Need some great tips for localizing your Examiner column?
If you’re a local Examiner, no doubt you have gotten THOSE emails by now.
The first one that made you think you were going to get a spiffy bonus. And the second one that made you realize you could only make up to five dollars a week extra, as an incentive for localizing your content.
But there are advantages writing for Examiner.com, so if you enjoy the gig, hang in there and learn to make your local column locally relevant to qualify for that…um…bonus, and to be promoted on Channel pages and other areas of Examiner.com.
I have both a local and a national Examiner page, and Digital Scrapbooking is my local topic.
There are not many niches that are less localized than digital scrapbooking. It is largely Internet-based, and many of the best digital scrapbooking supplies are found on Australian, UK, Canadian, and Russian websites, among other non-US sites. It’s a digital hobby in a global, virtual world.
That’s not local to my city, or to my state, but I have to write like it is.
I haven’t written on Examiner for awhile. But I managed to localize most of my posts when I did. So I’ll give you some tips for doing this yourself, since Examiner is requiring this to a greater degree now:
1. Connect with local bloggers. Search Technorati.com or Blogsearch.Google.com for your subject + the name of your city. Find the best blogs, and write to their owners. Comment on their blogs.
Interview these bloggers for your page, and they will tell their readers that they were featured on Examiner. And you’ll make new friends who are interested in the same things you are in the process.
2. Network with other Examiners. If you are the local Parenting Examiner, you may not think you have much in common with the local Restaurants Examiner, but you do. Parents need to know which restaurants are kid-friendly and have “kids eat free” nights. So collaborate!
Trade leads and play off each others’ articles. Link to each other, and you’ll both win.
Can’t find an Examiner? Write to your channel manager and ask them to contact him or her for you. Search for their user names on other forums. Chances are they write about the same subject on other content sites.
3. Make it easy for people to contact you. Set up a Google email address like, “NYFoodExaminer@gmail.com” and add a request at the bottom of every article asking readers to contact you with story ideas. It only takes a minute.
Add a “follow me on Twitter” button or other social media link to the bottom of your articles.
4. Keep your eye out for local events that are even vaguely related to your topic. Publicize the event, and tell people how it relates. Everyone you do this for will thank you, and you have easy content that takes just a few minutes to write.
5. Create Google News alerts for your topic + city name. Every time my city and scrapbooking are mentioned in a news article, I get an email. You can subscribe to news feeds in your RSS reader, too.
6. Take an hour to find all the semi-related keywords you can for your topic. You already do keyword research for your articles. Right? So stretch it a bit to find the local spin.
I often wrote about photography, because scrappers use photos in their pages. Scrappers also print their pages, they make other things from their pages, and they need software.
Here’s the strategy that has worked for me: I write my article about my topic,just as I would for a national topic. Then I go back and add information telling readers where to shop locally for anything related to that topic, or mention a local blogger–even one I’ve mentioned five other times, if I have to.
Photography? I mention the most photographed landmarks in my area. Printing? I give them the name of a specialty printer online, as well as a local printer.
If you write about science fiction, tell readers where to buy out-of-print books locally. Or share a story, and give it a local twist. Mention a street name here, a local restaurant there.
Spend a couple of hours once a week calling and writing local businesses. Every business is hungry for customers. And it’s a whole lot easier to get a call back from a local blogger than it is from a national chain like David’s Bridal.
Trust me on this.
Have a set of standard questions that you email to every contact as a mini-interview. Some of them will practically write your article for you.
If you have a local Examiner page that is a challenge for you, write to me and I’ll help you localize it for your city. The more hopeless you think it is, the more fun it will be.
Now go forth and localize!