Looking for ways to create shareable blog content as a small business owner that’s actually relevant to your local community? Shareable content does require a bit more thought and a focusing on exactly what makes something shareable before creating it. 

You’ll need to focus on the exact audience you’re targeting, the tone you use, the way you hook people in and the value you’re providing. And don’t forget the way it looks with images, videos, graphics and more. We’ll get into all of these aspects and more in this article. 

So, why do people share content? People share content because it speaks to who they are, affirming their beliefs and values. It entertains and delights – or provokes and angers. Shareable content speaks to their interests and solving their pain points. In short, shareable content offers value. Oftentimes it’s practical and helpful. 

People share content because it speaks to who they are, affirming their beliefs and values. It entertains and delights – or provokes and angers.

 People share content when they are getting something out of it. . That could be something as simple as a giveaway. Or, it may be more complex – it talks about them and makes them look or feel good. It may help them feel seen. They share because it shows to the world that they identify with this. This is important. 

Craft your small business’ blog content with shareability in mind

For me personally, there is content I’ll save privately on my Chrome bookmarks. Then there’s content I’ll tweet, pin, repost or share publicly. So what’s the difference? Shareable content isn’t just interesting.  It’s too good to keep to yourself.  

This sounds like a tall order, but this guide breaks it down into simple, actionable steps. I use examples specific to local business, too. And of course, not every blog post or piece of content will go viral. Luckily, you don’t need it to. A few shares here and there are all it takes to raise local brand awareness. A few shares here and there is all it takes to raise local brand awareness. 

New to local SEO? Check out my glossary of terms before diving in.

READ MORE  A seriously helpful local SEO glossary of terms

If you’re looking for tips to get started with your own SEO strategy yourself, check out my helpful guide linked below!

READ MORE  30 do-it-yourself SEO tips for service professionals

Whether you’re a wedding photographer like me, or you operate a different kind of small business, I hope these actionable tips are helpful!

Want to use Google’s full suite of features to get your content in front of your market’s eyeballs for free? I’ve another guide like this one all about optimizing for Google Discover. Check that one out next!

READ MORE  Optimizing for Google Discover as a small business owner (with case study)

And be sure to set up your Google My Business, which is still the best way to be seen by your local community searching online.

READ MORE  How to set up your Google My Business for photographers

1. Know your community –  their sensitivities, their stereotypes and matters of local pride

Creating shareable content specifically for a local community means tapping into the hearts and minds of your community. In fact, being hyperlocal or specific is a shortcut to hyper relevance. Talk about things that a large nationwide or multi-national organization cannot. Leverage your lifetime of observing and interacting with the people that live there. Get personal, and speak to the things that only locals know.

2. Keep your finger on the pulse of your local community

Knowing your community is one thing, but it’s also important to keep up with the news, events, happenings and culture as they continually evolve. Follow your city or area’s subreddit on Reddit for ideas. This is a great way of gauging local sentiment, and most posts have no shortage of replies each of which will be downvoted or upvoted according to their perceived merit.

screenshot of san francisco subreddit - creating valuable and locally shareable content
The subreddit for my city is a real goldmine of valuable information that you could turn into locally-relevant blog content

Did you know there’s another way you can stand out by being hyperlocal and relevant? Check out the post linked below!

READ MORE  Optimizing for Google Discover as a small business owner (with case study)

3. Reaction to local news / opinion pieces

If you see something that sparks a reaction, or feels ripe for adding your professional opinion to the debate, create a post about it. You don’t want to set yourself up as a news site, or get too involved in local politics. This can be divisive, and detract from your product or service. But a particular angle may present itself – one that’s timely, local and related to what you do, who you are and who you serve.

4. Pitch the tone/ mood right

People share stories that confirm their beliefs and values. What they share represents them publicly. It appears right there with their name attached for everyone to see. This means people won’t share something that has the potential to reflect negatively on them. At the same time, divisive content that mildly provokes or challenges, can be more shareable than a simple, uncontroversial statement. It’s a fine balance.

5. Identify the audience accurately with a specific buyer persona

Now you’ve identified details about your community, you need to narrow it down even further. Why? Because when you write for just one person, you make it unmistakably relevant or relatable! 

12 creative ways this Milwaukee mom of 4 is navigating the challenges of homeschooling

If I’m a Milwaukee mom who is going through the same struggles, I definitely want to click this post. As long as the solutions are useful and relevant, I won’t mind hearing about your company’s product or services if it can help me solve my problem. 

