Do you have a blog for your local business, or plan to start one for the new year? If so, you will need some great topics that will appeal both to your local audience and search engines. In this post, we'll look at some ways you can come up with blog topics your local audience (and search engines) will love.

Turn local headlines into blog posts

Start your day out by looking at your local newspapers and stations to see what the big stories are and what events are coming up. Then look for ways to adapt them to your business. For example, let's start with some headline stories from the Houston Chronicle website.

Here are a few local business types that could adapt these stories into a blog post.

  • A local driving school could write a blog post about the dangers of street racing, citing the article about the man killed after crashing his Corvette. The business could close the article by encouraging parents to get their teens to take a driving course.
  • A corner store shop could write a blog post about celebrating the holidays with some favorite treats to share with family, citing the article about the return of Blue Bell Peppermint Ice Cream and how they will have it in stock.
  • A local church could write about George Foreman's new path in life.
  • A self-defense training school could write a blog post about why women need to learn how to defend themselves, citing the article about the kidnapping suspect.

Turn local events into blog posts

Another great source of adaptable news is local events. Take the calendar of events from the site.

Here are a few local business types that could adapt these stories into a blog post.

  • Stores that sell sports fan gear can create blog posts related to upcoming games, like the Rockets vs the Lakers or the Texans vs the Patriots.
  • Local clothing stores can create blog posts about what to wear to concerts and events, like the Houston Symphony, Rob Thomas concert, and other events.

So be sure to follow headlines from your local newspapers and new stations as well as the upcoming events in your area from official .gov sites, chambers of commerce, and other sources. Then adapt them to fit your local business when possible in blog posts.

Localize general blog topics

There are dozens of great tools that will give you general topics to blog about. You can use any of these tools and localize the topics they give you to appeal to a local audience and optimize for local keywords.

Let's take Google AdWords Keyword Planner and an outdoor recreation store, for example. You can use it to come up with hundreds of great keyword phrases that are relevant to your products.

Then some keywords that are relevant to your products and your location.

And now, you can create blog post titles like

  • 6 Things Hikers Should Do In Houston
  • The Best Houston Parks And Lakes For Fishing
  • Here's What To Do In Houston If You Like Camping
  • How To Experience Houston's Outdoor Adventures

You don't want to localize every blog post title, but you do want to make sure you include your locality in the post content when possible. It could be as simple as having a title like 50 Essential Pieces of Camping Equipment You Need in Your Pack and an opening line like "Whether you have chosen one of Houston's most popular campgrounds or a more remote location, there are things that you should never camp without."

This localizes the content, letting local audiences know you aren't just talking about anyone in general, but people exactly like them.

Share local user generated content

If you're really stuck writing a blog post, let people in your area help by sharing local user generated content. Social media is full of public updates that can easily be embedded into your blog.

Using the outdoor recreation store example from earlier, you can utilize this approach by creating a weekly post about the previously weekend out at a nearby lake by looking up publicly shared photos and videos on social networks like Instagram that are tagged #lakehouston.

Or, let's say that you have a cleaning business and your area is flooded. Chances are, there are going to be photos and video of the flooding shared publicly on Instagram. The event may even have it's own hashtag like #houstonflood.

Assuming that it is an event that has not led to serious injuries or loss of life, you may be able to offer your services to those that have been affected. Include your offer in a blog post that reports on the events using the publicly-shared photos and videos you have found on social networks like Instagram.

When you find good updates, click on them, then click on the three dots at the bottom right of the update. This will lead you to the embed code to add it to your blog post.

The latter example effectively combines the local news headlines tactic mentioned earlier along with the use of user generated content from local audiences.

As you can see, there are lots of great ways to create local content that audiences would be interested in. Be sure to start looking at local headlines, events, localizable general topics, and user generated content to see what you can turn into a blog post today.