Video Tutorial: Local search and analytics for hyperlocal publishers using Bloom

By Stephen Jefferson | 25th May 2016

Bloom (www.bloom.li) helps hyperlocal publishers connect with their local communities online. We provide tools for publishers to geotag local articles, integrate local search on their website, create interactive maps, and measure engagement with neighborhood-level analytics. In this post, we’ll show you how to install and use these tools on a hyperlocal news website.

Our Background

Since Bloom launched in 2015, we’ve learned how much location-based tools are currently underrepresented online, yet how critical they are to connecting content to local readers.

We conducted a survey from 24 different publishers from around the world to determine their dependency on geographic data. We found that 98% of content from city-focused newspapers targets a specific street address. This proves that a strong majority of local news being published today can use geotagging, local search and other location-based tools to reach their audience. Our study also found that subjects with the highest percentage included events (70%), government (32%), sports (19%), and emergencies (19%). These subjects will have the highest reliability when utilized in location-based services, which reflects the overall reliance on geography within their designated fields.

We’ve built Bloom as both an independent social platform on www.bloom.li and a WordPress plugin that embeds location-based tools into hyperlocal websites. When using the plugin, all articles that are geotagged are displayed on both the website and Bloom’s platform, which brings more eyeballs to the content. It also educates staff in the newsroom to become more comfortable with location-based technology and to learn how content marketing and personalization can be more efficient.

About The Plugin

Our plugin was built for WordPress websites and can be installed within a few minutes; it provides:

  • Geotagging for articles which makes them accessible to location-based applications and improves their SEO by placing the street address into the metadata of the webpage for search engines and social networks to legibly understand.
  • Local search which allows your neighbors, tourists, or anyone passing through the community to easily search your content by location using a street address, postal code, city, or their current location. This tool can also detect how many articles are (within a small distance) from the current article the user is reading.
  • Embedded maps which help readers visually understand where the article took place. Four types of maps are automatically generated when the article is published, and can be displayed using a shortcode such as [bloom type=”map” size=”large” zoom=”neighborhood”]. Bloom also provides interactive maps and live news feeds for all articles that use geotagging.
  • And, Local analytics to learn which neighborhoods are being covered thoroughly, which have the most engagement, or which have the least engagement.

The plugin is offered for free and can work for any hyperlocal website that uses WordPress – no matter if it focuses on local news, events, food, travel, crime, or all of the above. View a demo of the plugin on our website.

PluginPreview

We released the plugin in March and have been working on it with hyperlocal publishers in New York City. We recently began working with Brooklyn Reader who covers local news for 6 communities (population 745,000) in Brooklyn, New York. Their content is extremely thorough in representing what happens in the local communities, however, they reported that the content only reaches 10% of their actual population. The awareness of their content is limited due to it being difficult for local readers to find it on their website, search engines, and social media. We worked with Brooklyn Reader to install Bloom’s plugin to help improve these challenges of theirs. They will be launching early this summer.

In the coming months, we’ll be offering additional features to let publishers control the style and branding of the search tool, as well as get more in-depth analytics about local readership. We are also currently looking into how public data for businesses, government, and environment can be merged into the plugin to help create a more rich hyperlocal experience on the publisher’s website.

How To Install The Plugin

You can follow the instructions listed below or watch the instructional video to learn how to install the plugin on your website.

Instructions:

  • Register on Bloom

a) Register your website on Bloom at bloom.li

b) Go to your account’s profile to copy the plugin keys for WordPress

  • Install on WordPress

a) Install and activate the WordPress plugin called Bloom for Publishers

b) Go to Settings for Bloom for Publishers, paste the plugin keys

  • Begin!

a) Geotag your articles directly from WordPress

b) Use shortcodes in the article’s text to instantly embed a map

c) Enable local search to give readers a personalized local experience

In the case that your website is not built on WordPress, you can still use Bloom by geotagging articles directly from our map: www.bloom.li/map or letting us know what CMS (content management system) you use so we can give you instructions.

Enjoy!

We hope you liked this introduction and instruction tutorial of Bloom. We’re interested in hearing from different publishers from around the world to see how Bloom can work for their region. If you have any questions about using the plugin or are curious to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact me at steve@bloom.li!

You can find us on Twitter at @bloomfornews or on Medium.

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