Buyer personas are very specific. Hubspot has comprehensive resources on creating your buyer persona

6. Appeal to the interests of your buyer persona

Tap into what your audience is already talking out - graphics from beastlocal.com

Tap into what your audience is already talking about. Speak to their interests, their passions, the important events happening in their filter bubble. 

For example, let’s say you’re a nutritionist. One day, Beyonce reveals her diet. The internet goes wild – and you know that Beyonce is popular among your audience. How about publishing a response piece that outlines your professional opinion about her diet? 

The dangerous truth about the new Beyonce diet – know this before trying it yourself

Or creating a free resource that show fans how they can follow Beyonce’s lead: 

Free downloadable meal plans so you can eat like Queen Bey – prepared by Calgary nutritionist

The possibilities are endless. 

As examples like this are highly relevant to your niche, it’ll put your name in front of dozens or hundreds of eyeballs. Next time they or a friend needs a local nutritionist, who will come to mind?

7. Debunk common local myths and confirm or subvert commonly-held local beliefs

The idea of wading into strongly-held local beliefs will not be relevant to everyone. So treat this one with caution. Don’t stray into complex political issues, religion or worldview. Such content can go viral for the wrong reasons. Generally, it’s more preferable to confirm rather than subvert. No-one likes their personal worldview to be questioned – so keep it light-hearted and relevant to your brand. 

13 Denver stereotypes that are completely accurate

8. Dive into local history – either to educate or offer up your unique take or research

This one is a little harder to link to most businesses. But this is the kind of content that can be easily found online through search. If you enjoy research and can link your findings back to what you offer, this can be a good way of making content that’s shareable slowly over time. Use words like ‘outrageous’, ‘unbelievable’ or ‘incredible’, to keep things fresh.

The unbelievable story of the old Anyhoo Mill – why breadmaking has been in our blood for 150 years

9. Offer solutions to a pain point by telling them what exactly you do 

When you offer solutions to problems, you position yourself as the expert. - graphics from beastlocal.com

This falls under the category of actionable and practical. When you offer solutions to problems, you position yourself as the expert. Your hacks and tricks are genuinely helpful. Naturally people want to share the love with their network. 

Don’t call a plumber – do these 3 things now to prepare yourself for winter in Anchorage

I love sharing something people could do themselves – or they have the option of commissioning you to do it for them. It takes a certain mindset shift, I will say. Many business owners are scared to do this, thinking ‘if people knew how to do what I do, they wouldn’t hire me/ buy my product!’. 

But that’s not really true. When restaurants publish the actual recipes that they use in-house, they don’t see a drop in revenue because now everyone’s cooking the dishes at home. Far from it, they see an increase because now they have a product they can sell passively in addition to their service. 

How to make our famous pad graw prow at home… or just visit House of Thai in Charleston SC!

One little trick I use is when I’m explaining something I do, I’m also showing that it’s actually rather more complicated than they thought. For example, I’m a wedding photographer. I want to be hired to photograph weddings.

Let’s say I publish a post entitled:

How to take amazing photos at your own Bay Area summer wedding!

In the post, I’ll explain how much every step of preparation and equipment that’s required to be purchased and maintained. 

Then I show exactly what they’ll need to know about using the equipment. And then there’s the amount of time it takes to snap the perfect frame, explaining timing, composition, exposure compensation, different lenses etc.  Of course then there’s thousands of photos to sift through, and expensive software for the culling and editing, not to mention viewing, sharing, archiving and creating a lasting album. 

Some might be thinking ‘OK! This sounds easy!’, but the majority didn’t even read to the end and are thinking how do I just book you? You clearly know what you’re talking about, and are giving valuable, honest information.

Notice how I also sneaked in a keyword ‘Bay Area summer wedding’? Sure, it’s not going to rank #1 for that term, looking at what’s already there, but it helps Google understand what my site is about at the very least. 

10. Craft an engaging, click-worthy title – the hook

Notice: click-worthy, not clickbaity! The title is a huge part of your efforts for shareable content. Usually, you’re optimizing your title with keywords because you want to be found on organic search. 

Want more information on how to do keyword research and which tools are great (and very cost effective – mostly free!) for small business owners? My detailed guide highlighting my favorite tools, is linked below!

READ MORE  16 free keyword research tools for your small business in 2020

It’s one thing to write great content, but it’s another thing to get it read and ranked — which is where nailing the title comes in.Titles are what sell the content. They represent it in search engines, in email, and on social media.

