Last week, we talked about where to find the people who can promote your town online. These are people who already love your town, and are already active online. Now that you have a list of your potential online champions, what can you do with them?
|My friend Scott Townsend is|
a fan and Online Champion
of Pop’s 66 in Arcadia, OK.
The first step is to do some things FOR them.
- Get to know them.
- Connect with them.
- Promote their work.
Get to know your Online Champions.
You want to get to know them and their “beat”: what do they write about? If they are bloggers, what are their topics? For photographers, what types of things are they looking for? For Facebook mavens, what are their interests?
Blasting press releases will not work. They don’t respond because it seems so rude. A press release blast is not a personal conversation, and online is definitely a personal conversation. So please, please, please do not add your online champions to an email list for press releases.
Reach out individually, with customized notes on special events and big promotions. That is what does work.
Connect with your Online Champions.
When you find an item online about your place, whether it is a photo, a story, or a Facebook posting, comment. Thank them for the mention. This is the most important thing you can do: comment. It shows interest in and respect for their work.
Support local gatherings, groups, and photowalks. Look around for local Social Media Clubs, Jelly, coworking, or any other gathering of online enthusiasts. Support their events and get-togethers. Attend yourself!
Promote your Online Champions’ local content.
When you find an item about your town online, link to it from Facebook or Twitter. In fact, get together a bunch of local content, and do a roundup and link to them from your newsletter or blog.
Once you’ve made some deposits in the relationship, you can ask for some things in return.
- Ask to use their photos and posts, and give them credit.
- Ask them to connect you to their network.
- Give them special access at events, so they can provide you with even more great online coverage.
- Invite them to weigh in on firestorms (use sparingly).
Your locals and fans can be powerful and loyal champions. The more you treat them with respect as part of an ongoing relationship, the more you’ll get back in online coverage, support and ideas.
Sheila Scarborough and I did an hour-long webinar on finding your town’s existing online champions as well as how to cultivate new online champions. It is available at Tourism Currents: Finding Your Online Champions.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.