in the afternoon. Don’t be boring though. Send a message such as, “Police shut down school in Monroe, NC after phone threats. Here is the only known video of the lockdown”. That will get you traffic from your followers and others. Notice I put Monroe, NC in the tweet. Many people set up searches for your local community. You want to catch these people who may not be following you yet. I also depend on my followers to “Re-Tweet” my tweets. How can one depend on people to re-tweet your stuff? It’s easy, re-tweet their stuff. I do it all the time. Rarely does a day go by that I do not re-tweet things I see from those I follow. Your Twitter friends will appreciate what you do and will return the favor for you. It’s free and easy to be nice to other folks in your social media circle.
- Facebook. I share most of what I do to my Facebook page. I’m not a huge Facebook user myself. I’m late in the game to Facebook but it’s very easy to share your articles to your page. I use the “Share This” widget on my blog, which makes it super easy to send my articles to Facebook. It’s free and you should be using this widget on your blog also.
These are just a few of the things I do to market my blog. These methods are free and easy and should be a part of your activities every day. I will share more of my methods as time marches on but these are the basic core methods that I have used since day 1. You don’t have to have a marketing degree or background to do this. It’s all about common sense. Every chance you get to put your site in front of people, don’t waste the opportunity. Even 1 person can make a difference.
Be a loudmouth.
Copyright 2009 bloggerlens.com Hyperlocal Blogging & Citizen Journalism