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Economic development blogging an ultimate guide

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A free guide for economic developers to boost web presence of their location.

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Economic development blogging an ultimate guide

  1. 1. [NOTE] These slides are designed not to present but to read as a document. Switch to Fullscreen View, please!
  2. 2. I don’t like to start with definition but … When I say ‘economic development’ I understand: attracting new businesses to our location. In Europe, we call it normally ‘investment promotion’ or ‘location marketing’, and economic development has a wider meaning. On these slides we will study economic development blogging as a social media marketing strategy for investment destinations.
  3. 3. Corporate site selection is not a simple job. Every growing company has to find new locations and sites to do business, but the dedicated members of a site selection team have no easy job. Why? Site selectors are corporate professionals, they know nothing about competing investment destinations and probably do site selection once and last in their lifetime. Maybe they have professional site selection consultant, maybe not. Anyway, they have to collect information about 10-20 locations, have to analyze and rank them and have to make a final presentation - and show it to the board of the company. During this process, they will love any help from you. Instead of producing expensive, printed place branding materials, try to support site selectors online. Economic development blogging means information sharing about your destination’s business environment, based on your location expertise. This short material shows you how to support site selection process with blogging - and acquire site selection (FDI) projects at the same time.
  4. 4. OK, but why is it good for your location? Before we go deeper ahead in economic development blogging, a basic question: what are the benefits for your community? That's clear: you cannot attract new companies into your location, based on blogging only. But there are some pretty strong benefits of economic development blogging which worth time and effort: ● Highlight yourself - during your site selection support, you can involve your location strength into your analysis, and you can highlight yourself. This kind of strength-based involvement help you to land on the long list of site selectors - and this is the goal of economic development blogging. ● SEO, media presence - on the internet, "content is king", search engines like Google will appreciate your content writing efforts, and will improve your search engine ranking. But your overall media presence will be much better, e.g. one of my economic development blog posts was cited by the offline magazine of AmCham Hungary. ● Increase reputation - finally, your team reputation as a location and a destination expert will be much higher. I took part on more site selection negotiations based on my content marketing about Hungarian locations (and managed the building of fancy factories in the competing locations - but this is another story about site selection...)
  5. 5. What about costs? Maybe this is the best part of economic development blogging: practically it has no costs. Economic development bloggers have to be your staff who are involved in site selection assistance. Your economic development staff knows much much more about your location (and about competing locations) than ad-hoc corporate site selectors, and blogging can be based on your staff’s experience and location expertise. Working time ‘cost’ is also minimal: 4 blog post per month is a good goal, and 1 blog post can be produced in 1 working day, so if your blogging team involves 4 economic developers, everybody has to ‘invest’ 1 day per month into blogging. Since content creation has working time ‘cost’ only, the IT costs are also minimal or even more zero (see the slide later about Blogger vs Wordpress). Content delivery is also free of charge: you have to share blog posts in the targeted industrial groups of social media like LinkedIn, and the visibility on Google search result page is also free of charge.
  6. 6. My 2017 revelations I realized, I invented the warm water. Economic development blogging exists since decades: it’s called local economic magazine publishing. City, county, regional and state governments - first of all in the U.S - sponsor offline and online periodic content about their locations. These economic development magazines and business journals try to highlight the sponsoring locations. My approach to economic development publishing differs a bit. I say you should not sponsor but own a business journal. And I guess you should not produce offline papers, but focus on online content. But, at the end of the day, you should start your online [your location] Business Journal, as your new economic development blog.
  7. 7. How to write an economic development blog which worth time and effort? ● first of all: your blog is not the place for your self promotion: your victory reports don’t sell your location. Remember: site selectors seek useful location data, not PR stuff. ● industry focus: your economic development blog should focus on target industries just like your investment promotion activities. If your location is strong in IT, global business services industry and big pharma, your blog also has to talk to these industries. My economic development blog, Manufacturing Hungary Blog focuses on food processing, electronics and automotive industries. ● be honest: write about your location and about your competing locations honestly. It’s much harder than to publish your PR bullshit, but site selection teams will love it. ● and finally: a good economic development blog consists good blog posts. Let's take a look at it.
