After so many years, blogging’s become a reflex action. I get an idea for something or other, and immediately think about blogging it.
This is a good thing. Blogging is instant publishing, and it can be marketing, too. Few writers pay sufficient attention to marketing.
Here’s an example. I’m currently working with Chris, a writer who’s written a couple of books, and has self-published them. That’s wonderful – he’s hard-working, and I enjoy his writing. He began “marketing” after his first book. He paid a lot of money to various companies, and made few (very few) sales. His sales are STILL abysmal.
I suggested that he create a simple WordPress.com blog. It’s free, and takes moments to set up. Then I suggested he create a mailing list – this was my first tip in yesterday’s post, in which I also mentioned that a blogger started making a full-time living with 400 subscribers.
If Chris had created his blog at the same time he was writing his first book, do you think he’d have 400 subscribers by now? I’m sure he would. He’d also be making excellent sales of his books. And he wouldn’t be wasting money on useless “marketing” schemes.
But I digress. 🙂
Today, let’s talk about LOCAL blogging, and getting writing gigs out of it.
By local blogging, I mean blogging about what’s happening in your local area. It’s up to you how specific you want the “local” aspect to be. It could be your town, the nearest big city, your state… it’s up to you.
Here’s what’s important: your local area is packed with businesses which spend money on marketing. They might as well be spending some of their marketing budget with you.
Market research: what’s your competition?
Start by doing some quick research. Type “your local area blog” into Google. Example: I typed “sydney blog” into Google, and got some results. Interesting, but I’d imagined that there would be more. This proves that even large cities have room for more bloggers.
I won’t be creating a local blog; I’m over-booked with writing jobs as it is. If I were however, I’d be creating one for my suburb. I’ve just done the search, and there’s NO blogs at all, other than a placeholder blog for a local church, which has zero posts.
Your results will vary. I asked several students to do local searches for blogs too. Three US students found zero or few blogs. One UK student found a fashion blog.
This is great news for you, if you get similar results. You’ll get writing gigs, simply because you’re writing about your local area. Local businesses will learn your name (when you mention them), and they’ll hire you.
But what will you write about?
You can write about anything you like:
Local tourist spots (we have a few wineries in our area, as well as a couple of kids’ fun parks);
Local businesses. Do roundups of restaurants, bars, clubs, child care centers, doctors, etc. Call the businesses, and ask them ONE salient point that they’d like people to know;
Properties for sale;
You’ll NEVER run out of things to write about.
How to make money from local blogging
Initially, your blog’s a writing sample, and a marketing activity for your writing services.
Over time, as your blog becomes known and gets more traffic, you can start selling advertising on the blog.
Keep it simple
Big tip: keep it simple. By “it” I mean everything. Start off with a free blog at Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress.com. Free blogs are easy to set up. Even if your blog’s wildly successful from the get-go, you won’t need anything else for a year.
The biggest error I see bloggers making is that they take on too much at once. They worry about which blogging service they should use, what theme they should use, what… and on and on. Forget thinking and deciding – DO. You can create a blog, and write one post in the next 20 minutes. DO THAT… you can think later. 😉
Have fun with this. Judging from my students’ searches, few writers are creating local blogs. That gives you a HUGE advantage. By the time other writers cotton on to what you’re doing, you’ll be way ahead of them… Onward… 🙂
Want to get up to speed on blogging? Blogging Maestro has everything you need.
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