Seems like every week you discover another website that lists one of your local events, usually with some key piece of information wrong! And then there’s another directory listing your town, asking you to send them updated information monthly or yearly. And there’s the state tourism site, and the regional site, and your neighboring town has offered to trade event calendars…. How can you possibly ever keep all these up to date?
A Word About Keywords
Before you get started, you need to know your area’s keywords. Start with your town name, add in attractions, event names, and important tourism-related businesses. You’ll want that set of keywords to do monitoring online and other projects, so you might as well make a decent list now.
Find all the listings.
Do a simple search at Google, and another at Bing, looking for listings of your town and events. Bookmark all those listings.
Build a simple spreadsheet or database.
Include for each listing:
- Web Address / URL
- Type of info they are keeping on you. (You might want to make this a checklist format: events, lodging, food, etc.)
- How to do corrections and submissions. (Email? URL? Login? Be sure to record those logins.)
- Update schedule. (Probably annually when you do your calendar.)
As you run across other listings online throughout the year, add them to the spreadsheet. The work to maintain this list pays off in fewer inaccuracies online about you.
The Unexpected Upside
All these sites offer links back to your local destinations, and probably to your tourism site, too. Links are the currency of the web, and they make your sites more credible in the eyes of the search engines. Not to mention that these sites actually do generate some visitors. Just this week, a local tourism person told me a potential visitor called about an event, with incorrect dates found online.
- You could easily delegate much of this process to volunteers, interns, etc.
- You could also do your paper directories and publications the same way. That way, when you finish your annual calendar of events, you’ll know where all to send it to get it online.
What are you doing to keep all your local listing up to date?
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Joanne Steele says
This is so simple, so important and so overlooked in an age when visitor centers and small businesses are feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with the latest nose job on Facebook and all the new “hyper local” opportunities. I love the database idea. With that, a volunteer interested in doing something really helpful and important can tackle a job that will pay off big time over the course of a year.
Sandra Sims says
Great tips! The spreadsheet will be a big asset for the next event, especially if this is an annual event. It provides a record you can pass along if there is a management change.
I would also like to remind businesses or any group promoting an event to include the address of the event on all advertisements or promos! Twice in the past week I have seen ads for events that either omitted the location all together, or just stated the place name but not the address. (Like everyone in a small town is supposed to know where everything is.) On another note, I had a big laugh when I saw an ad that said, in effect, “where the xyz store used to be.”
Becky McCray says
Joanne, that is exactly the problem: we’re so busy with the new and the current, that we neglect the simple, yet effective.
Sandra, great point about addresses. All small towns have their own quirky way of giving directions, but that’s of little help to out-of-town visitors.
Hi Becky, great article! I recently blogged about how to find all your existing links – feel free to use the content from it to help your readers find all their online links. I know it can be challenging sometimes.
Here’s the link: http://www.localmagnet.ca/how-to-create-a-link-inventory/
Becky McCray says
Dana, thanks for sharing. Looking for links is another way to find some of the sites that are keeping info on your events.
Now, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work to keep up with these records, remember you’ll use this list every single year, and you’ll prevent a lot of phone calls and emails from confused visitors. Do the work of compiling it in chunks. Small steps can make any task less overwhelming.