Note: This is a guest post from Michael Fielding, who contacted us after reading the Ultimate Guide to Local Engagement, wondering if the same tactics worked in the UK. Garrett and I told him that we weren’t familiar enough with British culture to say for sure, but that we felt that the spirit of our post remains true everywhere, even if individual tactics vary by culture. In response, Michael wrote a post on Citation Labs local engagement tactics from the UK perspective.
This is a great read for anyone intrigued by cultural differences. While the variances across big ponds are easier to spot, they’re often just as prevalent from city to city.
On a number of occasions in the past, I’ve found myself wanting so much more from my client’s local link building. I’d become frustrated with small returns and move onto other means of engagement on a more national scale.
But recently, I came across Garrett’s Ultimate Guide to Local Engagement and realised that I’d left so many stones unturned, a whole mountainous gorge full, even!
However, there was one small problem…
Garrett’s prospects and areas of engagement are solely collected for the US market (how selfish, I know!). Don’t get me wrong, ideas Garrett shared are also relevant to the UK, although to varied degrees. Therefore, I’ve put together some of the ideas Garrett mentioned, with a twist, including some ideas of what to look for as UK alternates.
In the UK, the idea of a scholarship is rather unheard of, often regarded as a stereotypical American high school achievement in some corny movie to pursue their dream as a major NFL star (not that I’ve ever seen High School Musical). Anyway!.. The point I’m trying to make is that, a scholarship is not as well sought after in the UK, as it may be over the other side of the pond and certainly not as a scalable link building tactic.
Thinking in a UK frame of mind, twisting my imaginary moustache, dressed entirely in tweed with a cup of tea in hand, the closest related avenue that I could suggest that a UK audience target would be apprenticeship schemes.
Apprenticeships in the UK have been an increasingly popular choice for young people for a number of years now, due to the sheer difficulty of finding a worthwhile job which can then become a career, straight out of high school. In terms of a link building tactic, it’s well known that apprenticeship opportunities in your local area can be found on local education blogs, job sites (which may demand a fee), your local chamber of commerce site, local online newspapers and even university magazines or dedicated pages which offer students advice on their next steps in education, which may be found in the form of links or resource pages.
The end of a 12 month apprenticeship scheme opens up the chance to show off that your business has gained new brilliant employees due to the scheme which may be picked up by local educational bloggers and “in the news” pages of local newspapers and most likely. The chamber of commerce through which the new employees originally attained their apprenticeship whowill be more than happy to shout about how successful they’d been in helping young people find jobs.
Local Bloggers/ Resource Pages
Based upon my personal experiences in sourcing local resource and links pages, I get the impression that the willingness for a webmaster in the UK to spend time curating a list of resources or a links page of some description appears to be in distinct short supply in comparison to the US market, especially when searching at a hyper local level.
Not only do curated resource pages appear to be in short supply throughout the UK market, there’s also a distinct lack of websites whose sole purpose to shout about local businesses is noticeable; whereas, when turning to US prospecting, I notice several quality sites willing to share business information and news from their location, even from within a relatively small area.
These factors could be put down to the sheer scale of the US compared to the UK or may come down to the fact that we generally think differently about marketing our businesses than they do in the US.
The fact of the matter is that it appears that relying solely on online community engagement is not sustainable and that the well is soon to run dry.
Local Events (UK)
As you may already know, events and social gatherings are likely to set off alarm bells within any link prospector’s mind (or at least they should) and not just because there’s likely to be free, handmade cupcakes readily available. It’s also down to the fact that events are likely to surface a truck load of PR opportunities for your business.
Now, what makes events and gatherings a great local PR opportunity is that these events happen in LOCAL areas, almost every weekend in fact! However, what I’m trying to get across here are the points in which Garrett lists and how they can be related to the UK prospecting space.
Think music festivals, celebrations, does your target town hold a very British street/ garden party in the summer months? (weather permitting). If you’ve just drawn a blank, try searching your local area TOWN X, followed by “what’s happening” or inurl:events calendar to find exactly what’s occurring in the local area throughout the year, allowing you to plan ahead. You can also visit your city’s .gov site to find events, as Manchester’s does here:
If you suddenly think back to that beer garden party in your local pub you went to in the summer, however blurry it may seem from all those apple ciders; you may recall a great opportunity to get your company’s name in front of local people. This could include paying for the appearance of a band at that beer garden party, setting up a stall for your car air freshener business at the North West Vintage Rally or even advertising in the Liverpool International Music Festival, formerly known as the Matthew Street Festival.
I’ve listed a couple of examples below of local events which occur across the UK as an example, although try and think hyper local like I have above; as it’s much more likely that competitors will miss out on these hyper local events, leaving you to reap the rewards.
- V Festival
- Creamfields Music Festival
- London Fashion Week
- Liverpool International Music Festival
- Manchester’s Gay Pride
Let’s wrap it up
To conclude, don’t limit yourself to suggestions made be experts like Garrett who’s in an entirely different postcode. Use your own mind and start searching your local area for the opportunities we’ve discussed and get local!
Michael works at Webrevolve, a digital agency based in Liverpool, England. With more than 5 years’ of industry experience, he has managed to adapt and improve his techniques to coincide with the many changes that have taken place throughout that time. He has also picked-up a number of useful tips and tricks of the trade from several industry experts along the way, which has allowed him to learn and channel that knowledge and deliver great results for a number of clients throughout the UK and US.