Looking for the fast lane to blogging success? Want to join the upper echelons of blogging stardom at the top end of town, and be dazzled by the bright lights of the big city?
If you’re exhausted from chasing all the shiny things and trying to keep up with the Kardashians, I’d like you to consider getting out of the blogging rat race for a while. Take a break from trying to network with all the flashy influencers in your niche, and check out your small town country cousin bloggers instead. You’ll be surprised at the benefits.
Don’t believe me? Here are five blogging lessons you can learn from a small country town.
Everyone says hello to you in the street
It can take a long time to run errands in a small town because you’re constantly bumping into people you know. Whether it’s a short conversation, a hello, the tip of the hat or a raise of the eyebrows (it’s a Kiwi thing), people acknowledge each other in small towns.
So next time you ‘bump’ into another blogger commenting on someone’s blog or social media post, say hello. Don’t just comment back to the host. Start a conversation with the other people at the party. It builds a wonderful feeling of community. And people love being acknowledged.
Everyone knows everyone else’s business
Not only does everyone know everyone else in a small town, they usually know their business too. Now I’m not suggesting you become the town gossip. Instead, think about a local business owner and how important it is for them to know their customers. During the off-season, when there’s a limited amount of foot traffic, they survive or die by local customer loyalty. So they get to know you and anticipate your needs.
As a blogger, make an effort to get to know your readers. Survey them. Have conversations with them in the comments. If they’re also a blogger, go and see what’s going on in their patch of town. The better you know your audience, the more you can engage them and build a feeling of community.
Support other businesses
Similarly, small-town businesses need local support. And so the businesses all support each other. Some of the strongest business associations and Chambers of Commerce are in small towns. They collaborate to create opportunities and events for their town. In fact, one of my first jobs was to create and manage a festival for my small home town to encourage more visitors in the shoulder season.
What does this look like for you as a blogger? Support other bloggers. Visit their blogs. Read and comment on their posts. Share opportunities with them. And invite them to events or recommend them to brands you know would suit them.
As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. So find a group of like-minded bloggers and grow together. Whether it’s in a mastermind, a Facebook group or a regular meet up, help each other survive and thrive.
Serve only what the town needs
A small population is a tough crowd for a small business. You have to be careful about what you offer, or your business will end up one of those boarded-over shopfronts at the daggy end of town. In the past few days I’ve driven through countless small towns in the rural back blocks of three Australian states. It’s not BMW or Tesla Dealerships taking up real estate. It’s tractors (for the farmers) and motorhomes (for the retired farmers).
Find your niche and serve it well – especially if your niche is a demographic rather than a topic. It’s a balancing act between being a population of one (you as your ideal audience) and trying to please everyone.
A sense of town pride and identity
Australia seems to be obsessed with attaching town identity to ‘Big’ things – The Big Banana, The Big Pineapple, The Big (and quite frankly, scary) Koala. I even drove through a small town that prided itself on being the home of The Dish, a big radio telescope.
My point is that small towns take pride in themselves and establish their identity. And you can do the same with your blog. It may still be one small blog in a sea of other small blogs. But you can take pride in how your blog looks, and use your branding to make it stand out.
My first blog was a black and yellow beacon in a flood of pretty pastel sites. Sure, I would have liked a pretty blog too. But my blog was about being a ‘crash test mummy’, and so black and yellow it was. And did people remember my blog? Yes, they did.
That’s just five blogging lessons you can learn from small country towns. And there are bound to be plenty more. For example, what’s the blogging equivalent of knocking on the new neighbour’s door with a welcome basket?
Image credit: Jinen Shah