Does it matter where you live? Or, is hyperlocal blogging the same in Portland as it is in Paducah?
I believe hyperlocal bloggers in big cities have a vastly different experience than those of us in smaller cities. Better in some ways, worse in others … but different for sure. I think there are pros and cons to both, and would love to hear your experiences based on where you live now as a local blogger. First, my pros and cons, and then you take over in the comments.
Blogging in a Big City
- Content Options. As a big city blogger, you have lots to write about: pro sports teams, diverse arts & entertainment options, lots of restaurants and businesses to write about, etc. There’s also police activity happening at all hours of the day, which equates to good content for news-type blogs (see below).
- Blogger Networking. A basic element of blog marketing is reaching out to similar blogs and creating conversations and relationships. This is easier in bigger cities where there are likely several other local blogs you can connect with.
- Blogger Competition. The flip side of the “Blogger Networking” item listed above is that you’re competing for traffic. If your hyperlocal blog is just a hobby, you probably don’t care. But many hyperlocal bloggers have specific goals in mind, and too much competition can hamper your chances for success.
- SEO Competition. My gut tells me that big city local bloggers get less traffic from natural search/SEO than small town bloggers do, because there are more web sites in larger cities — many of which have had SEO work done. Plus, government web sites in bigger cities are usually much stronger, more trusted, more optimized, etc., than small town government web sites. So, it may harder for local blogs to get search visibility on local topics. See below for more on this idea.
Blogging in a Small Town
- Slower Pace. I suppose this could be a “con” to a big city blogger, but I’m glad there’s not as much going on in our area as there is in Seattle, for example. I might feel differently of local blogging was our career, but it’s not; it’s something we do when we can to help with my wife’s real estate business. It’s good that there’s not a constant stream of news, events, activities, etc., for us to be blogging about. The slower pace is good for what we’re doing, so I consider it a “pro” of being in a small town.
- SEO/Visibility. One thing we’ve learned with our four local blogs, is that we can almost pick any term we want to rank for, write about it, and get search traffic from the major search engines. In smaller towns, there are fewer web sites competing for local search terms, which opens up a traffic source for a small-town blogger. Our government web sites are, for the most part, terrible. Many local businesses don’t have web sites, or have poorly optimized web sites.
- Blogging Vacuum. Where big city bloggers usually have several other blogs to connect with, that’s not always the case in small towns. Where we live, for example, there are other bloggers … but they’re not necessarily writing about stuff that offers a logical connection to our blogs. Some are other real estate agents, and it’s not exactly smart business from an SEO perspective to be promoting and linking to their blogs. Others are just not “linkable” for a variety of reasons.
- Community Closeness. In smaller towns they say that everybody knows each other. It’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. I’ve found myself not wanting to say certain things on our local blogs because of personal connections to the people who are directly or indirectly involved in what I’d be writing about. I feel like big city bloggers probably don’t have that concern, at least not as often as those of us in smaller towns.
You tell me… Did I miss the boat on big city vs. small town local blogging? How do your experiences differ, or are they similar? What would you add to my lists?