If the digital revolution has delivered one thing, it’s news. Think about it – just a few generations ago, the news came once a day in print, in the form of the local newspaper on the porch; and once a day on TV, when you settled down after dinner to check in with Walter Cronkite or, a few years later, Dan Rather or Peter Jennings.
Today, the news cycle runs 24/7. You never stop getting headlines, stories, videos and podcasts from all manner of online news services. The Internet has made our world smaller – you can now know immediately what goes on across town, around the country and in the far reaches of the world.
The prevalence of news opens up new opportunities for upcoming bloggers and online publications. When you localize a particular story via a blog entry, article, YouTube or other kind of content, you can target people in your community who are searching for this information.
For nearly any kind of story, from an earthquake to an oil spill to the presidential election, you can likely find an angle to enhance understanding, outline the local impact, and engage people in your community.
Steps to localizing a news angle
Not every breaking news story has an immediate local tie-in, but you need not waste time and energy on creating new content if you follow some strategic steps first:
- Determine the local impact of a national, or even international, news story. An earthquake in China may seem less than relevant to Mercer Island, Washington – but its significance grows when you consider the Chinese-American population in that town exceeds 7 percent.
- Next, keep an ear to the ground over what local people are discussing. You can find views on community sites and social media, of course, or just sit in the neighborhood diner and listen in on the regulars. What stories are hot – politics, climate change, immigration? Any broad topic could be a good reason to interview local experts.
- Look for stories that are similar to events in your community. Hurricane Sandy’s wrath was widely reported in New York and New Jersey, but that same storm system also affected a wide swath of the Midwest, where people surely have stories to share.
- Determine what your local angle can add to the news story. Some stories have clear tie-ins, such as news that affects public policy or groundbreaking stories like Colorado’s 2012 passage of marijuana legalization. You can find views and reactions from local people to news from the national or global scene.
- Use social media to identify interview sources for your news angle. Ask directly from your own page for people to interview, or do a search on the topic.
Posting and publicizing your localized news angle
Once you have localized a news angle, determine the best online content vehicle to present it. An article or blog is easily searched via SEO keywords, but don’t underestimate the drawing power of a YouTube video or even a Pinterest board if the story is highly visual.
- Add a call-to-action in your content to encourage viewers to follow up at your website’s landing page, where they may exchange contact information for more valuable content – affording you a chance to develop the visitor into a qualified lead.
- Use email marketing to send your news stories to relevant customers and prospects. Doing so can position you as a thought leader and community advocate.
- Finally, publicize your content along with ready-to-view hyperlinks, on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – both your page and relevant local news pages – to encourage sharing and comments.
Scoop the competition Delivering local angles to national and global news can build your credibility, net you a new or more targeted audience, and ultimately enhance your web traffic.