going local: using what you’ve learned blogging in your community

going local: using what you've learned blogging for your community

Last week I shared some benefits of and ways to use your blog to promote your community. But I promised to give you some ideas about how you can use your blog and the experience you have gained from blogging in your community. For many of us, blogging is a portion of our strategy toward larger goals, such as building a platform or growing a small business.

Blogging allows us to improve our skills and expertise in many ways. We become better writers, effective social media strategists, and experts in our chosen niche.  In fact, the longer we blog, the more we know—and the more we have to share with others.

Sometimes, though, we aren’t sure where to start sharing what we know in our community. Two-and-a-half years ago we moved to a small town in North Alabama. Since then, I’ve developed a small but growing social media consulting business and increased my ministry speaking opportunities. In addition, I am a paid weekly columnist for our local paper.

We don’t have any social media meet-ups here in Russellville, AL. In fact, I’m the only professional blogger I know in my town {in fact, I might be the only blogger in our community, period}. It all started when we first moved here and people asked what I do. “I’m a blogger,” was my response. I didn’t apologize or try to make it smaller. I owned what I do and continued to do it well.

And people noticed. As they did, I began to receive more opportunities—financial and otherwise.

Here are seven ways you can use your expertise in your community:

  1. Write for local/regional papers or magazines. Find out who publishes the various media in your area and then contact those individuals about opportunities to write. I simply modify a blog post for our local paper each week. But I’ve also written full articles for a local magazine and have stayed in contact with the publishers of other regional magazines in order to pitch them article ideas as well.
  2. Partner with local non-profits. Even the smallest communities have non-profit or volunteer-driven organizations. Connect with these groups and offer to write for their newsletters or to develop a blog post highlighting what they are doing or a special event they are developing. As you work with a non-profit, you will make contacts with others.
  3. Speak at local civic groups. Your town undoubtedly has Rotary Club, Lions Club, Civitans, and other civic organizations that meet weekly or monthly. Each of these groups has a program at every meeting. Offer to provide the program for one.
  4. Get to know the local Chamber of Commerce staff. Meet with the director and explain how your expertise could benefit their members. Suggest writing an article for their newsletter or speaking at a meeting. A connection with the Chamber will also provide you with valuable networking opportunities.
  5. Write for local business blogs or websites. Now that you’ve connected with businesses and organizations in your community, discuss writing opportunities. Many business owners, especially small businesses, have websites or blogs but struggle to find time to create updated and meaningful content. You could do that for them!
  6. Provide product or service reviews for local businesses. New businesses especially might be interested in having a well-written review of their products or services. Connect with owners and devise a mutually beneficial plan.
  7. Social media coaching and/or management. This is my favorite! I have worked with several businesses in our community to develop new websites and improve their social media strategy.

Undoubtedly, as you read this list you thought of ways to implement these ideas or other ways you could use what you have learned to help small businesses and organizations in your community. But don’t forget, you can charge for your expertise! Don’t undersell yourself or undervalue what you know. Be fair, and only offer what you can really do.

What are other ways you could share your expertise with businesses or organizations in your community?