Hubspot, How to Write Catchy Headlines and Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist

But when you’re pushing out super-shareable content, you’re relying less on SEO and more on users doing the work for you – so they must be hooked in. That’s because user behavior signals to the algorithm the size of your reach. A boring title to your awesome blog post means no clicks at all – and no shares. 

READ MORE  What is local SEO? [A small business owner's guide]

To help you understand more about what makes an engaging title, check out these resources. 

Buzzsumo – learn about what themes generate interaction. You can get a limited number of searches per month for free. 

Buzzfeed is the benchmark in classic click-bait titles that you can’t resist..uh.. clicking. 

Buzzfeed - a study in very clickable titles and shareable content, that local business owners can learn from
I sometimes look at Buzzfeed to study what makes me want to click!

Of course, don’t worry that your titles aren’t going to be that of a world-leading media publisher. But just understanding what makes you want to click may be helpful. 

Instead of:

How much Gondor couples spend on their wedding day on average

Consider:

How to spend $57,148 on one day – breakdown of the average Gondor wedding in 2019

11. Create value at the start

Sure, you generally want your blog post to have some reasonable length to it – even if it is possible to address your topic in 2 sentences. On the flipside, don’t waffle for 1,750 words and then give your awesome hack in the last 250 words. (We’ve all read the recipe blogs that do this, right?) So at least create an outline that details what the reader will gain out of the post straight off the bat.

Our collective attention span is getting shorter, and we value content that is actionable and helps us to solve a problem. 

Flockler, 13 actionable tips on how to create shareable content

12. Give away valuable information

The above statement is basically content marketing in a nutshell. Information you’re spreading is useful and valuable – maybe even outside of your local community. 

Sure, you can be a little self-promotional in your posts, but make sure there’s enough there so it’s not just sales copy. 

Do this one thing now and never have a blocked toilet again

Pre-winter checklist – 3 quick tips to avoid the pain of frozen pipes

DIY plumbing fixes so you never have to call a plumber out again

 You get the idea! Valuable content creates trust.

13. Create entertaining content that provokes a reaction

the most shareable content gets a reaction out of the people it reaches. - graphic by beastlocal.com

As well valuable content such as how-tos, there’s also content that entertains. According to GetResponse, the most shareable content gets a reaction out of the people it reaches.

[Viral] content aroused emotions such as excitement, awe, and delight. However, content that elicited anxiety, frustration, or anger also got more shares than the pieces that provoked low-arousal feelings, such as confusion and sadness.

Get Response, 7 main characteristics of shareable content

For local businesses, ‘going viral’ with your own content is something that may happen once in a great while. Nevertheless, you can take the general principle on board next time you wonder how to convey your point more ‘shareably’.

Look at this title below. This is a real story that I found on BuzzSumo.

Plumber took job at cancer-sick 91-year-old’s home, and his invoice is now going viral

OK, a little clickbaity, but I’m seriously hooked. I want to know WHY the plumber’s invoice went viral! Did he nickel and dime the old lady? What was so interesting about this invoice, anyway?

Then I saw the full story:

Example of click-worthy title for local business content marketing about a plumber taking a job at a 91-year old's house and not charging her anything
Phew! It turned out to be a lovely, heartwarming story of a plumber with a heart of gold.

Super heartwarming! If he’d ripped her off I definitely wouldn’t want to share it – that’s just mean. But now my faith in humanity has been restored and I want to share the love! 

People love to express their attitudes and receive affirmative feedback from their circle of friends and acquaintances. Sharing content is a way to express one’s personality to a group.

Online Marketing Institute, 12 Tips for Creating Shareable Social Media Content

14. Use images & videos to grab attention – maybe your team at work

I know this sounds a bit cringey and many team members (including yourself) may not enjoy being photographed. But even simple cell phone pictures from the latest smartphones can transform a post. If you learn some simple photo editing using one of the many free apps, it’ll up your photo game! Personal photos (as opposed to stock photography) makes the content fresh and visually appealing. Most importantly, it shows the real faces behind the brand. 

Research shows that if you have an image you’ll have 94% more views and, if that image is colored then readers are 80% more likely to read your content. 

