How To
14 min read

Content Marketing for Local Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

Rachel Chaiet

June 2, 2022

Content marketing is an art and a science. It’s where creativity meets data and analytics – following trends, anticipating customer needs, and cultivating a brand voice that is consistent and authentic. Mastering content marketing can be the key to long-term growth and success, particularly for local businesses. 


Content marketing allows local businesses to advertise through educational and engaging content subtly. If this sounds intimidating, we’re here to help you tackle it. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about content marketing for a local business. By the end, you’ll be ready and equipped to create and implement a localized content marketing strategy that drives growth and gets results.


What is content marketing, and why do you need it? 


Nowadays, we interact with content marketing constantly. It could be a listicle blog piece posted to Facebook, a how-to Youtube video, or a “which skincare product do I need in my life” quiz. By definition, content marketing is a “strategic marketing approach to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” 


As a local business, content marketing is a tool you’ll want to be sure to utilize. It’s crucial because it allows you to target and reach more people in your local area. A little bit of creativity goes a long way in your content marketing initiatives. While blogging can lead to great results, there’s more to a local content marketing strategy than putting out a weekly post. You want to try different content and topics to see what connects to your target audience. Having a thought-out strategy behind your content marketing ensures you are achieving your business goals.


Say you’re implementing a content marketing strategy for a handmade dog accessory business based in Portland, and you know that your typical customer is a millennial who loves to support local shops. One example of valuable and relevant content you could create is a Youtube series about having a dog in Portland. Videos could include the best dog parks, dog-friendly cafes, local doggy daycares. The benefits for your local business would be exponential. This kind of content increases engagement and keeps your brand at the top of your ideal customer’s mind. 


Remember, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to drive profitable customer action. Content marketing is a cost-effective long-term strategy with numerous paths to profit, including brand awareness, building brand loyalty, customer education, and more. 


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Why do local businesses need to be online?


An online presence is essential for any business. Your customers are online and looking for solutions to their problems. You need to be there, showing potential customers that you exist and how you meet their needs. One study that explored the role and economic impact an online presence has on small businesses found it led to a significant increase in awareness and inquiries, improved relationships with customers, and brought in new customers. If that’s not convincing, what is?


Your online presence should include a Google listing, social media accounts and pages, review sites, and websites. Search engines are brilliant, and if you have localized content, it will be indexed to help you appear higher in relevant searches. Word of mouth has gone digital with review sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor. Potential customers like to check out your business before they visit, so you need to prioritize building an outstanding reputation online. This type of user-generated content is genuinely invaluable. 


Aside from review sites, people also go to Instagram to check out local businesses before trying them out. They want to see what you can do rather than just read about it. This anticipation is crucial for a customer’s journey, so capitalize on it. 


Say you’re creating a content marketing strategy for a local restaurant business. Get on social media platforms to show off your delicious food and entice locals to come through the door. Think about how you can apply this to your own local business. Whether you sell artwork, clothing, or anything else, your online presence gives prospective customers insight into your brand and what you have to offer. 

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How to create a content strategy for your local business


Set SMART goals and objectives


A localized content marketing strategy is vital if you want more customers and leads for your small business. And what does every good plan start with? Goals and objectives!


You’ve probably heard about the importance of setting goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. As part of your content marketing strategy, SMART goals are essential because they encourage you to be realistic with your goal-setting while providing direction and purpose. 


Here’s an example of a SMART goal for a local business’s content marketing strategy:


Goal: We will increase online reservations by 5% over the next three months by distributing engaging and educational content on our Instagram account five times per week. 


Specific: I want to generate more online reservations for our local restaurant by uploading targeted Instagram posts five times per week. The posts will highlight the restaurant’s story, value, unique dishes, atmosphere and promote special dine-in offers. We will target people in the local area by using geotags and hashtags. We will also use Instagram’s shopping feature to take followers directly to our website’s booking system.


Measurable: We want to see a 5% increase in reservations in 3 months. 


Attainable: We have the resources to upload this content to Instagram and achieve our goal.


Relevant: Our business’s long-term goal is to increase revenue. By engaging our target audience on Instagram, we can entice them to try our restaurant, book a reservation, and provide them with an excellent experience to encourage brand loyalty.


Time-bound: In 3 months, we will determine if we have met our goal and analyze our progress. 


By laying out precisely what you will be doing, you can hold yourself accountable and track the progress of this goal.


Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when setting your SMART goals for your local content marketing strategy:


  • Remember, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to drive profitable customer action. So when you’re setting your goal, you want to think about your long-term objectives and how your local content marketing strategy will help fulfill those goals.
  • Choose the metrics that make sense for your goal. There are a lot of KPIs that are easily trackable to help you gauge whether your local content marketing is on the right track or not. For example, if your goal is to increase email sign-ups, one KPI you’ll look at is the email sign-up conversion rate.
  • Make life easy by using a platform like Google Analytics to help you track your content marketing efforts and success. 


Define your target audience


When it comes to creating content, you need a profound understanding of your target audience. This ensures you give them the content they want and will respond to. You’ll be able to focus your efforts, be productive, and reach your local content marketing goals faster. 


In your target audience definition, be as specific as possible. As a local business, you’ll consider location. But you’ll also want to think of other demographics and characteristics. Age, language, income, needs, and personalities will all be important. For example, if your business is in a predominantly Spanish-speaking area, create content in both Spanish and English. 


Identify your buyer personas.


To help you understand your audience, segment them into buyer personas. Buyer personas help you create content that will appeal to the different segments of your audience.  


Identifying your buyer personas is not a one-time task, and it’s something you should repeatedly revisit to keep up with any changes to your audience and brand. 


As outlined in Forbes, here are two helpful methods to persona development and how you can use them for your local business: 


  1. Interviews


  • Take a look at your existing audience and ask them to participate in a feedback session. 
  • Using surveys or a series of interviews is a great way to gather valuable insights into your customers. Providing a small incentive for participating can increase engagement. 
  • Questions should be in-depth and cover demographic information, general interests, hobbies, what they love about your product or service, and what they want to see more of. 
  • Holding 3-5 interviews is a great way to notice trends or patterns in your persona responses.  

  1. Data


  • Whether you’re a local restaurant, service provider, shop, or agency, you probably have a collection of data on your customers or those currently in your sales funnel. 
  • This data can help you identify trends and commonalities that form an aggregated view for each client or customer type. 


It would help if you had a descriptive idea of your ideal customer, Whichever method you use. You can then sort this information into the following categories:


  • Demographics and interests – Characteristics of your buyer persona, such as gender, age, relationship status, location, income, occupation, hobbies, purchasing trends, social media activity, etc.
  • Goals – The buyer persona’s objectives in using your business.
  • Values – The business characteristics that are important to your buyer persona.
  • Challenges – The pain points that your buyer persona has that stand in the way of your business. 
  • Objections – The reasons your buyer persona would not use your business.


Let’s use the example of a local gardening business trying to define its buyer personas to help with its local content marketing strategy. One of their buyer personas could look like this: 


  • Demographics and interests: 
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 45
  • Status: Married
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Income: 90,000/yr
  • Occupation: Accountant
  • Hobbies: Skiing, painting, yoga, restaurants
  • Social media: Facebook and Instagram

  • Goals: 
  • Save time on chores to spend more time with kids 
  • Have a gorgeous backyard to relax in

  • Values: 
  • Environmentally conscious 
  • Local business
  • Customer service

  • Challenges: 
  • Finding a gardener that doesn’t use pesticides 
  • Finding a gardener that can work on weekends 

  • Objections: 
  • Customer service that is poor or rushed


Choose the proper content formats for your target audience.


Defining your buyer personas can be pointless if you’re not choosing a content format that will connect with them. As you have multiple buyer personas, sometimes it’s best to use various content formats in your content marketing strategy. Of course, you’ll want to be realistic about what works for you and your local business. 


Here are some fantastic content formats to incorporate into your strategy:


Blog posts and articles 


There’s a reason why 48% of companies with a content marketing strategy utilize blogging. According to Jeff Bullas, having a blog on your local business’ website can lead to 434% more indexed pages and increase lead generation by 126%. 


Chosen topics should be relevant to your business’s local area while relating to your target audience. For instance, if you are a local interior designer, share a guide like “Best Homeware Shops In Austin”. Remember that your content needs to be original and well-written with plenty of strong keywords to help you appear higher in search engine results.

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Videos


Videos posted to social accounts like Youtube or TikTok are an intelligent way to share your insights and generate leads. Plus, you can use hashtags and geotags to help locals find you. Consumers are spending more and more time watching and engaging with video content, so you should capitalize on this. 


Images


Not only can you show off your business through captivating images on Instagram, but it’s also a resourceful way to share your blog content too. Visuals can make a huge difference in engagement, as customers increasingly change how they find local businesses. 


Share infographics that help your target audience digest information and understand your business in a new way. Let’s say you run a local environmentally-friendly cleaning product company. You could share an infographic that highlights the benefits of choosing earth-conscious solutions. 


