Why regional business leaders should blog

  
Column by Kai Degner
www.whykai.com

As the DNRonline.com has been “paywalled,” meaning people need to pay to read it online, there are a number of added challenges to inform the public on important matters. However, there’s one with a more direct added financial impact: business leaders from outside the area can’t read about or find economic-development news because the news stories don’t show up in search engine results. (Google won’t show DNRonline.com pages because users can’t read them.)

So, when an article like today’s “Rockingham Plans to be Ready for Wind Farms” is published, the only people that really have a chance to read it are local people with a paid or online subscription on the day it’s printed. The opportunity lost is for people in this industry to get our region on their radar. Of course, I’m not just talking about the wind industry – any industry. All of our comparatively good news printed in the DNR is effectively invisible online.

This, then, puts an added responsibility for regional business-development advocates (from local government to commercial real estate to builders to industry leaders) to fill the void with web content that is “search engine optimized.” That’s a fancy phrase for blogging.

And the opportunity is rich. Right now, if you google “Harrisonburg economy business,” the FIRST result isn’t the city’s or the county’s economic-development website, or the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, or the Chamber of Commerce. Nope. You know what it is? A link on www.HarrisonburgSummits.com about the Feb. 18th Harrisonburg Summit on Strengthening Local Business and Economy.

That’s right. An announcement I posted last month as part of my job at the Fairfield Center is currently the online “gateway” to our community’s economic-development efforts (at least with those Google terms).

As much as I stand behind these events and enjoy their visibility, we have to change this – and that means business leaders put more energy into creating content for the web. We are behind the curve.

  

Kai Degner is the mayor of Harrisonburg.

  





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