Local. What is not to like?

March 20, 2012 No comments »

Well, for starters, I will admit that I get as caught up in dismissing local as anyone. I follow national politics, ignoring state and local races. I watch nationally produced entertianment. Local theater does not interest me.

On the political part of this equation, I focus on national issues only because too much power has been placed in DC. I am increasingly concerned about this and want to make central govt, the playground of tyrants, poorer and smaller before they bankrupt and control us all. Many have lost hope, but it is worth staying focussed on.

We NEED to bring the control of our lives back to local control. That is the only level in which the PEOPLE can actually have control again. Our Federal House Reps have little time for us, and few have any real power to empower us. Go local. You will hear the organic movement leaders call for this. How many of them would also see govt issues the same way too?

Your local county sheriff is provbably your most important elected official in your life. Who is your sheriff? Does he/she take seriously their oath of office? Did he/she attend this fully sponsored County Sheriffs conference? It makes a difference whether they did, as they are the last line of governmental defense of your personal liberties. Go local. Govern local. Insist on local by rejecting the distant.

Support a local business instead of a national chain.

Listen to a local expert.

You won’t be sorry.

Blog with Focus

November 23, 2010 No comments »

Just a quick reminder that blogging strategy can still be a win for local businesses.

We stand behind the following strategy on which Locasource was built to promote local search success for the greater Portland OR, Vancouver WA area:

1) Blog AWAY from your own site. Keeping it on the inside takes away from your publishing efforts in that the posts are seen only by people that are already on your site. Keep the blog tab there, but link it to your blog placed strategically elsewhere. The outside blog that points to your site constantly does more to boost your sites relevance to Google.

2) Put your blog on a site that carries exclusive membership in its brand. Locasource only publishes local business experts. Your efforts to establish yourself as the expert you are find energy when coupled with the efforts of others. If you were to have a blogspot blog, you are lost in a million different agendas, which creates no search value.

3) Put your blog on a site that has a local focus. You are the expert for _________. You are also the expert in your city. Promoting both online takes constant effort most businesses cannot allocate. Focus on your expertise instead with just 2-3 posts a month. Let the local site carry the ‘city state’ part of the search your potential customers include in their keywords.

Tentative in 2010?

January 14, 2010 No comments »

Everyone I know is echoing any and all optimism they can find for the new year, largely because 2009 was such a tough year for our Portland area businesses and careers. (ie. IT SUCKED) Naturally it is easy to be optimistic when your dealing with a new low you have never had to confront before– anything looks like an upgrade right now. One example… the stock markets value is often reported as being a rebound rally compared to 12 months ago, despite the lack of strong fundamentals usually seen during normal recoveries.

Of course the right thing to do when times are tough is to stay positive, innovate and create new solutions, serving mankind with the best you have to offer, etc. etc. But what 2008-09 taught us was also to check our value systems against reality and channel our energy wisely, rather than extending it into nebulous efforts or in empty pursuits.

My sense is that 2010 appears to be tentative ‘10. And for all the right reasons.

“Tentative” does not have to be a negative state, as long as we treat it as instructive and change direction. If it is a truly accurate portrayal of where we are in our local economy right now, then the best thing we can do is face it, its ramifications, and navigate our way through. That sure beats just trying to fake it til me make it, right?
From dictionary.com:

ten⋅ta⋅tive - [ten-tuh-tiv]

1. of the nature of or made or done as a trial, experiment, or attempt; experimental: a tentative report on her findings.
2. unsure; uncertain; not definite or positive; hesitant: a tentative smile on his face.

It is this second definition I think we should explore, as it is our goal as a community to turn things solidly around. There is a quality that Jim Collins recognized about turnaround companies that applies here. Jim wrote a book called “Good to Great” in 2001 that profiled in great detail the qualities of companies that navigated their way through challenges and overcame the onset of their own stagnation and decline. He described that quality with the phrase, “Face the brutal facts, but never give up hope”. It is also called the “Stockdale Paradox”, based on how a very famous Admiral Stockdale faced and overcame his ordeal as a POW in Vietnam. MORE HERE. It is hard to describe this principle in a single definitive word, as our challenge is to embrace an inseparable combination of both the realities of where we are, along with a rational hope for where we need to go. For me, this awareness has always nudged me toward my most creative frame of mind. It makes me realize that hope is not something we grasp for a fix, it is something you create as you serve others according to their needs. And isn’t that what business really is at its core?

