This post is based on a presentation I did for a June 2012 SMX Advanced in Seattle, Washington titled Deep Granular Hyper Local Content #DGHLC. If you’re seeking ideas to create locally-based content, you may find some here.
- Deep: extending far down from the top or surface.
- Granular: resembling or consisting of small grains or particles.
- Hyper: seriously or obsessively concerned; fanatical; excessive.
- Local: something nearby, or in the immediate area.
Walking from LAS to Las Vegas Strip
When I wrote Walking from the Las Vegas Airport to the Las Vegas Strip I didn’t realize how popular of a post it would become. I set out to create the post as a way to show how someone could create granular content that could be useful for people seeking information.
I had flown to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, and walked from Terminal 2 (Southwest Airlines terminal) of the Las Vegas Airport, to hotels and casinos located at a point many consider the beginning of the strip.
During the walk, I utilized a camera with a GPS (as well as a phone with location services turned on), and took photographs of nearly everything I found could be useful for someone seeking to walk the same route. Street signs, traffic signals, the conditions of sidewalks, the proximity of sidewalks to oncoming traffic, stops along the way where someone could purchase beverages, etc.
Most people considering walking to and from the Las Vegas Airport would potentially have at least a backpack or some sort of rolling luggage, so sharing granular details like amounts of steps and/or sidewalk conditions provides additional value. In my experience readers tend to appreciate that.
Weather permitting, I determined that walking from the airport to the strip was a doable task, but walking with rolling luggage was not recommended. While it takes effort, local content can be helpful, and walking around your community is a great way to discover numerous topics that may have not yet been written about.
One way to get ideas flowing is to turn on Google suggested search (autocomplete), and see what’s available for your community of interest. Searches like walking+[city] or walking+[city]+[keyword]. Examples include: Walking New York City, Walking San Francisco Bridge, and Walking San Diego Downtown. How about Walking San Diego to Tijuana?
Provide Content For Your Local Community
After sharing an example of granular local content, I covered preparing local content that is repeatable and predictable. The point being that writing about yourself (meaning your business) gets old. In order to provide continual content for your local community, and go beyond the 5 page small business website mentality, it’s helpful to have a plan.
I used lots of photographs in my presentation and it would be difficult to post them all here, but I found they were helpful in getting the point across. One of the first examples I shared was a volleyball tournament in Hermosa Beach California. If the content is going to be local I’d suggest capturing local images like street signs, cross streets, and recognizable landmarks.
Events like beach volleyball tournaments typically begin in the spring and can go on into the months of autumn. For those on the US Pacific coast, I’ve discovered they are extremely popular, and they’ve been an event my local chiropractic business has benefited from greatly, due to our commitment in taking care of players and participating in the events.
Besides sporting events like volleyball, nearly every community in America is now hosting street fairs (some have done so for many years) that feature locally grown or produced items. There’s a terrific opportunity for local business owners to create more content surrounding these types of events. In the presentation I shared an example of a regular event that takes place in downtown Oakland California. The fact that streets get closed provides greater evidence that you’d be serving your community well in writing about content like this. Sitting in traffic for closed streets is no fun for anybody.
Festivals, street fairs, art fairs, craft festivals, parades and holiday events can all be part of your predictable and repeatable content creation calendar. What’s best about this sort of content, is that it’s actually helpful to the community, and there’s nothing wrong with being a positively spirited community evangelist.
Discipline, Persistency, and Effort
Creating #DGHLC takes discipline, persistency, and effort. I could share numerous examples of how creating this sort of content has provided significant returns but presentations are typically limited to about 20 minutes, so I usually focus only on a few. One of my favorite topics for local granular content are marathons. Nearly every major US city has one at least once per year. The list grows exponentially when we include 5K races, 10K runs, and half marathons.
Since I live and practice chiropractic in Los Angeles, I often use the Los Angeles Marathon in my local search presentations. I use the Las Vegas Marathon as an example as well, since it’s a city and route (the Las Vegas Strip) many people can relate to. Since SMX Social Media Marketing 2012 takes place in Las Vegas the same week, I selected the 2012 Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Marathon as an example of content that could be written for the local community. People want to know when the marathon is, where the marathon is, when the race begins, where the best parking locations are, and nearly all participants will be searching for results and photos in the days following.
I’ve helped friends and clients produce hundreds of detailed, well thought out articles, related to marathons and triathlons taking place in their cities and communities. To keep things consistent, I created a preparation document, that people could utilize for the creation of content of this nature. Here’s a look at one of my prep sheets.
For me, community articles are always positive in nature, and marathons are a terrific way to highlight achievements made by members of the community. As I shared in my presentation, we are certainly not limited to marathons. Tournaments, contests, parades can all be planned using the following prep sheet. For example, I was in Honolulu Hawaii in February earlier this year for PubCon Paradise speaking on local search. The day before the conference I had the opportunity to put my events methodology to work and covered a local Waikiki annual canoe race.
Perhaps there’s no canoe races taking place in your city, but there’s potentially events that are held regularly, that no one has yet presented online, with the detail and attention you’re going to provide. The preparation sheet for these types of events is similar to events like marathons, here are some ideas you can incorporate into your topics.
- [City] Festival (Tournament, Contest, Parade, etc.)
- Maps (parking, directions, hot spots)
- Highlight on Locals (happy stories)
- Photos (Flickr page, blog, Google+, FB, etc…)
- Video (YouTube, Embed on Blog)
- Twitter (Engage community and use hashtags)
- Success Stories (focus on community)
- Sprinkle in Local Links/Citations
It may seem like a lot of work, in fact it is, but when the event comes around the following year, you’ll already be ahead of the game and you’ll discover creating follow-up content to be much easier. There are three elements I’ve found will aid in your success.
Plan ahead, be encouraging, be real.
Become the local evangelist in your community!
With the time I had remaining I covered Local Intent Photography and shared several photographic styles I found can be extremely helpful in supplementing this sort of content. I’ll cover the discoveries I’ve made in a future post.
If you’re interested in hearing me speak on local search topics, I have two presentations at PubCon Las Vegas 2012 taking place in October, and I’ll be presenting on advanced local search topics at BlueGlassTPA 2012 in Tampa Florida.