  8. 8. You cannot underestimate the importance of a blog post title. Your title is the advertisement of your content, it sells the following stuff. Most readers look at your title only and decide to keep reading or not - so it's a "make it or break it" element of your blog post. There are some rules how to write great titles: ● Focus on the benefits provided by your location: instead describing your location, talk about the "user's benefits". E.g, if you blog about Jamaica Logistics Hub, instead using a title like "50 feet harbor closed to the extended Panama Canal" write "All cross ocean ships can be hosted in near-Panama Canal port". ● Make it shortly. People just scan title tags, so don't write a novel. Use 10 words maximum. ● Involve keywords. You write not just for your readers (prospects) but also for search engines like Google. And via Google, people can find your blog using keywords related to your destination. Staying by the Jamaica example, keywords like Panama Canal, logistics etc can be important for search engine optimization. To find good keywords and word combos, visit Google Trends. ● Provoke! Honestly said, I tried out many types of titles, and after the smart, benefit oriented, short, keyword-involving title tags I realized: provoking titles works. The direct goal of title is "click-through", make readers click on it when read it in LinkedIn groups, google target lists etc. Provoking title promises something surprising and new, so don't forget to deliver surprise and news in your body text. #1 Provoke with your title
  9. 9. #2 Add some information in your first paragraph In your first paragraph/sentence, provide some explanation to your title. Write about more "user's benefit", use forther keywords, or simply keep provoking. The goal of this first paragraph (we can call it subtitle if you want) is to reconfirm readers: to read our blog post was a good decision.
  10. 10. #3 Use a large image/infographics related to your title Images worth 1000 words, the old rule of internet. Try to find an impressive image which presents what you are talking about. One of my most successful economic development blog post compared the Chinese labour costs to the Eastern European labor costs. I created a map for this blog post: I illustrated the Eastern European regional labour costs in the percent of Shenzen’s (Mainland China) labor cost (see on the right). It was so strong (provoking and data-driven), that my blog post was shared in several times in several LinkedIn manufacturing groups - and my blog was banned in China. What a great result.
  11. 11. #4 Body text: data-driven storytelling It's easy to be provoking: just share your politically incorrect opinion about a hot topic. To be factual and the same time provoking, it's much more difficult. The bad news: nobody, especially your prospects are not curious about your opinion and your pushing marketing speech. Your prospects are interested in exciting and useful data. I cannot overstress: you have to provoke with rock-solid numbers. Some extra rules: ● Specific topics. Don't tell everything in a single blog post, focus on the specific, target industry related feature of your location. Finding topics is a kind of art, so follow your instincts. ● Concentric: Start with the bigger picture (e.g Eastern Europe, the investment destination) and go ahead to your location (Hungary). ● Short: write a A4 equal text only.
  12. 12. #5 Background video People prefer to view videos than to read the same information (somewhere I've seen a nice infographich about it). On the top of that: Google loves embedded videos (especially: embedded YouTube videos), and ranks your post much higher with a video. The background video provides background information to your blog post, and makes it a 21th century multi-media channel. Choose a short, maximum 10 minutes (even more: 5 minutes) video. What if you simply don't find any related, interesting and useful material on YouTube? The back-up plan: find and embed a SlideShare.Net presentation.
  13. 13. #6 Call-to-action At the end of your blog post tell your reader what to do if he/she liked/ was agree with your statements. Calls to action can be ● Visit your "sales site" - a website where you are talking about a logistic park in your location, or your EDO’s site selector page. ● Subscribe to your blog updates ● Leave a comment after the blog post, or contact you privately The goal of call-to-action is reaching a response from reader - as a blogger you should support site selectors' job, so be happy to answer prospects' questions.
  14. 14. Refine Would your target audience pay for your content? A final secret of business blogging: refine your blog post until you feel, your prospects would pay for it. Naturally, it's free of charge, but when you treat your blog post as a product which has to be sold, you will avoid the pushing marketing bullshit.
  15. 15. Blogger vs. WordPress OK, you know the fundamentals, but how to start blogging? First of all: choose a free blog platform. I prefer Blogger, because of a strange reason: you can customize your blog’s width in Blogger Template Designer. It’s critical because you can embed extra large (600-800 px wide) images into your posts - and remember, an impressive picture worths 1000 of words. When you created your blog, buy an own URL like yourdestination.com (for 10-12 USD per year, inside your blog platform). Before you start to blog, try to find blogging partners, who can help you to create site selection supporting content. Local labour agencies, business parks, associations, but also professional content creators can be a good choice.
  16. 16. About My name is Dr. Balazs Csorjan. I’m dealing with investment promotion since 2002, as a colleague of the Hungarian national investment promotion agency and later as an independent investment promotion specialist, taking part in 350+ site selection projects. On my blog you can learn about city/regional-level investment promotion, economic development blogging, slidesharing and YouTube channel practices.
  17. 17. Thnx a lot! It may be a general and short overview of the topic. Email your focused question to csorjan @ businessparkinstitute.com and I try to answer it.

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