So if your outlook on 2010 is a bit tentative, as is mine, the first part of year might be best spent on creating hope, rather than making resolutions. The brutal facts that face so many of us right now require a greater level of engagement to solve than sheer will power. We are in pretty deep, so we are going to need to dig deep to see our way through.

In closing, one good thing is that in 2010, the personal media revolution is well under way. We are now ferreting out lots of ineffective ways to market locally using social media, and creating tools that meet people where they are actually searching for local experts. LocaSource is the best solution I could create to address the changing needs of local businesses seeking to reach the Portland market. Here is to a wonderful new year my friend. let’s build the local economy together!

Local Local Local Portland Online Ad Spend Will Gain Share through 2012

November 16, 2009 1 comment »

In case you are wondering if indeed this is the right time to strategically move some of your advertising dollars to the web, check this out…

Over the next five years, Piper Jaffray predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% for local online ad dollars, compared with 4% for national Internet spending.

Borrell Associates, on the other hand, forecasts only a 2.9% CAGR for local online ad spending over the next five years. Borrell puts spending at $16.4 billion in 2013, compared with $19.18 billion for Piper Jaffray.

Piper Jaffray indicates in its report that small businesses will begin to catch up with consumers online, bringing significant growth to the local online sector and moving local dollars from offline to the Web.

We are here not only recognizing that trend, but believe now is the time to beat your competition who will jump on the bandwagon and stand out in local online search. Vancouver and Portland consumers are looking for reliable sources online they can do business with, and we want you to not only be found, but be recognized as the local expert in your field.

US Local and National Online Advertising Spending, 2008-2013 (billions)

Business growth tied to value awareness.

November 11, 2009 1 comment »

Last night and last week I have had three more opportunities to present LocaSource in business networking meetings like CEO Space and NWSBN in Beaverton and Vancouver. My presentation style on new endeavors is fairly open, and with the help of my collaborators in the room I have been learning new ways to bring people to an ah-ha moment on what LocaSource can do for them. The business model was designed to meet a need, not to generate it’s own glory, and so my goal right now is simply to help unpublished experts understand the value of the LocaSource platform. Once we have 20-30 experts contributing regularly, that value will be self-evident.

So, in a refined list, here are the benefits LocaSource can bring to you as a qualified local Portland area expert:

  1. A place to express your expertise where more people can discover it.
    As a local business owner you already share your industry wisdom each and every day in one on one conversations. You debunk myths. You provide insight. You expose competitors. You add value to your clients. Then the next day comes and you do it all over again, repeating much of the same information in call and emails. Imagine if just 20% of YOUR wisdom got published. A multiplier effect would be created, as more people than you could ever reach one-on-one searching for answers would discover your writing, reward you with trust, and give you business.
  2. A platform that elevates your status as a local expert.
    Blogging on your own means you have something you believe is worth saying. Contributing as an author on a journalistic platform that recognizes you as a category expert means there are others that vouch for your expertise. At LocaSource, we don’t just take on anybody who wants to promote their business and call themselves an expert. We have already vetted out many interested parties who are looking to promote themselves.
  3. A platform that is defined by the same Portland market area you are trying to reach
    The efforts of the staff at LocaSource are devoted to the local market. The local Portland and Vancouver economy is what we support, and our readers are quickly made to know that. When they see your articles published on LocaSource, they know you also have a local focus.
  4. A platform built to first help you stand out on online search results.
    Goodbye Yellow Pages… 80% of all buying starts online with search, and 60% of that search takes place on Google. LocaSource exists to make you stand out on the first page of Google for local searches. Not only to show up there, but to also stand out on the page as not just another business card, but with a headline title that creates trust and fosters curiosity. People are looking online for answers. They are looking to learn. They are researching their buying decision and deciding who to trust.
  5. A journalism platform that lets you control the message.
    Welcome to the personal media revolution. You don’t have to sit back and wait to see what the local paper is going to write about you. They are losing readers to the internet every day. You are now your own press agent and frankly, what little journalism there is left only has time to lift copy from your blog instead of researching the story. This strategy of creating your own media has worked for Barack Obama and many celebrities in Hollywood. It can work for you, and we’ll show you how.

