Anyone else think “blogging” is the marketing world’s ultimate buzzword for the past few years? Take a look at this sample list of what industry leaders are saying about blogging for business success.
Social Media Today: 10 Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
Small Business Trends: 10 Tips for Branding, Blogging and Social Media Marketing
You might be thinking “who would follow, comment and share our blog?” It’s important to remember that a business blog is about making information accessible to the right audience when they are considering a purchase, or, in this case, deciding if your community could be the home of their new branch location. The goal of a business blog isn’t to go viral or get hundreds of hilarious comments and shares, but to provide thoughtful information to inform the decision-making process.
As an economic developer, any valuable information you can provide your audiences -- mainly site selectors -- in their search for a new location will help increase the likelihood of your city or county making their short list. Blogs are an important part of your overall website strategy. They offer a vital medium to share data and establish your community as a serious contender in their search for a new headquarters or secondary location. Blogs also improve your search engine optimization (SEO), driving traffic to your website. If your goal as an economic developer is to increase awareness of who you are and what your site has to offer, consider the following blogging tactics.
B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not, according to Hubspot.
Post about one initiative in the community per month.
Showcase your community’s ideas, ventures and collaborations. Write stories of how the local people and businesses rise up to face challenges. What your community is actively doing to better itself should not be kept a secret!
Consider these blog ideas:
Business partnerships with schools or colleges
Growth and new job openings
Economic impact of fairs, events and festivals
Quality of life like outdoor areas, hiking and water activities
When Tennessee’s Marion County assigned the remaking of their website to Q Strategies, they requested a “News” segment to be designed in as an added service for their community. The county posts its press releases here, but local organizations are also welcomed to submit their announcements. Not only did this segment drive up the website’s SEO overall, but several thousand online visitors last year also read up on the county’s activities and initiatives like cooking workshops, school sports tournaments and even a Tree Day.
Share facts about your community.
Unlike the previous idea, this should be a more data-driven read. Writing about figures and statistics might sound dull, but if done correctly and about the right topics, it can strengthen your community’s pull for site selectors.
For example, discuss the economic impact the school’s graduating students bring to the community. You could emphasize the fact that your area’s workforce is getting more educated and what industries benefit the most from this trend. That kind of data is important -- and attractive -- to site selectors conducting research.
Alternatively, you can create landing pages or multiple tabs on your website to broadcast more important community attributes. Because we knew visitors stopping by Marion County are interested in its outdoor activities, we made that section a permanent fixture on the website, rather than blogging about outdoor attractions and events. On that page, we placed the top 11 outdoor attractions Marion County offers, with accompanying paragraphs describing them. We also included links to each attraction’s website to help foster community relations.
If your website needs help, start here: Four Elements Your Economic Development Website Needs to Attract Site Selectors
Invite a guest blogger to post one story per month.
Switch things up by letting others promote the community for you. Find your guest bloggers from the pool of local businesspeople, social media influencers, corporate executives or city leaders. Have these people share their stories on how they built a successful business, and if possible, highlight services the community performs. Alternatively, guest bloggers can use this opportunity to feature their organizations and the exciting things they are doing in or for the region.
Bonus Tip: Share all blog posts on social media platforms.
While site selectors and community visitors predominantly conduct their online research using your website, be proactive and publish your blog posts on your official community social media accounts to rake in even more clicks. If you have a guest blogger, have them share the post they wrote on their social media accounts or their organizations’ pages. Connecting your social media to your website builds on your reputation and has the potential to reach even more site selectors and businesses.
With all these ideas, keep in mind “quality over quantity.” You might feel pressured to start mass producing blogs discussing all the wonderful aspects of your location. However, it is more important to use your words to attract the right kind of site selectors. Promote visions and ideas backed with facts. And when you’re ready, download our free, comprehensive economic development marketing strategy.