Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?

I often think about my place in the blogosphere. I’ve been online for a very long time by now, close to a decade. I’ve got articles all over the place. I have 8 websites which includes 4 blogs. I’ve commented on hundreds of blogs and, for the most part, I have some name recognition, the other Mitch Mitchell notwithstanding.

And you know what? Locally it means absolutely nothing. I think I have maybe 4 or 5 people locally that might ever read any of my blogs, even when I write about things in the Syracuse NY area.

Almost all the retweets I get on Twitter come from people that live elsewhere; that’s kind of fascinating because I’m connected on Twitter to a lot of people from this area. I’ve written about local tweetups on this blog and on my Syracuse blog, and mentioned a lot of people’s names and linked to their Twitter accounts, sometimes to their businesses as well.

I’ve always wondered about this concept of “you’re never as big at home as you are elsewhere” often over the years. Truth be told, I really didn’t believe it until I got into business for myself.

I have spoken in 8 or 9 states professionally, and in New York I’ve only been paid once, and it was very low. People get this impression that, unless you’re an ultra millionaire, you just can’t be that good if you live where they are, and it’s so strange.

Yet when I went to Nebraska, they must have been thinking “hey, we got someone from New York to come here”. And it didn’t have to be New York, per se; just someone from another state (though they probably wouldn’t have been as happy if I’d come from Oklahoma if they were football fans lol).

Almost 18 months ago I asked this question on this blog: can you actually be considered successful if you can’t get your family and friends to subscribe or even stop by to read your blog, or subscribe to your newsletters, or, for that matter, actually try to figure out what you do? Only one person could say they had friends and/or family subscribing, that being Rummuser; how wild is that? Most even said they didn’t expect it and would be surprised if anyone they knew did visit or subscribe.

Not that I’m a total unknown in my area. I have given many presentations around town, and I have been featured in the local newspapers here and there. But for the most part I’m fairly easily ignored locally.

I have to admit that I thought I’d get more people I knew locally to retweet this post for me, as others locally have had gripes with someone and gotten a fairly nice local response from people in retweeting things; I got 2 people locally who did it for me, and I’m thinking that’s kind of shame. But I got a lot of folks who don’t live here, who had never even heard of the company (which was surprising) that retweeted it, and I thank all of you for that.

I put this thought out there to ask it this way; if you can’t be influential locally, can you really be influential anywhere else? I believe you can, but my mind still finds the concept, well, strange.

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19 thoughts on “Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?”

  1. Hi Mitch

    Hope all is well. My view for what its worth is that (notwithstanding the local activities you do)is that the online communities in whatever field or niche are communities in themselves so the physical geography doesn’t apply – Perhaps most people in your locality may not be interested in what you do, but someone like me in the UK far far away may well do.

    Also when I tell people locally that I do Internet Marketing its like speaking double dutch to most people – they just dont have a clue.

    1. There is that, Peter, in people not knowing what you do. My area is pretty well connected through social media, though, especially the local university which is rated #2 in the nation, and maybe for me it’s the parties I compete against in some fashion. Still, it does seem to be the norm.

  2. I think it is pretty simple, if you generally target local area you will be well known. However, I don’t think that there is a point for anybody to do it honestly. Why should target small community when can get a bigger one?

    1. Carl, I’m not sure one can target a local area via their blog. Maybe in other ways they can, but blogging… I think it just lends itself to being more universal. Still, I check out local people’s blogs when I find out about them and wonder if they ever reciprocate as well.

      1. Again my favorite sentence, depend on the niche and business. I was working abroad regarding travel industry website. We were promoting the properties to English speaking country, until we made a research, that locals are more interested and represent the major part of the market. The point is that it is not very easy to do things locally, when your native language is English.

      2. How come I thought your native language was something else, Carl? Still, it does make the question a lot different to respond to, something that someone like John could address way better.

  3. It’s funny you bring this point, ’cause in my situation I explicitally chose not to aim to the local with my company’s social media presence. So much that our accounts aren’t even in Italian, but English.
    That’s a precise business choice, as we have ways to reach the local (as, city-region-country) markets already, and I believe social media is better aimed elsewhere for the moment.
    Of course, everything changes and nothing should be fixed for too long, so I am not sure if this will change in the future, but no, I definitely don’t think your success is measured by how many local connections you’re granted.

    1. Interesting point, Gabriele, and I’d always wondered why you published in English. And one’s success may actually be measured more by how many people outside your area talk to you. I have a friend who commands around $15,000 per speaking engagement, yet I’m surprised by how few people really know about him locally, even though he’s been a past business owner. When I introduce him to them and talk about his bonafides, they’re stunned that someone like him lives in the area. I find that type of thing incredible, but if he can’t break through, then why should I expect more for me?

  4. Ok, I’m sorry!

    I’ll admit I’m a bad retweeter….I get so busy trying to read all of these great blogs and such!

    And you know how it is trying to do anything locally- at least around here…look at the Network Marketing meetings..

    When I worked at one of the local libraries (small town) we had a heck of a time motivating people to come to programs…we are too tethered to our computers!

    1. You’re right Carolee. For the rest of you, Carolee and I met at a local meetup and we ended up being the only two people there, though other people committed to coming. At a certain point there’s too many things going on, but to me if you committed to showing up you should show up unless there was an emergency. But for what both of us do, it’s amazing we’re not better known in this area.

  5. Hey Mitch,

    I actually don’t think I knew people who are bloggers from my town, I actually don’t know why, but I don’t know any, although I know that such breed exists.

    I think it’s something psychological, they don’t tend to look for local people because they think they already know that they want to meet and read something new from someone new.

    1. You could be correct, Alex, but isn’t it a strange anomaly? I guess because I’ve tried to reach out more to local people I just thought that it would be reciprocated, but I guess not.

  6. You know Mitch, none of my close relatives tweet or comment on my blog. Everyone I know online lives thousands of miles away, I live in a small rural village so these folks don’t go on social media.

    I do love how social media gives me a window to other worlds and allows me to meet great people like you.

    Cheers and this gave me a post idea 🙂

    1. Guess I’ll be checking out that post a little later, John. lol It’s just so amazing that there are these millions of people that are supposedly on social media and yet locally there’s little buzz for some of us.

  7. Yes, I have noticed this too; the farther away from your hometown the more of an expert you become. If someone locally wants to utilize your services they think they should get it for free or very cheap.

    I’m somewhat plugged into the PR/Marketing community online, but none locally. I know some local firms that do a great job but they don’t seem to be plugged into the social media world, or at least not in my network. However, because of the relationships I have formed I might be more apt to recommend a twitter friend than someone local.

    Trust me, part of the premise of my job is why do you want to do business from someone out of town when you have all the expertise you need right here. Keep the money local and help OUR economy, right.

    Good post; when you get it figured out please let me know.

    1. I’ll certainly keep you in the loop, Bill. I agree with you though; there have been plenty of opportunities outsourced from the area that I, and others I know, have been qualified for, and we didn’t even get a chance to bid on it. Too bad in the long run because they don’t quite get what they want and not only could we have given it to them but at a drastically reduced cost.

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