I believe the ah-ha moment is getting much easier to impart, and I hope you agree. If I left anything out, or you think I am missing something, please let me know.

Learning to see Siding as part of Northwest Art and Architecture

November 5, 2009 No comments »

Every once in a while, as we are building out LocaSource as THE direct journalism platform for local business experts in Portland and Vancouver, we will highlight select experts from here on the home page.

This month our local siding expert has greatly impressed me. Every time I talk to him, some element of his passion for excellence comes to the surface around the subject of his business. Not the ups and downs of business itself, but more specifically the concern he has for quality in what he sees in homes around Clark County and Portland. He explains to me that siding selection, style and quality determines the vast majority of the visual appeal of each home here in the area. Siding takes up 90% of the side surface of a house, and with the northwest’s cultural preference for natural colors and textures(that matches our unmatchably amazing natural environment), siding itself becomes the key decision in making a house fit the environment. I gained a real appreciation for this in talking with him, and realized that beyond the idea of good and bad siding choices, lies the broader concept of what is and isn’t Northwest architecture. I have learned to look more closely at the character of the homes here where I live in Vancouver, and realized that siding really does help identify and brand our community.

beautiful siding on northwest home. See more siding pics.

beautiful siding on northwest home. See more siding pics.


It took a while to convince him that the passion he shares with me one and one also needs to be shared in writing, but he finally took me up on it and became a regular contributor here on LocaSource. If you are looking to learn more about what makes siding so cool, or more practically what kind of maintenance is needed for your home, or how to improve and preserve your home’s value, make sure to read his siding expert column or visit his Portland area siding business website. He has some decent pricing breaks for the holidays as well.

Announcing the Beta-Launch of LocaSource.com

September 1, 2009 No comments »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Building Our Local Economy

Portland-Vancouver business owners provide free advice

VANCOUVER, Washington – September 1, 2009
By Joanne Laurent | of deScribe It!

LocaSource is the hottest new virtual hang-out for information seekers in the Vancouver-Portland area. Local business owners blog here to provide valuable resources to the community, while gaining recognition for their expertise.

In these times of stress and uncertainty, consumers are demonstrating a preference for personal connections and doing business locally with real people they know and trust. The goal of LocaSource is to provide those personal connections by offering a platform to Vancouver and Portland business owners so they can connect with customers and encourage them to buy locally. Shoppers turn to LocaSource for free advice from trustworthy experts. Local business owners contribute expert blog material a minimum of twice per month for the purposes of significantly increasing traffic to their websites and establishing, or strengthening, relationships with new and existing customers.

Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors

The time-honored saying, “It’s better to give than to receive” has measurable benefits. According to a study released August 17, 2009 blogging delivers potential customers right to your doorstep. A large, non-local internet marketing company studied web traffic of 1,531 customers and discovered that when small businesses blog they get 55% more website visitors and 97% more inbound links than business who don’t blog. (Source).

Business experts wanted

It is unfortunate that the smartest people with the most to offer are the ones we hear from the least. Real experts, quite often, are just too busy to blog. We want to hear from business owners and representatives who are knowledgeable about their industries. Non-bloggers are missing out on a host of business benefits that add up to walking away from cash rewards. LocaSource is currently looking for local companies to provide expert advice about their products and services as well as coupons, deals and other crazy, hot offers.

LocaSource experts will lock out competition and stand alone on a highly-optimized website with linking systems that put their websites on the top of local searches in every major search engine. LocaSource will work with existing webmasters to make sure the overall web strategy of each business is considered. Expert bloggers’ businesses will stand out on local search results causing their website traffic to soar.

LocaSource takes the pain out of blogging

A minimal time commitment is the beauty of blogging with LocaSource. Normally, bloggers are obligated to write frequent posts that interfere with work duties. The community involvement with LocaSource significantly reduces the number of blogs required to achieve recognition for participating businesses. Although it would be great to blog daily or weekly, we only ask that participants contribute articles, offers, or coupons 2-3 times per month. With so many local experts blogging, there will always be action on the LocaSource website—action that translates into recognition for participating companies and their websites.

LocaSource.com was founded by Andrew Deal of CGI Productions, who has unmatched experience in building sites that come up first in Google for a variety of common words. His dream is to promote the local economy by getting the messages of local businesses noticed on the web.

