Some bloggers specialize in promoting local businesses (like IBA Member Felicia from Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley). But most of us think of larger national or regional businesses when we think of sponsors, promotional products and other business relationships for our blogs.
Last year I realized that local small businesses are a vast untapped resource for bloggers.
Why didn’t I think of that?
I posted a photo of my Community Supported Agriculture delivery on Instagram and Facebook, raving about the delicious organic locally grown produce and I tagged the company. When the owner came to deliver my next box he asked if I would be interested in creating recipes and videos for them. Hello new revenue stream!
I haven’t switched my blog’s focus to local only, my audience is more widespread than that. But, perhaps I can work with the local olive oil company or the spice shop by making a recipe or two and promoting on social media for both our benefit.
The possibilities aren’t limited to food bloggers.
A mom blogger was planning a trip to another state, she contacted a bus tour company in the area and offered to post live on social media while on the tour in exchange for a free tour for her family. Win Win.
Mom bloggers could offer to write blog and social media posts about a trampoline park or U-Pick it Farm.
Lifestyle bloggers could work with a local spa discussing facial treatments or massages.
Craft bloggers could create items for a charity sale or auction attaching a business card promoting their blog then write a tutorial about it for their blog.
Home bloggers could post an interview with an HVAC company about the benefits of a smart thermostat in exchange for a discount on installation.
Fitness bloggers could write guest posts on fitness topics for a local gym to use on their website or as a newsletter.
Potential Challenges When Working with Small Businesses
While there are fewer blogs competing for local businesses promotional dollars, there are still a few challenges. Many will have limited budgets and will not easily understand why they should spend them on you instead of in more traditional forms of advertising.
You will likely be contacting the owner directly and not some low level marketing flunky as you would with a large company. This is their “baby”. Get to know their business before hand by visiting their location personally or at least make a thorough scan of their website. Make a personalized pitch that puts their business needs first (important when pitching any business, but critical for small businesses).
Consider barter for payment instead of cash. While you don’t want to sell your services short, some small business owners may be more comfortable with paying in product. $50 locally grown organic vegetables is $50 less produce I need to buy at the store, plus it is better quality.
Related Posts That May Help You Get Started
What do you think? Are there local companies or charities you could work with to create a win win for both of you? Maybe you already do and have other ideas to share with your fellow bloggers. Share in the comments below to help out your fellow IBA Members.