Make Bristol a key part of your content marketing
Chances are most Bristol Media members land the majority of their work with clients based in and around this fair city. From personal experience, less than a third of our clients in the past year have come to us from further afield than Bath, and I imagine it’s a similar story for many Bristol-based businesses.
As such, it makes sense to optimise your efforts locally, ensuring you’re front and centre in the mind of potential customers on your doorstep. Firstly, it’s essential to conduct thorough keyword research to see which regional phrases you should be targeting, and then naturally weave them into your web content. Doing so is the first step to getting noticed in localised search results.
Next, it’s imperative that your Google My Business profile is complete and up-to-date. Google’s mantra is fully focused on improving the user experience, and the GMB platform makes it easy for people to find exactly what they’re looking for. As such, this should be treated as an extension of your own website, detailing your services, providing a contact number and a link back to your site.
You should also ask happy clients to leave reviews, adding a layer of credibility to your brand. The more complete your profile is, the greater chance you have of the right people finding you.
To that end, you also have to NAP consistently. That is to say, your company Name, Address and Phone number should be clearly visible on your site, on a page which is listed in your sitemap, allowing the Google search bots to easily find it.
It may sound obvious, but ensuring this information is consistent and accurate increases the chance that Google returns your site in local searches. You’d be surprised how many businesses have typos in their address or have it listed slightly differently on different web pages - confusing the search bots and hampering search performance.
To make an impact locally, it makes sense to engage with those in your vicinity. For example, I’m a big admirer of ADLIB’s approach to local content, producing the Creative Employment Today (SW) survey - detailing how creative professionals in the South West feel about current market trends and what the future holds for the creative industries.
Publishing such a report elevates ADLIB’s status as a leading recruiter in the region’s fast-growing digital, marketing and tech sectors, earning attention from target audiences (both employers and creative types), and ensuring that their brand is associated with being on the pulse of the current state of play in the area.
It’s interesting to learn that respondents listed copywriting as the second most-needed skill to facilitate growth, which bodes well for Bristol copywriting agencies and freelancers alike (many of whom are among the Bristol Media alumnus).
Conducting your own research in this manner is a great way to get noticed, as it provides unique, relevant insights that will be of interest to key demographics, naturally gaining column inches and links to your website.
Up and away
Another fantastic way of making people aware of your presence is to piggyback local events, such as the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Ballooning Media, for example, specialise in B2B marketing on balloons - providing novel aerial advertising that promises to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people over the festival weekend and on other scheduled flights throughout the year.
If your budget doesn’t allow the wiggle room for such a grand statement, you can still extend your reach by writing guest articles for local publications - both in print and online. We’re graced with a wide variety of authoritative outlets, such as Bristol 24/7, South West Business and TechSPARK - not forgetting Bristol Media, of course! - all of which are constantly on the lookout for exclusive, well-written, informative material.
The aim of the game isn’t to write an advertorial, directly promoting your services - taking this approach is unlikely to meet editorial approval. Rather, if you have valuable business lessons to share, or can lend an expert voice to a trending topic in your niche, then you’ll be offering content that is worthwhile.
More often than not, you’ll be able to indirectly promote your own website, either via the author’s biography or by referencing a relevant blog post (provided it’s non-advertorial in nature). So, not only will you be raising your profile and have something interesting to share on social media, in the background your website will be benefiting from citation links from local, high-quality websites, again giving you a boost in local search rankings.
Ultimately, search engines read citation links as a signpost for quality, so the more you have from high-quality, relevant websites, the higher your rankings will be. Similarly, when Google looks for local SEO signals, links from local authority sites are high on their list of important ranking factors.
Forming your content strategy
There’s little point in talking about something unless it’s a) relevant to your business, and b) you really know what you’re talking about. Whether you’re looking to build up your blog or provide valuable content for other publishers, your output is an opportunity to showcase expertise and frame yourself as a key player in the market - a real voice of authority with something interesting to say.
It’s important to define your target audiences, and understand what type of content they’re looking for - what would help them? The objective should be to ‘tell’ rather than ‘sell’, providing something of interest rather than content that’s littered with sales messaging.
Undertaking a spot of competitor analysis is always worthwhile, as you can glean all sorts of information by seeing how your rivals are winning (or losing) their customers.
It’s also crucial to set clear targets at the outset of any content marketing campaign - what are you hoping to achieve? Better visibility in search rankings? Increased sign-ups to your email newsletter? Raise your brand awareness on social media? Keeping your key objectives in mind will help your content stay on course.
Finally, once you’ve published something - whether on your own site or on an industry-related website - it’s important to shout about it and tell the world what you’ve been up to. Simply hitting ‘publish’ and sitting back to wait for your readers to roll in isn’t enough. You have to amplify your efforts, posting it out across all your social channels, sharing a link with any contacts you think might benefit from reading it, etc.
Employee advocacy is also a great way of extending your reach, so it’s highly advisable to encourage staff to follow suit and post your content far and wide. Not only will this go a long way to maximising the potential of each piece, it also means that all stakeholders within your business are well-versed on what the company is up to, ensuring that everyone is in-tune and singing from the same sheet.
For further insight on forming a winning web strategy, you can read our patented five-step process for content marketing success.
A special offer for Bristol Media Members
One more thing: as members of Bristol Media, we’d like to offer you a free appraisal of your website and content marketing strategy. We’ll happily review your editorial calendar, suggest ideas for content that’s targeted at your key demographic, and help identify how to better promote that content to wider audiences. If you don’t yet have a content marketing strategy in place, then fear not, we can help with this too.