When you first start blogging, the world is your oyster...literally. Your blog immediately gives you access to THE ENTIRE WORLD. That www at the beginning of your site does stand for "world wide web" after all. This immediate exposure to such a large audience is obviously thrilling, exciting, and...well...crowded.
While being able to reach the expanse of the Internet is great in the sense that your audience can grow to a staggering number, it's also a very crowded pool. You're immediately trying to make a name for yourself in a sea of millions and millions of other bloggers. According to WordPress statistics, users produce about 83.1 million new posts EVERY SINGLE MONTH. If you're fishing for views and new readers, that's a BIG pond to fish from.
Because of this, many bloggers find themselves focusing on a niche. Being in a niche allows them to narrow their content and drastically decrease the size of their pond. But, what does that mean for those bloggers who aren't in a specific niche, or straddle between multiple niches? What does it mean for the lifestyle blogger?
On my personal blog, But First, Coffee, I write about a range of topics because the blog is mainly a lifestyle blog. While I've narrowed my focus slightly, my topics range from how to save money to time-saving hairstyles to home decor DIY. This broader focus can make it harder to stand out in the sea of other content creators. I can do some things to help me expand my reach and grow my audience like creating YouTube videos, developing an authentic voice on social media, and keeping up with my newsletter. But, recently I've also started localizing my blog, and have seen some interesting changes since doing so.
That's why in this post I want to talk to you about why you might want to consider localizing your blog and the benefits you could get from doing so.
Why Position Your Blog Locally?
Alright, let's start with the benefits. Why would you want to position your blog as a local blog? What benefit do you have of being a local blogger? Are there downsides?
Establish Yourself in Your Community
Since I've started positioning But First, Coffee to be a Connecticut-based blog I've seen an uptick in my audience who is from Connecticut. While my audience is still from all over the nation (and the world), I've seen an increase in the people engaging with me who are local to where I am. They are able to connect with me because we are from a similar area, and they are interested in following my journey because the location is relatable. Not to mention, I've seen an increase in a number of local businesses who seem to engage and interact with me as well.
On top of all that, I was able to stand out to the local news station and in 3 months have appeared on the local morning show three times, further expanding my reach and brand awareness! You can see those features here, here, and here.
Get Local Sponsored Content
Another change I've noticed is I've seen an almost immediate increase in local sponsored opportunities that I received. I was able to complete some sponsored content for our local casino, a new restaurant opening in New Haven, and a summer event hosted by Pepsi. This also puts me in contact with local PR companies that can often lead to other sponsored deals. Because these local businesses want to work with local bloggers, the sea of compeition decreases signficantly, making it easier to stand out.
Along with sponsored content, you're now set up as an influencer in the community which leads to other great opportunities like free dinners at local restaurants, complimentary spa services, and so on!
Connect with Other Local Influencers
For a long time, I struggled to find the "blogging community" here in Connecticut. I was lucky enough to connect with a few others but was left feeling a little left out when I saw bloggers in other cities attending blogging events and working with local photographers.
Since setting myself up as a CT blogger, however, I've found it a lot easier to find and connect with other bloggers and influencers in my state. I've even connected with some local photographers as well.
But wait, will this decrease my non-local traffic?
Heck no! I've seen zero impact on my nationwide traffic. I haven't stopped writing content that ALL people can enjoy (no matter their location) and I haven't stop optimizing my content for search engines. I still market to my same audience which is nationwide and beyond.
Localizing my blog has simply been an additional step that has allowed me to reap some of the local benefits of blogging.
How to Position Your Blog Locally?
Alright, we talked about why you might want to position your blog more locally, but now let's talk about how to do it.
By making some very small adjustments to my blog by occasionally adding in relevant keywords, I'm able to show up organically for anyone searching for Connecticut blogs.
I'm on the first page of Google searches (usually at the top) for terms like "Connecticut blogger, "Connecticut beauty blog" and "Connecticut Lifestyle blog" as you can see in the searches below.
Here's how I did it.
Homepage Title Tag: I've updated the Page Title Tag for my blog's homepage from "Beauty, Life, and DIY Blog" to be "A Connecticut-Based Beauty, Life and DIY Blog."
Added keywords to post's page title tags: For my actual post's page title tags, I add "Connecticut Blog" or "CT-Based Blog" to the end of page title tags occasionally. I certainly don't do this for all my posts and find it's best for my more generic posts that likely won't have an overall high SEO score for the content anyways. This is how it looks:
Before: "5 Things I Loved in May"
After: "5 Things I Loved in May | Connecticut-Based Lifestyle Blog"
Adding Keywords to Alt Tags for Images: Where it makes sense (such as pictures of me or pictures including local areas and scenery) I add local keywords to the image's alt tags. I might add "Connecticut blogger" or "CT blog" to the alt tag.
Position Yourself on Social Media
I'd say I get about 1/2 my sponsored local content from social media. I make sure my social profiles are set up to let people know where I am located.
The Profile: Both my Instagram and Twitter profiles clearly state where I am located. This way it's easy for someone to see right away where I'm from.
Hashtags: When I can, I use relevant hashtags to my local area. It might take a little digging to find the hashtags people are using for your area, but by checking out other local bloggers and business owners you can usually find the ones relevant to you. There might be some generic ones like #ctblogger #connecticutblogger or #ctbloggerbabes, as well as more specific ones. For example, if the post contains local food or restaurants I might add #cteats or #ctbites.
Tagging: When available, tag local businesses and accounts! Tag the restaurant you're eating at and the store you're shopping at. Look even further than that! Often locations like Starbucks will also have specific accounts for each individual store. Some bigger towns have active Instagram accounts or even beaches, parks, and fairgrounds. This allows you to stay connected to these places socially and possibly get re-posted.
Geo-tagging: Lastly, don't forget to geo-tag yourself where it makes sense!
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