The Next Scoop, 9 Tips for Creating Highly Shareable Content

Optimize images for social sharing. Your ‘share’ image is what will appear on the user’s wall/ board/ feed. People won’t be able to save something to Pinterest if there’s no image. Nor will they want a low-quality or cheesy-looking image having pride of place on their Facebook wall. 

screenshot showing share to Facebook with a well optimized featured image for social sharing example
An example of a well-optimized ‘share’ image for Facebook social sharing

So, if I want to share the super helpful blog post I’m reading, I can see that a high-quality, relevant image is going to be shared with it. I would feel totally comfortable sharing this post with my community.

15. Use infographics – or for bonus points, create your own

Blog posts with infographics are three times as likely to be shared on social media as those without. (Source: ReusserDesign

Create your own or repurpose high quality infographics that are in the public domain. Computer apps like Canva are awesome for this creating infographics as they have templates you can use, no design experience required. Your industry probably has some dry statistics specific to your city or state that you could turn into an infographic that no-one else has. 

Here’s a quick graphic I created using Canva. (That’s my referral link right there in case you want to try it out. There’s a free version and pro). My topic, internet usage, uses stats from a Pew research study and a simple free template.

a quick and easy infographic about internet usage in the US in 2019, created in canva, the best tool for creating customizable infographics
This simply infographic took me all of 10 minutes to put together on Canva!

Share this Image On Your Site

16. Reverse-engineer infographics into a text post

Infographics are awesome. However, they lack that text-based element that makes it easy for search engines to consume. Text is actually easier for humans to consume given the variety of devices we now use to access content. A wide format that looks great on the desktop might be impossible to see on the phone and vice versa. 

Take a look at this search:

screenshot example of a Google search for "infographics" in a particular state (oregon) as a source of information for blog posts

Now you can check out which infographic related to your field doesn’t have the corresponding data in text form.

17. Write reviews of tools you use

This is a fun one that I’ve done on my service business’ blog. Leverage your expertise in a field and review related consumer products. Check out these examples: 

25 productivity apps – a professional planner’s honest take (yes, I tried them all!) 

A local photographer’s opinion on the newest photo-sharing craze sweeping L.A.

As a North Dakota handyman, I couldn’t live without these 10 home hacks that withstand our extreme weather

These don’t have to be local-centered at all, but it helps to catch the attention of your potential customers in a more targeted way.

18. Case studies or client interviews

Focusing on the client journey can be a powerful tool. - beastlocal article about creating the most shareable content for local business

Focusing on the client journey can be a powerful tool. Just make sure you ask beforehand it’s OK to share the client’s journey with photos, videos and testimonials. The human touch guides new customers through what to expect in a way that isn’t salesy, but instead relatable. 

As an example, you’re running a local business that deals with mouse infestation in a non-lethal way. This is something most people know nothing about until one day they see a mouse and panic. Your post shows the backstory of the homeowner finding the mouse, and then her reaction when the team moves the stove and there are mouse droppings everywhere. 

The team does their job and 2 weeks later, the homeowner is thrilled. You get footage and quotes from one happy customer who is so relieved you solved her problem. 

OK, maybe in that case the customer wouldn’t necessarily want to share the info about her mouse issue with the world at large. But depending on what you sell, some industries and areas lend themselves well to client sharing. 

As a wedding photographer, when I blog a wedding, I let the couple and all the wedding vendors know as soon as the blog post is live. On occasion, I’ve gotten hundreds of Facebook shares of my blog post. Remember, this is content that lives on my website, and all that traffic is coming straight to my website, not a Facebook post! 

19. Get personal about your story – your why

Not every shareable content idea on this list is going to apply to every business or every industry. This one certainly won’t. But sharing something personal about your story can create community and connection. 

In particular, stories concerning overcoming adversity, turning your life around, or inspiring others to do the same, can strongly resonate with your local tribe. If you’re known in your community, even better!

These days, you can easily find podcasts related to your industry. They’re always looking for new people to interview! The format adds credibility because you’re being interviewed by someone else who is essentially vouching for you. 

Compared to other marketing strategies, getting interviewed on podcasts is pretty easy to do. It doesn’t cost any money. It doesn’t take very much time. And anyone who is comfortable talking about their area of expertise can do it.  

Foundation Inc, How To Get Interviewed On Top Podcasts In Your Industry 

Before the interview, ask for permission to transcribe it or parts of it. See if you can turn your answers into text as well as audio content and place it – or snippets of it – on your website.

20. Create an ultimate guide (or several!)

I absolutely love an ultimate guide! There’s always something we’re constantly guiding our clients through. So use this information and write the book on it!

When I created my ultimate guide, related to a local venue in particular, I took my cue from the frequently asked questions I got. This adds credibility and also reduces the amount of questions you’ll get if clients have read your guide first. 

