Leveraging the Long Tail for Local Links (A Real-Time Case Study)

There’s an untapped link-earning goldmine in your community. It’s the local long tail, and it’s a process of earning links by sifting through community papers to find content you can write about, and ultimately, rank for. Today, in a Social Media Camp exclusive, I’m going to show you how.

Search for topical content

Go through the day’s headlines searching for something related to your business. I’d recommend starting with one of the local Black Press papers.

Not to say you can’t provide editorial commentary for bigger papers like the Times Colonist, but effectively building links on the long tail requires a combination of great timing and opportunity. It’s less likely that you’ll be competing with someone to provide commentary on community news content. One example, found in today’s edition of the Victoria News has a headline that reads: B.C. liquor branch altered charity policy in June

Eureka! There’s one that’s got some legs! It has interest in the community, it has an air of controversy. It’s perfect for the opinion of a community influencer like you. And now that we’ve figured out what we want to talk about, it’s time for the next step.

Spin it

You need a special angle to the story, something that adds a touch of personalization, something that makes it yours. If you just rewrite the facts, it’s not likely to generate much interest.

Start with the inverted pyramid, a journalistic tool for writing stories. Define who, what, where, when, why and how and use that to create the meat of your story.

Here’s an example headline and abstract to get you started.

LCLB’s Altered Charity Policy Hitting Hard, Hurting Local Charities

It’s not uncommon to see donated bottles of wine and spirits used to raise funds for charity, that was until a policy change in June, 2012, when the LCLB started shutting down events for doing the same thing they’ve been doing for years. The sad thing is, it’s not just the events that suffer, but the charities that rely on those funds to keep operating.

The key to getting links and mentions is to act quickly. News fades fast, so you need to have your article written and published by mid day to catch the crest of any public opinion wave. Once you’ve created the content, you need to market it. The best place to do that is on Twitter.


Use hashtags for your content, local and topical. Look for other people who are talking about the article on social media and connect with them, then invite them to read your piece. Publish it on your brand page and your personal profile on Facebook.

It’s not unusual for newspapers to publish Twitter feeds with local hashtags. The idea is that you want people to talk about your content throughout the day by gaining RTs and Mts, people reading the original article are more likely to find you and mention you.

Do this once a week, you’ll build a loyal following in the community and become an influencer in no time!

Sean Enns

Sean Enns is a marketing professional who started in marketing and sales in 1997. In 2004, he began his career in search engine optimization and corporate communications.

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