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The Buy Local Movement has had a major impact on the food industry. According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014, and they predict that number will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019.
What does that mean for food bloggers? Opportunity.
While blogging gives you the opportunity to reach a global audience, it can be difficult to gain enough recognition to make that happen. After all, you’re in competition with every other food blogger around the world.
But what if you targeted a smaller, local audience rather than the larger, global audience? It may seem counter-intuitive, but focusing on a local audience in the early stages of your food blog can help you build a firm foundation of fans. From there, you can expand your reach much more rapidly.
Try these tactics to capitalize on the Buy Local Movement and build your local audience.
- They taste better.
- They’re often cheaper.
- It’s better for the environment.
- You’re supporting your local farmers.
- It puts you in sync with your local readers.
By focusing your recipes and posts on more local goods, you’re encouraging pride of place. This will be rewarded by those in your community who are eager to see (and share) local treasures.
While most superstores now carry locally sourced produce, look into the more old-fashioned distributors like green grocers and farmers markets. In some areas, you can even drive out to nearby farms and buy produce, cheese, and other goodies directly from the grower.
Just take a minute to consider the possibilities. Why not use your phone to conduct a quick, informal interview with your local butcher or dairy farmer and post it on your site? Or invite some friends over for a tasting of local wines and cheeses and turn it into a podcast? While you may struggle to compete for authority and audience loyalty at a national level, going local can make you the local authority on all things food.
You can be sure that those local vendors will be happy to share your posts on social media because, like you, they’re after new fans, too. And when you decide you’re ready to start your direct advertising campaign, you may find them more open to purchasing space on your site if they know that you’re targeting the same audience they are.
Social media and search engines both allow bloggers and other online businesses to promote their sites locally, but I’m asking you to think beyond that. I’m asking you to consider getting out there into your community and promoting your site and yourself.
Look into local groups who might be interested in an expert speaker – your neighborhood library is a great place to start for this. Create a postcard with information about your blog’s local efforts and leave them in coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. Write for your town’s newspaper, and be sure to provide information about your blog in your bio.
Building a strong local following could very well be the ticket to success in a more global society. That farmer may have a sister in Oregon and a best friend in England. That popular shop owner could be so thrilled to see her town represented that she’ll share your posts with all 936 of her Facebook friends. Starting small could well be the new thinking big.
If you’ve just started your food blog or you haven’t seen the growth that you’d hoped for, consider narrowing your your audience. Yes, it’s counter-intuitive. How could pursuing a smaller audience