How to Connect Brands to Cities Through Hyperlocal Content
Catríona Hughes is a content writer at Daily Hive.
The ways in which people are influenced by brands are constantly changing, but one thing is certain: consumers want answers. How will your product or service add value to their life? Are you asking them for a long-term investment in real estate, or suggesting they buy a smartwatch that they can’t exercise without? No matter what you’re selling, hyperlocal content can help you better connect your brand to a specific city.
Creating solid hyperlocal content requires understanding the locals themselves. This includes things like how they feel about their city, the places that intrigue them and the offbeat cafés and lesser-known restaurants they visit. I emigrated to Canada from Europe, so writing branded content for a new culture was a huge learning curve for me.
When people are living in a city their entire life, or even for a few years, their interest in reading about the most popular landmarks and sites in that city decreases. For that reason, it’s important to think beyond tourist interests. People want to know what amenities and unique businesses are near them and how they can access them.
Daily Hive’s branded content team works with local, national and international brands to create content for audiences in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. A high percentage of the campaigns I execute are customized to suit each city. Creating engaging hyperlocal content gives brands the opportunity to form a trust-based relationship with readers.
Connecting Brands to Cities
Upon initial consideration, you might find it tough to draw a connection between the product you’re marketing and the city it’s speaking to. Content consumers don’t enjoy being sucked into an obvious advertisement, which is why it’s vital to create relatable content. For example, Starbucks ran a campaign with Daily Hive following the launch of their bottled cold brew coffee. Our branded team took a “presented by” approach to this content, which involved featuring the brand’s banner image in the introduction and mentioning the brand in the conclusion — subtly linking the brand to the content.
This content connected the brand to the city with topics such as day trips to take from Vancouver and ranked lists of the city’s best beaches and hiking trails. These pieces also performed exceptionally well in terms of unique page views, ranging from 2,000 to almost 9,000.
Simplify your approach and decide whether you want your brand to be a clear part of the story or linked to the city in a less obvious fashion.
Offering Relevant, Actionable Advice
Today’s consumers want to absorb content quickly and know exactly what it can offer them. Our branded team adds a personal element to campaigns wherever possible, which enriches the content we produce. Let’s use the Illumination Summer Night Market in Richmond, B.C. — a seasonal food and gift market — as an example. I spent time shopping at the market, seeking out the most interesting and useful products I believed our readers would want to know about, before I created the content.
The result? Relatable articles (check the “see also” section at the end of the article for two additional sponsored pieces from this campaign) and increased reader interest in the market. Page views for this campaign reached up to 8,000.
If there’s a way that you can help consumers in the city you’re marketing to feel as though they’re experiencing your product, service or event in real time, go for it.
Highlighting City and Neighborhood Names in the Headline
Maintaining transparency in headlines helps you give the audience what they want in a direct, efficient manner. It also draws the attention of locals who are personally connected to the city or area mentioned, as they’re enticed to click through and read the content. At Daily Hive, our branded team creates content for local development groups, and in these cases, location and unique selling proposition (USP) focuses are key elements in headlines.
In 2017, we created a customized playlist for Vancouver for a Spotify campaign, and in 2018, we designed a brilliant article inspired by photos of dogs in a local Vancouver neighborhood for a Samsung campaign. If you’re aware of how much Vancouverites love dogs, you’ll understand why this particular piece of content reached over 6,000 viewers.
When you drive home a hyperlocal focus, it allows the audience to feel more connected to their neighborhood, the publisher and the brand.
Looking at the geographic location of a city can assist you in understanding what appeals to the locals there. Perhaps it’s within driving distance of other popular destinations, home to a big craft brewery scene or situated along the coastline. Checking event guides and city-specific hashtags on Instagram will also help give you a sense of the local culture.
Ensuring the Content Feels Organic
Whether you’re creating marketing content for a publication or the blog section of a client’s website, it’s a fundamental rule to maintain the same tone as preexisting content. Daily Hive creates sponsored content in a tone that matches the editorial content, allowing for a more organic reading experience than a direct, all-sales-everything approach. This is done while integrating key campaign messages for our clients in a way that also provides value to the reader.
Furthermore, this gives us the opportunity to create content that will last as a valuable reference after the time of publishing. For instance, a piece I wrote to advertise Warner Brothers’ Crazy Rich Asians highlighted how an outfit I sourced from the movie cost more than the average rent in Vancouver. This sparked reader interest by addressing a city-specific issue that was linked to the extravagance of an upcoming film release.
With hyperlocal content, brands can reach their target audience and develop new connections in any city they desire. It takes some local charm and a bucket full of creativity, but the results are worth your time and energy.