How Brands Can Implement Local Content Marketing Programs (Part 1)

April 3, 2014 Neil Ingalls

local content marketing

Some say content marketing is “owning” media versus “renting it,” while others have defined it as marketing that “shows” instead of “tells.” For brand marketers that want to implement content marketing with the local businesses that sell their products and services, it is no easy task, but worth the effort.  The key is to support their local partners with the right education and assets so they can generate relevant and valuable localized content.

Local content marketing is an important component of any brand’s marketing strategy – mainly because it doesn’t stop attracting eyeballs as soon as the campaign ends. Instead, it’s a long-term activity that helps local partners achieve better rankings in local search, acquire new customers, and build loyalty with existing customers. Smart national brands recognize that supporting local marketing over the long-haul means creating robust local content marketing programs.

This article will:

  1.  Define local content marketing and its importance         
  2. Explain how brands can support localized  content

And part two will:

  1. Clarify why national brands struggle with executing local content marketing
  2. Recommend detailed steps for local content marketing success
     

Local Content Marketing -- What is it, and why is it important?
Local content marketing refers to creating (and sometimes curating) blogs, articles, how-to guides, photos, or videos that are of interest to a particular region or local community.  The main purpose of creating localized content is to help local businesses engage their target audience and turn them into long-term customers. Local businesses know the customs and lingo that appeals to their audiences and are the best equipped to write their own content.

As a brand marketer, you might ask yourself, ”Sounds like a pain. Why should I be thinking about this?”  Here’s why:

  1. Local Search  -  Google estimates that 20% of some 5 billion daily searches have local intent. Your channel partners need to grab their portion of the traffic generated from those local searches - local content on partner sites and pushed through directory profiles greatly impacts that.  
  2. Social Media Presence -You cannot get the coverage you want with purely paid placements, good local content also gets shared and engaged over social media that increases reach or online presence of local businesses.
  3. E-Mail -  Finally, local partners can use this content in email marketing. It’s among the most effective direct marketing methods, if it’s coupled with quality content.

How Can Brands Support Localized Content?

Encourage Local Partners to Blog -  Posting content on the internet is a passive marketing activity, as users have to initiate an inquiry on a search engine before the content is found, but its value can pay off for the long term.   Local business owners are much better qualified to talk about their business and their communities than a national brand, so why not encourage them to start a blog on their website?  

Brands can provide their local partners with ideas for posts, special offers or discounts, statistics, images, and even proofreading services to ensure that local partners are developing great quality content. With an army of local businesses creating unique and quality content, the brand exponentially grows its organic search footprint.

Delivering Local Content Over Email - A more direct way to deliver localized content would be through outbound emails.  Business advice is everywhere (you’re reading it now), but business advice specific to a local community is less available, yet potentially more valuable.  

For example, an office supplies wholesaler with dealers around the US helps their channel partners stay top of mind with their prospects and clients by publishing good content about local business resources.  

Brands can give templates, content guidelines, and resources, but local businesses (the dealers in this case) should be encouraged to develop the locally relevant email content. A Pittsburgh office supply owner may want to write an email about stocking up before a snowstorm, while one in Ft Lauderdale may need to remind about buying air filters for the AC that runs all year long. .

Video – It doesn’t necessarily need to be “professional” to resonate with consumers and build your brand.  Consider the scenario of a cruise line that has hundreds of independent travel agents, with their own sites, selling cruises. Pages on local sites can be dedicated to publishing videos (also shared over linked social profiles) made by customers while enjoying their cruises – interesting-organic local content.

Share News and Events – Local news and events combined with commentary can be shared with local audiences.  An article about Target’s or Snap Chat’s customer data security breach can be pushed out by the local partners of a software manufacturer to local customer bases with a local twist. The brands can coach and give talking points to their local partners and can couple this with a brand level offer for a free security review.     

Developing these incentives and educational tools to support local partners is simple enough, but the challenge can be to engage the local partners who may feel apathetic to online initiatives, or feel that they are not proficient enough to write content.  

Part two of this article will explain why brands struggle with local content marketing, and describe how they can put in place the infrastructure for ensuring local content marketing success.

Related Content: 
Email Marketing
Landing Pages
Social Media Content Publishing
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Abstract: 
Local content marketing is an important component of any brand’s marketing strategy. Learn how brands can coach local partners to engage the target audience.

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