When online reach is so global, how do we write thought leadership to connect with a regional audience?
I hear this question with some frequency and my first answer, in short, is a nudge to re-imagine your online audience: all readers are actually regional.
By that I mean: all readers are located in a specific place and many of them care to know, for example, the rules of operating a business or living a life in a specific city, state, country, or region.
With this in mind, regionally-focused content — content that addresses location-specific issues and makes it clear that it does so in its title — can reach its intended audience online. (More on the importance of your titles below.) It's often as simple as that.
Pickup in Regional Media
Editors, reporters, and writers tasked with making sense of issues for their local readers count on law firm thought leadership to get the job done. Examples:
- Florida-based morning radio show 98.5 KTK recently published a short piece on its news website, How The New Payroll Tax Deferral Might Affect You. Source of their article: analysis on the subject by two Lowndes attorneys. Published August 10 on JD Supra, the article was referenced on the morning radio news site two days later.
- An op-ed piece on fossil fuels and clean energy published in the Des Moines Register referenced/linked to a related Locke Lord post published on JD Supra earlier this year.
Both examples above show regional media attention given to national issues. Often the topic and the audience are both regional, a perfect match. Two examples:
- A recent story in Cal Matters about Uber and Lyft's ongoing legal wrangling around AB5 and gig economy rules in California referenced/linked to related analysis of this CA-specific issue published last year on JD Supra by Manatt.
- News coverage by the Canadian Medical Association Journal of drug shortages in Canada during COVID-19 referenced/linked to a related post published by Canadian law firm Smart & Biggar early in the pandemic.
Attention from Regional Associations & Member Organizations
At JD Supra we also monitor a significant amount of regional attention of client thought leadership coming from associations and member organizations. For example:
- In the height of COVID-19, the Upstate Capital Association of New York (a financial services org based in Highland, NY) shared a Bond, Schoeneck, & King FAQ on New York travel restrictions with its 1,000 followers on LinkedIn.
- Earlier this week the European Data Protection Office (EDPO) shared a Fox Rothschild update on data processing and related rules in Germany with it's 16,000 followers. (A quick scan of the over 100 likes of this post, publicly available on LinkedIn, will show you just how regionally specific and targeted this sort of share can be.)
- A local code enforcement supervisor for Garden Grove, California, shared on LinkedIn a Holland & Knight update about latest legal arguments around an ordinance limiting Airbnb in Santa Monica, CA.
The tip of the regional iceberg.
Takeaway: Highlight Your Regional Focus in Every Title
Some issues have such pressing regional significance, an audience will likely find them no matter what (for example, see the language of this share by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association on LinkedIn, pictured at the start of this post, above).
However, as a best practice, I suggest that you speak directly to your intended regional audience in your title(s).
Here are three regionally-specific posts included in this month's Popular Reads list, just published by JD Supra editors:
- Louisiana to Require Virtual Currency Business License- by Sarah Edwards at McGlinchey Stafford
- Update on biosimilars in Canada – August 2020 - by Urszula Wojtyra at Smart & Biggar
- Regulation of Artificial Intelligence in Europe and Japan - by David Albagli, Toshio Dokei, Tim Hickman, and Arthur Mitchell at White & Case
As you write and publish thought leadership and guidance for an audience in a specific location, be sure to explicitly call out that audience in your title — and continue this direct address in the post itself.
To whom are you speaking and what matters to this audience? Articulate the answers to these questions throughout your writing.
Online readers, facing daily streams of information and news from multiple sources, scan what is placed in front of them to see if it applies to them, speaks to their concerns and interests. Your title is your first impression. Make it count. Then keep at it...
Paul Ryplewski is VP of Client Services at JD Supra