Podcasts


In the US, 15% of people, approximately 42 million, listen to a podcast every week – at least. As a local business, utilizing the power of podcasts is smart. Your podcast could be short and sweet or long and detailed, and it could include interviews, explanations, or even have a question and answer format. 


Save time by repurposing other content that you have created to work for audio. Let’s say that you own local nutrition business in St Louis and want to set yourself up as a thought leader and expert in your field. Your podcast could have people call in and ask quick questions about nutrition that you provide helpful and educational answers to. 


E-books


Ever been prompted to download a free e-book after visiting a website? Those free e-books are lead magnets that can bring astounding results. To write your e-book, you can start with a long-form blog post and expand from there. E-books show off your skill and knowledge while also helping you gather information on leads. Just make sure you require an email to download, and voila – you’ve got a new database of leads in your content marketing funnel. An e-book can be about anything: a workout guide, how to make restaurant-quality food at home, how to make greener choices or even a personal meditation journey. 



Whichever content format you choose, it needs to fit your intended audience and habits. Think of your audience’s most significant problems and create content full of actionable insights. Whichever format works, go with that.


Create a content schedule


Your content schedule will capture when you post each week, what types of content, and where. It helps you stay on track and accountable. You can use an online template or jot it down in an actual calendar. When plotting out your content schedule, think about how long it will take you to create the content, how often you want to post, and when. 


Always refer to your target audience when planning out your content. Think about what they want to see and how that changes depending on where they are in the content marketing funnel. Also, define how you will promote the content. Will you post blogs to social media or use guest bloggers and backlinks? Include all of this in your content schedule.

Remember to be realistic. You may not have the same resources as a massive company, so create a schedule that will work for you.


Set up a workflow


Your workflow will include everything involved in setting up and executing your local business content marketing strategy. Typically, a content workflow will consist of the following tasks: outline, write, review, edit, approve, and publish. Identify who will be in charge of each task and the timeline for completing them. Having a comprehensive workflow will make your life so much easier, and who doesn’t want that?


Measure and improve your efforts over time


Once you start distributing content, it’s time to see how your content is measuring up! Regularly measuring your efforts will let you know if you’re on the right track and where you need to improve. 


The metrics you use to measure your efforts will depend on your goal and content format. The metrics usually fall under traffic, conversions, engagement, SEO performance, or authority. Using a tool like Google Analytics is a simple way to measure the performance of your local content marketing strategy. 


Gain insight by testing out different types of content. What works for your audience may not be what you expect, so let them lead you. Once you become familiar with the trends and types of content, your audience engages with, improve your efforts by distributing more of that content. 


Maximizing your content marketing for your local business


  • Want to be useful to your customers? Address their pain points and needs in your content. 
  • Consistency is vital when it comes to content marketing for your local business. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get results by posting whenever you feel like it. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that will bring your local business results if you stick to it.
  • Hold an audience’s attention by being engaging and fun! You can use practical examples, statistics, storytelling, and even humor. Cultivate your brand’s personality by developing a tone of voice that relates to your particular audience while using easy and enjoyable language. Even if the topic is a bit dry, try an interactive format to heighten the level of excitement in the content. 
  • Wherever your audience is accessing your content, it should be an easy experience. Your content should work seamlessly on each platform, whether social media, your website or an outside source – you should adapt your content and format accordingly.
  • Your content marketing represents your brand, so make it personal and unique to you.


How to do keyword research 


Keyword research is one of the first things you should do before developing content. It is the process of finding words and phrases that people search for when looking for information. Keyword research helps you create content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. Many SEO tools online find the keywords your audience is using to help you create content that answers their questions. Copy.AI’s keyword generator is a straightforward tool that is free to use. There are nearly seven BILLION local searches every month. So if you want to get on that first search engine page (who doesn’t?), don’t skip your keyword research. 


Local businesses should create local content.


Local content refers to the content created for and about your local area. Tie every piece of content you write back to your location because it will help you and your business’s content marketing strategy immensely. Let’s say you’re a makeup artist in London, and you’re writing a blog about trendy hairstyles of the season. You can connect this to your location by incorporating sentences like, “In London, we’re seeing a lot of braids this year.”.

person using iMac


Here are some other examples of local content:


  • Blog posts about local events 
  • Blog posts about your business and the products and services you offer
  • A Q&A with staff members at your company 
  • A local’s guide to the area – including things to do, the best places to shop, the best places to eat, etc.
  • Seasonal content that is relevant to your business


What you’ll need to get started with content marketing for your local business


Make your content marketing endeavors easier with these beneficial tools:


