(Note: The following editorial criteria is only being implemented temporarily until Localism is made open to public membership. At that time, a new revised criteria will be provided)
Since the newly revamped Localism was released, and is becoming fully functional, our editorial staff has been busy reviewing and approving articles that our members have written and categorized "For Consumers" and further geo-targeted for specific State, County, City, and Community locations.
One of the main complaints that we've fielded from our members since the early beginnings of Localism has been a concern over the amount of sub-standard or poor quality content that has been published to Localism. This content not only bears a poor reflection on our Network as a whole, but doesn't aide in attracting consumer readership or encourage their involvement in the conversations. Reviewing and approving content is a response to a majority opinion of our members, and will help to ensure better quality of content on Localism.
Initially, when the new Localism was launched, we were reviewing your articles first, and then, if they were approved, they would show up on the relevant community, City, County, or State pages. If the post wasn't approved, it would become part of your archive that shows up on your Localism blog profile.
As of just recently, your posts will now be automatically and immediately published to Localism. They will remain on the relevant geo-target page until such a time as the editors can review and approve it. If it is not approved, it will continue to show up on your Localism blog profile.
So this now begs the question, what constitutes 'approved' content for Localism? What specifically are the editors looking for to help form their decisions?
ActiveRain Co-Founder & CEO, Jonathan Washburn, shared some initial insights in the official Localism Q&A post:
"We are still establishing a written set of guidelines. Right now I am instructing the editors to accept posts that they would find interesting and valuable if they were looking for information on that particular area. It is important to note that the more granular the post is tagged the less picky the editors are. For example, a marginal quality post will likely be accepted on a Community blog, but a very good post may not make the cut for the state blog page. To have a state level post accepted, it needs to be exceptional."
Jonathan also shared some helpful tips in "10 Steps to Localism Success."
Initially, we're asking our members to focus their writing on content that isn't specifically 'real estate related.' Our goal in the first phase is to attract consumer readership/participation (neighbors & residents of our communities). In order to achieve this goal, we need to have a wider variety of topics. There will be a separate link/tab on each Community Page to direct people to real estate specific posts, such as Listings, Market Reports, etc..
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With those things in mind, allow me to expand things further. Let's take care of some of the technical aspects first:
1) Spell Korecklee: Use the Spell Check function. It's working now, thanks to our resident stud, Jorgen. If we claim to be professionals, we need to convey ourselves as such.
2) A Blog is NOT a BILLBOARD: A blog post is not an ad. While some aspects of your post will naturally be self-promotional in nature, that doesn't mean that your entire article should read like one massive billboard touting how awesome you are, and plastered with every conceivable means of contacting you, along with a link to every website and web-page you own. Less is more.
3) People Like Pictures: It's a proven fact - good relevant graphics/pictures improve/enhance blog readership. Take your digital camera with you wherever you go. Take your own good local photos and you'll never have to be concerned about copyright infringement.
4) Aim for the Bullseye: Be as specific or niche-oriented with your geo-targeting as possible. By that, I mean, post your article to the most narrow and specific location, as applicable. It will be much easier to have an article approved for Poinciana, than it will be for the whole State of Florida.
5) Use Your Own Voice: Don't 'Copy & Paste.' There are no 'quick' & 'easy' shortcuts to effective blogging.
Now for the more 'creative' aspects (think 'DO-BEE's of Effective Local Content Blogging):
1) BE YOURSELF: It's not rocket science. Sometimes we have a tendency to over-think these things. Most importantly, be yourself. That is one of the foundational aspects of conversational blogging - to convey your own unique personality, perspective, and passions. Your readers want to know who and what you are; what makes you tick; how you conduct your business. Allow 'YOU' to always come through in your writing.
2) BE 'CONSUMER-CENTRIC:' Don't talk all about yourself. Share information/resources that consumers will find helpful, interesting, and valuable. Put yourself in the consumer's shoes. What would attract them to your post? What would they find most engaging?
3) BE 'LOCAL MINDED:' Remember to stay focused on relevant local information, news, events, points/places of interest, etc. Think Little League, church happenings, interview local leaders, fund raising events, profiles of everyday people, neighborhood merchants & business owners, garage sales, local politics, school activities/sports, local neighborhood flavor & ambiance.
4) BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR: Find meaningful ways of giving back to the community, i.e. volunteer work, charity functions, fund-raising, etc., and then blog about it
In a nutshell, our editors are going to be reviewing your articles through the eyes of the consumer. They'll be looking for articles that:
- capture the consumer's interests
- are aesthetic (well constructed & formatted)
- read well (convey thoughts intelligently)
- reveal the writer's personality
- provide value to the reader (relevant local information)
By incorporating these aspects into your hyper-local blogging efforts, you'll generate good local content, attract greater readership to your blog, and improve your chances of having your posts approved.