On the day that your State is available for sponsorship, here is how you will go about claiming your communities/cities.
Step #1 - Login on Localism.com
In order to log in to Localism.com you will go to Localism and then navigate to any state, county, city or community page. You can do this by clicking on a featured city or community or by typing in your state/county/city/community into the search box. Once on a page other than the home page, you will see the 'Log in' link on the top right. You can also go directly to https://localism.com/login
Once you get to the log in page, you will log in with the same user name and password that use to log in on ActiveRain. IMPORTANT: If you use an upper case letter on your ActiveRain user name when you log in, DO NOT use any caps when logging in to Localism. LOCALISM USER NAMES ARE IN ALL LOWER CASE.
Once you are logged in, you will see your picture in the top right hand corner and you will know you are logged in.
Step #2 - Enter the 'Sponsor a community' area
After you are log in, you will be redirected back to the page that you were on when you clicked the 'Log in' link. From there, you will look back up the top right hand corner of the screen and find the 'Sponsor a community' link.
You can also access the sponsor a community area directly by typing in https://localism.com/sponsor after you are logged in.
Step #3 - Drill down on the area you want to sponsor
When you enter the sponsorship screen, you will see a map and three drop down menus. The Map will show you what states are currently available. The first drop down menu is the state level, then the county level, then the city level.
Start by selecting your state from the drop down menu (give it a second or two to load your list of counties), then select your county from the drop down menu. Once you have selected your county, you will see a list of cities appear on the right hand side of the screen.
If you are able to directly sponsor your city. It will say 'claim' next to it. If your city is over the 40,000 population mark according to US Census daya (as outlined here) it will say 'not available', at which point you will need to select it directly from the drop down menu in order to sponsor communities within that city.
Step #4 - Pick your City or Community
Depending on if you intend on sponsoring a city (if you are able to sponsor it directly) or a community will dictate how many of the drop down menus you will need to use in order to get your area to come up on the right hand side. If you can sponsor your city directly, you will simply click the claim button next to the city. Once you click the 'claim' button, the button will turn yellow and now read 'pending'. At the same time, that city will be added to your 'checkout' cart. (in the example, I have claimed 3 cities and they all appear in my 'checkout' cart)
At this point, if you wanted to jump into a particular city and claim communities, you would just select the city from the drop down menu. The cities you have previously selected will remain in your 'checkout' cart. This is IMPORTANT!! You can jump around in the interface and select cities or communities in any area by simply selecting the appropriate drop down menus and maintain whatever you have previously selected from other counties or cities.
**IMPORTANT: Just because the city/community is pending, does not mean you have secured that city/community**
(Please see "Step #6 - Strategy" below for a more detailed description of securing your cities/communities)
Step #5 - Checkout and secure your city/community
Once you have selected the cities and/or communities that you are interested in, you will proceed to the checkout portion, contained on the same page.
At this point, you will enter your payment information and click 'Buy now'. Once the next screen loads, you will have secured the areas you were interested in and be redirected into the 'my account' screen. This screen will have a 'Billing history', your stored 'Account information' and a list of 'Account services' which lists the particular cities/communities you have sponsored.
Now you can click the 'sponsor a community' link at the top right of the screen to go back into the sponsorship interface. You can also begin writing your descriptions by clicking on the 'write a region description' on the right hand side of the screen under 'Sponsored Communities'. I will be writing a more detailed tutorial on writing descriptions shortly and will link to it when it's complete.
Step #6 - Strategy
At the point that you have selected the cities/communities that you are attempting to sponsor but prior to checking out, the button next to those cities will be yellow and say 'pending'. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE SECURED THEM. Once you complete filling in your payment info and click the 'buy now' button you will have secured them.
So.......what happens if you spend ten minutes selecting your areas, have amassed 20 cities/communities and go to check out and someone else was quicker than you, selected only two cities/communities, but they were the two of the same selections you had made, took two minutes and hit the 'buy now' button and checked out? They will have secured those two cities/communities. When you go to check out, you will secure 18 of the 20 you wanted. The other two would go to the other person because they checked out first.
This is where the strategy comes in. I would suggest that you consider what are the most vital cities/communities to you and be prepared to secure those areas quickly, then come back and secure additional areas. The more time you spend before you checkout, the higher probability that someone else could potentially secure a city/community you were interested in.
The second time you come back to make selections, your billing information will have been saved and you will be able to checkout much quicker.
Step #7 - Practice
Right now, you can go to Localism.com and test to make sure you can log in. You can also go the 'sponsor a community' link and play around. Even though Washington is the only state, you can get comfortable with the interface. You can even select some cities/communities to see how that process works. You can select a few, then jump to a different County/city and select a few from there. This will give you a good understanding of what to expect the day your state is available. As long as you don't enter your credit card info, and hit the 'buy now' button, you will be just fine practicing.