Content marketing is essential. It’s the best way you have to promote your brand without coming across as pushy or having to pay to get noticed. In part because of this, it’s also extremely challenging. It’s not as though the online world is hurting for content, after all.
As you’ve likely noticed, digital media reached the point of saturation years ago, and now every content feed is essentially unlimited. Your business is only one of millions around the world competing to be noticed. Do you really have what it takes to rise above the rest?
Part of the problem with underwhelming content marketing campaigns (perhaps the biggest problem) is that they’re overly general. Not only does taking this approach put you up against the stiffest competition in the world, but it also robs your brand of any interesting qualities.
Only the biggest businesses around can thrive with bland identities, and that’s because they can afford to promote ceaselessly and offer consistent products and services at unbeatable prices.
So if you’re going to give your brand a fighting edge, you need to narrow your focus, and a great way to do that is to concentrate on regional content marketing. Going niche gives you a fairer playing field. But how can you develop such a strategy? Here are our suggestions:
Choose Which Region(s) You Want to Target
Before you can start creating your strategy, you need to have decided which region you’re going to focus on. The difficulty of this task will depend entirely on factors such as what your business offers and where you can realistically operate.
If you run a fully-online operation (such as a SaaS tool) then you can consider anywhere in the world, but if you offer an in-person service (such as dealing with plumbing issues) then you’ll obviously be highly limited.
The closer it is (or the smaller it is, for that matter), the easier it’ll be to manage, but the less you’ll stand to build upon your current pool of customers. What’s your overall objective? Do you need to grow at a certain rate, or do you just want to corner a certain location to prove that you can and complete a campaign that you can use as a template down the line?
I can’t answer these questions for you, obviously, so you’ll just need to think carefully about what you’d like to do. And if you have several locations in mind as part of a plan to hugely expand your business, focus on deciding which one you’re going to start with. Get that one right and it should make the rest of the process rather easier.
Research the Area’s Market and Culture
If the region you’re targeting is nearby then you may already know all about it — but even then you should brush up on your knowledge just in case you’ve missed some key developments. And if it isn’t nearby then you’ll have a lot of work to do before you can draft a strategy.
Localization can be an arduous process, frustratingly, and that applies even if you’re staying within your language: how you frame and phrase things in your content might need to change significantly to impress your intended audience.
If you’re making the bold move of marketing in a different language, well, this is even more important. Decent blog translation is easy these days — even WordPress translate plugins now have machine translation options that lean on deep learning to achieve strong results — but automated translation will never be perfect, so have a native speaker run a final edit pass.
Beyond language, you need to know all about your target audience. What do those people enjoy doing? How much disposable income do they have? How do the most successful companies in those areas market their wares? Pay close attention to what works, and try to glean useful insight. Your job is to get results, not reinvent the wheel.
Build a Content Calendar Around Local Keywords
Forming a regional strategy doesn’t mean going smaller-scale in your production process. You still need to generate a lot of content. Whether you’re targeting one person or a thousand, output consistency is key to being remembered.
This is why you need to create an outstanding content calendar — but getting the structure right is only half the battle. You also need to get the creative aspect right, which is also tricky.
The ideation process for a full content calendar takes time and effort, of course. You’re likely setting out content for an entire year, so you should waste as little energy as possible, and that means coming up with titles and outlines that will actually work.
For regional marketing, this calls for research into local keywords. Not what people are searching for everywhere, but specifically what people in your target area are looking up.
You may need to include regional terms in your metadata, naturally. If there’s search volume for “Best unicycles in Santa Monica” then it’s a good term to target in a page title since there’s likely less competition than for generic equivalents. But you can also just line up a huge range of suitable terms and distribute them more naturally throughout your content when you write it.
Factor in Rich PPC Targeting Options
PPC is a tried-and-tested performer that can produce exceptional ROI if used correctly. You may think of content marketing as being a distinct entity, but PPC campaigns run on your content. You need to create the ads and creative sequences: the only difference is that you pay to have them shown, or at least to have your links clinked.
And PPC is fantastic for regional marketing because platforms like Facebook Ads have vast ranges of targeting options that let you get granular with your settings. If you’d like to run an ad specifically for middle-class women with children who live within fifty miles of a specific place, you can do that.
Such PPC work is also great for informing your regular content work. Running some simple A/B testing can give you tremendous insight into which terms and phrases perform the best, showing you how you can update your long-form SEO content to build up some buzz.
The key here is setting some clear milestones to gauge performance. Before you launch a new content campaign, figure out its total cost (including the value of the time you’ve spent on it) and highlight your break-even number. If you can have fun along the way, great, but your goal is ultimately to make money. Let that be your guide at all times.
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