Content creation tools 

  • For visual content, try Canva – a graphic and document design tool that anyone can use. Trust us; it’s for newbies and seasoned designers alike. It offers beautiful and straightforward templates, photos, filters, icons, shapes, and fonts. 
  • For writing content, try Copy.ai – This AI powered copywriting app can help you write blogs, social media posts, emails, and much more. It can speed up your content creation process by 10x or more!
  • For relevant content, try Google Trends: Ah Google. Is there anything they can’t do? Well, Google Trends is a must-have for anyone with a local content marketing strategy. It will give you insights into today’s relevant content to help you stay on top of what your local audience wants to hear about. With Google Trends, you can research keywords, discover new ideas for content, and monitor your brand. 


Content promotion tools

  • Hootsuite – Hootsuite allows you to manage all of your social networks in a few clicks. Scheduling, management, and reporting tools all in one platform.
  • Social media tools – Instagram, Tik Tok, Youtube, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These heavy hitters are great tools to promote your content and reach a greater audience.
  • Taboola – If you’ve got the budget to try out paid promotion, Taboola is worth a shot. Taboola takes your content and places it on publishing websites relevant to your target audience. 


Measuring tools 

  • Google Analytics – Free and easy to use, does it get much better than that? Check out how people are finding your site and specific pages and delve into visitor behavior. You can also configure it to track purchases or email sign-up goals. 
  • Hotjar – As Hubspot puts it, “Google Analytics can help you uncover the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of user behavior, Hotjar’s tools can help you start to tiptoe into the ‘why.’” Giving you an accurate idea of how visitors experience your site can be super helpful to improving your local content marketing. Plus, Hotjar can help you source exciting content ideas. 


Want to create great content quickly and easily? These will help your local business:


  • Website builders like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. These platforms make it super easy to go in and adjust and customize your website, post blog articles, and manage customer relations.
  • Improve your website ranking by using a plug-in like Yoast.
  • Say goodbye to writer’s block with Copy.ai. Top content marketers are already using the platform, saving companies time and money. As a local business, your resources are valuable, so make the most out of them with platforms like Copy.ai.
  • Piktochart makes creating professional infographics, posters, and presentations easy.


How to repurpose your content into different formats 


As a local business, you already know the importance of providing excellent customer service and delivering a product or service that wows every single time. If you’re spending all of your time creating content, it can be hard to juggle other parts of your business too. 


Repurposing your content allows you to focus on the aspects of your business that keep your customers coming back time and time again. Here are some ways to repurpose content: 


  • Turn a top-performing blog post into an eye-catching brochure.  
  • Create blog posts or listicles from your podcast episodes.
  • Slideshare is a great way to boost authority as an industry thought leader. Turn an infographic into a Slideshare presentation to engage a new and unique audience. 


The future of content marketing for local businesses


To stay ahead of the game, think forward. Keeping on top of trends that will increase your local business’s brand awareness, authority, and more is a must. Here are some things you can do to ensure your content nails it every time: 


  • Interactive content is becoming increasingly popular. Quizzes, polls, and assessments are engaging ways to incorporate interactive material into your local business content marketing strategy. If you’re a local hairdresser, create a quiz that tells people what hairstyle they should try next. Or, if you’re a marketing consultant, you could offer an assessment where leads tell you about their current marketing strategies and efforts, and you give tips on how they can scale. 
  • Take advantage of new technologies because they spread like wildfire and early adopters often see massive benefits. Tik Tok is one example where brands that hopped on early gained massive followings. 
  • Nine out of 10 people reported wanting more video content from brands. So give the people what they want! You’ll see boosted engagement, and it’s a fun way to get your message across. Plus, it’s shareable on pretty much every social media platform. Win!
  • If the average daily screen time is anything to go by, we’re on our phones a lot. As a local business, you want to make sure that you are accessible to your audience wherever they are. Always check how your content looks on mobile and if the responsiveness needs improvement. Trust us; it’s worth the time and effort. 
  • Personalize your brand in your content by being honest, upfront, and showing off your personality. 


Takeaway 


Content marketing for a local business is a must. It helps build presence, increase visibility, and connect with valued customers. Plus, it’s cost and time effective! Use this guide as your local business content marketing bible, and the results will come. We can’t wait to see you scale! 

Need to write various types of blog posts? Check out our articles on:

How to write a blog post
Blog post for affiliate marketing
How to write a food blog
How to use listicles
How to turn an interview into a blog post
Getting started with a travel blog
How to write a comparison blog post
How to write a B2B case study



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