They share it because they can vouch for the value they’re taking away - article about how local businesses can create shareable web content by beastlocal.com

I addressed the most common concerns, sources of confusion, objections I hear, physical locations, logistical issues, the tips and tricks I give out constantly at this place – and did it better than any of my competitors and miles ahead of the venue’s own information. People know for sure that this is helpful. They share it because they can vouch for the value they’re taking away.

If you want to educate AND empower your readers, you’re going to need to give them evidence that what you’re saying or doing really works—and that’s where you can go above and beyond your competitors.

Social Media Examiner, 5 Tips for Creating Shareable Blog Content

21. Use giveaways and incentives to share the post

A giveaway can definitely lead people back to your website. It’s best used as part of a cross-platform social media strategy. Perhaps for their entry to your giveaway to count, they must click the link to be taken to your website. There, they share their contact information or answer a qualifying questionnaire.

With a giveaway you won’t only make the day of one lucky winner — who will probably become a lifelong fan of your business — but, you’re able to introduce your brand to a whole new audience of captivated people.

Keap, How to create giveaway contests that drives traffic to your site

22. Offer discounts only available through visiting a web page

Similar to the giveaway idea, this involves promoting an offer exclusively through a webpage. The options are limitless, but might be:

  • A secret, hidden page of your website that you give clues to finding on social media (hidden behind an icon for example).
  • An offer they can find easily on your site, but only redeem once they’ve shared in on a social media channel 
  • An incentive to create user-generated content then share it for a chance to appear on a certain page.

23. Display ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons appropriately 

I say ‘appropriately’ because of the trend for floating ‘share’ buttons that cover up half the phone screen! Personally this deters me from sharing even if I wanted to, because it was a bad user experience.

your 'share' buttons should be prominent but not obtrusive. - advice for local businesses creating shareable content for web focused around their local community | beastlocal.com

Your ‘share’ buttons should be prominent but not obtrusive. And remember to test everything out on mobile too. Across most verticals, the majority of your users are now using a mobile phone to access your website. This proportion will only increase. A ‘click to tweet’ functionality makes sharing super easy.

A click-to-tweet button sounded like a great idea. Now I just need something to say 🤔

I touched on it in the social media section, but I actually finish all my posts with an ‘add this graphic to your Pinterest board’ pinnable image. I then create multiple variations of this pin, with different wording and alt text, and upload them directly to Pinterest using Tailwind to push them out slowly to many boards over the course of months. 

24. Add a call to action asking readers to share!

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with asking for that social share! Encouraging that share and saying how grateful you are is a great way to end a helpful post. It doesn’t always occur to people that it makes a huge different to share or comment on our content. On my service biz site, I normally say ‘if you found this post helpful, please leave a comment below and share so your friends can read it, too – thanks for spreading the love!’. And, well, I guess this goes here too 😉

Want to know what I missed out on when I started my local SEO journey? Check out my post linked below!

READ MORE  11 things I wish I’d known about local SEO when I started my small business

And there you have it! I know that was a lot, but hopefully helps you on your journey to creating  awesome, shareable content that really connects with your local audience . See you in the comments!

How to create blog content in your small business – the people want to share! As small business owners we tend to focus on SEO for driving traffic to our sites. But what if your users did that for you? In this in-depth guide I take you through 24 actionable tips for creating blog content as a local business owner that your users share, because it's local, personal and appeals to their values. Learn how to uplevel your shareable content game! |  #localseo #seo | zoelarkin.com
How to create blog content for your small biz – that people want to share! | zoelarkin.com
24 actionable tips for creating shareable blog content for your local business | Creating blog content as a local business owner is a valuable skill! Making content that practically shares itself, even more so. Sharing content allows for brand name recognition to continue in your local community and further afield. Great content allows you to demonstrate your value, and sharing adds even more social proof. Get my 24 tips today! #localseo #seo | zoelarkin.com
24 actionable tips for creating shareable blog content for your local business | zoelarkin.com
Zoe Larkin
Zoe Larkin

I’m Zoe, a wedding photographer based in San Francisco! I also help fellow wedding photographers attract their dream clients with actionable SEO & digital marketing strategies. When I’m not shooting weddings, creating content is my passion! Follow along the blog, Insta and my new YouTube channel for photographers! 

24 actionable tips for creating shareable blog content for your local business - beastlocal.com

24 actionable tips for creating shareable blog content for your small business

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