Call today to schedule an appointment and start blogging effectively, before a competing business does.

###

Contact: Andrew Deal
222 NE Park Plaza, Suite 115
Vancouver, WA 98684
(360) 859-1174
andrew@cellecast.com

Not bad for Pre-launch

August 31, 2009 No comments »

As word is starting to get around and local businesses are flocking in to be a part of LocaSource, one of the main reasons for our existence is for deserving local businesses to get the right kind of recognition they deserve on Google. We started up LocaSource in advance of launch with just a few basic pieces in place and just one expert. So far, the tracking has been good. Google and Bing like our local siding expert, both for searches that include Vancouver and Portland, as well as searches for siding expertise generically. Heck. just search for ‘local Portland experts’ and we are #1. Not that this was our goal, but it is just a product of doing things right.

Now that we have 5 experts and counting before our Sept 1st press release, I am seeing Locasource’s site authority for Portland and Vancouver fall right into place. Most businesses operate within a defined market area, but very few sites are designed to lend them the right local search authority they need to rise out of obscurity and the chaos known as internet search. It takes a site devoted to the specific local economy with an understanding of what the search engines need in order to deliver properly for small business.

One thing that really excites me in bringing our experts greater exposure in search results is not just that they appear on the first page for more searches than they otherwise could achieve on their own, but that their headlines will stand out stronger. I can and certainly will write about this more at length in future posts, but just consider for a moment the kinds of sites that show up on the things you search for. You ask for information, you get a stack of business cards. You look for expert advice, you get ‘why we’re better’ treatises. My hope and constant advice to our experts is to answer questions that you know your clients have asked over the years. Anticipate and address needs relevant to the local community. People are seeking knowledge like this when they search, and are not getting enough satisfaction. That is why LocaSource exists for the Vancouver-Portland marketplace.

MSNBC.com Buys EveryBlock. Puts Big Money in Latest Black Hole

August 18, 2009 No comments »

Today, Jim LaMarca, an old friend of ours in business and consulting with CelleCast wrote me about the local web as it relates to LocaSource. I was warmed by the email and decided to post it here.

EveryBlock only intersects with LocaSource in the sense that it is about local. But EveryBlock is no more about Portland/Vancouver than any of 1000 other sites to come along with a load of organized data homogenized by a central source and an available directory called /portland/ or /vancouver/ to be put on the end of a domain name. Unlike MSNBC, we are betting this kind of development is going into decline.

Thanks Jim again for sending this. Local expertise, which is what people are looking for on the web in increasing numbers, will indeed be found here soon.

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 8:25 AM, Jim wrote:

Hey Andrew

I’ve been meaning to check in and say Hi. I hope all is well. Your local web site may be the right move. Check this out:

Local Heat: MSNBC.com Buys EveryBlock for Several Million Dollars [BoomTown]

1000 Points of Light on Independence Day

July 21, 2009 No comments »

Although the Fourth of July is already a few days behind us now, the phenomenon that took place in Vancouver was still quite remarkable. In fact, I will say that had I wrote this article on the 5th, it would not have been any stronger of a point. Our celebration of independence is more than just a one day affair, and still marks the amazing spirit of Americans and our enduring character that strives for liberty.

What I noticed as I celebrated with a few friends and a bagful of mortars and other fireworks was the amazing amount of private shows all around us. My friend who has lived here in Clark County forever proclaimed that this was the most fireworks he has ever seen on the Fourth. The people of Clark County responded indeed to this years Fort Vancouver fireworks cancellation by spreading the celebration out from block to block. Instead of being bummed out by seeing our 47 year tradition interrupted, we took matters into our own hands. Refreshing.

I see this as an interesting parallel to what I have seen coming in the economy since last year. Although people are near depression in many aspects during this recession, what we are going to see is more individual effort and less collective effort. We are going to localize our over-extended and vulnerable networked economies. We are going to seek small gatherings, trusted neighbors and reliable friends. This would be quite a turnaround if it could actually reach down and counteract the big-box retail mindset and leveraged corporate consolidation trends of the last 20 years. I hope it is not temporary, but a mark of a deep resurgence of economic independence we need at this time.

So let’s create our own 1000 points of light. You and your customers are seeking local economy value right now, but they are still using the internet to do it. The days of the Local Web have are here.

Words about our Founding