Your website readers are loyal to their locality. Provide them with something that’s relevent to their part of the world and they will lap it up. New research from communications experts at the University of Missouri shows that when we read something that is truly local, our brain commits more cognitive resources to it – suggesting we perceive the information as much more worthy of our attention.
The study found that there were physiological changes in people when reading local news which did not happen when the news was from further afield. Furthermore, these changes were most obvious when the news was negative.
In a sense, this is only to be expected. Our body’s natural defence mechanisms are always working their hardest to help ensure our survival. Clearly, any danger which is local is much more likely to be a problem than a difficulty that is many miles away. Hence, our brain’s natural strategy is to seek information which is local to us and which is potentially harmful to us so that we can avoid disaster. We are programmed to pay most attention to something that is local and negative, this new study suggests.
For anyone with a website and who is seeking additional traffic it suggests that focusing on local, rather than global, will be of real help. You will get more attention from people if you promote the local content on your website or blog. Aiming globally may actually be working against you, in terms of readership.
Also, look for the pain – as sales people will tell you. Focus on the negative and find a way out of the trouble for your readers and you will engage them more. Literally, their heart will be beating differently if you do this.
What this new study does is back up findings which were revealed last year, showing that Internet users are frequently looking for local information, not international material. Once again, this research confirms your business is likely to do best online if you focus your attention locally, rather than trying to “go global”.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+