Why Local Publishing is a Golden Opportunity

If you’re enterprising, have a penchant for web publishing and need some direction, try this tantalizing opportunity: publish a site around a niche that exists in your local geographic vicinity.

The gist is to build an online community that uses specific content to directly enhance the lives of interested people in your area.

No personal branding, no blogging for sales leads, no SEO — just good old fashion editorial content.

The best part is you don’t have to rely so much on social media to market yourself. All you need to be is social.

Why Do It?

Because nobody else is. The competition is very low right now.

Most mainstream niche sites these days are too large, messy and clunky and void of local perspective. Launching a micro-publishing venture could attract people who are savvy to RSS but continue to value the character and nuances of their home community.

Another reason to go local is because it’s much easier to build trust when people can get to know you in person. What might take someone 1 year to make 10 good acquaintances online, you could probably make in 1 hour in real life.

Low competition and easy-to-build trust aren’t the only benefits to local publishing. Remember that:

  • People appreciate a local’s perspective, especially in today’s anonymous world.
  • You’re more likely to find work or other business leads in your area.
  • People you meet provide an endless supply of content, because people are interesting to write and read about.

Your Editorial Mindset

As a local publisher you want to possess the virtue of being a good editor. Strive to position yourself as someone who has a solid grasp on the subject matter but doesn’t dictate every thought in your head onto the screen. Don’t be just another blogger.

What I suggest you do is build a site that is one part Seth Godin Tribes (you lead by passion and direction), one part Copyblogger (consistently useful content) and one part Paris Hilton marketing (constantly promote other people, products, programs, etc. in your niche).

Publish what your readers need and want to hear without losing your personal touch.

Want an example of a local site in my area that publishes like this? Check out Share Your Table. New York City? Try Curbed.

Cheap and Easy Setup

Theoretically, you could be up and running in 10 minutes if you follow this simple and affordable website setup formula:

  1. Come up with a brilliant domain name. Here’s a 3-step plan for that.
  2. Purchase a hosting plan that includes a free domain name. ($7.50/month)
  3. Login to your hosting control panel and install Worpdress.
  4. Start publishing.

Because good design matters, I also recommend you look into purchasing a premium WordPress Theme from Organic Themes. They offer beautiful out-of-the-box themes with solid support. A theme costs $69, and it’s worth every penny.

Going Local

You hear the expression all the time when it comes to food — “buy local,” “support your local farmers,” etc. So why not push it with your website?

There’s not much difference in asking your community to support their local website like they would their farmer’s market.

If you can create a well-designed site with awesome content and a empathetic voice—with the added advantage of actually knowing your readers —you have the makings of bright and lucrative future.

Photo by cjmartin.