In the big cities is very easy to keep up-to-date with the local events.
There are countless magazines, news sources, flyers, meet ups, FB invites, flash organizations, and the like, to keep you in the know about what’s going on.
But when you start to get away from the cities you don’t see a whole lot of coverage of smaller events and it’s this void of coverage where you can step in, become a digital landlord, and make some good money – you get to carve out a niche in your home town.
Here’s how you can build up a local events & guide site for fun and profit:
Phase 1: Find Your Interest (and the Outliers)
There is surely something you enjoy around where you live that isn’t just work or going out to eat.
- Enjoy playing on a local sports team?
- Like going around and exploring the new food trucks?
- Regularly attend a crafts meet up and shows?
Then think of the outliers like:
- Classic car shows
- Tattoo meet ups
- Scuba diving
I would say to start with an activity that you find interesting. One that you’re active in whether it’s being a part of a local bicycling group or going out with friends to plant trees.
You may know someone that are deeply invested into one of the outlier activities, too. With your knowledge of the Web and their knowledge of the activity – the two of you could team up to create a great event & guide website.
Phase 2: Make the Contacts (and Get Networking)
People coming to your site are in need of two things:
- What are the upcoming events
- What are the best ways to experience the events (and area)
As I’ve mentioned there are plenty of news sources that cover a lot of this stuff but it all comes down to creating a unique selling point – something that makes your coverage special.
This is often done by:
- Really getting into the activity and becoming highly knowledgeable
- Talking with everyone (the little guy to the well-known)
- Taking pictures, videos, and interviews to produce engaging content
- Connecting with the insiders to get the juicy information before the news
Do as you normally would when building B2B or B2C contacts.
- Get to meet them at the events and meet ups
- Try hosting an event to bring them to you
- Sponsor an event to get on their radar
- Give them a phone call sometime (if you grabbed their card)
- Find them on social media and start up a conversation
You don’t have to know everyone in the scene – you just need to know enough of them that things can get a kick start and build momentum.
- Start making guides for the activity (ex. The 2014 Events List)
- Start creating galleries of the events (ex. July 4th Class Cars at NAME)
- Start creating swag items you can give out during an event (calendars, hats, pens, etc)
Start laying that groundwork by building connections and content that will make its way onto the site.
Interview as many people as you can during an event. If 10 show up and you get 5 then it means you’ve already got a good amount of content before the next event coverage. Rinse. Repeat.
Phase 3: Launch Time
I’m skipping over the process of building a WordPress site because we’ve covered it enough times (just use that link) – but what you’ll probably want that you haven’t used is an events theme.
There are many of them available: See a big list of them here.
The core areas you’ll need are:
- A page for each event including photos, interviews, and galleries
- An event stream/calendar
- A mailing list to keep people informed (along with social accounts)
- Feature pieces (about people, places, guides, etc)
- Contest section to pick weekly, monthly, or yearly winners in the area
Build the site how you imagine. Make it easy for people to find new events. Look into further details about the location and past events. Let them connect.
Phase 4: Monetization
Monetization shouldn’t be any bit difficult.
Why? Because many small businesses and individuals that would like to advertise generally don’t have the budgets to get in the local newspaper or run extensive online campaigns.
On your local site, however, you can hand them a multitude of options – such as:
- Being featured on the home page
- Advertising blocks for services
- A promote event to the newsletter
- Paid content for the blog
- Record and produce videos for events
It doesn’t stop there, either, because then you can think of the affiliate angle.
- Use affiliate links to items whenever it’s mentioned in an interview
- You could create a community top 10 recommendation (all of which include aff. Links)
- You could partner with other events and earn by selling their tickets
- Offer books, resourceful videos, and other items related to the interest
- Earn by referring hotels, vacation packages, and restaurants in your guides
Since the community is so close nit and passionate about what they do – almost every effort you put into the local site becomes a method to earn either directly or via affiliate.
Say you’re in a small town but there’s a solid collection of 1,000+ classic car enthusiasts. Even if you manage to get just 500 of them regularly contributing or coming to the site each month – it’s bound to grow because you know how to handle the SEO so it’ll reach a wider audience when talking about specific parts, cars, shows, fixes, and more.
The opportunity is out there and the best part is that you don’t have to worry and hassle when it comes to competing for some massive keyword that swings wildly with each new search algorithm change.