Protect Your Community Online

One of your main responsibilities when you are working with local and/or niche content is to protect your community and the perception of it online. It’s astounding how often the one voice with an ax to grind is at the top of a Google search. Today, there was just such a situation regarding our community here in Fort Pierce.

While Googling for local entertainment to promote on our local community directory, http://www.onhutchinsonisland.com we came across an article about the recently restored local theater, The Sunrise Theater. The article (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2007/nov/04/fort-pierces-sunrise-theatre-loses-13-million-seco/) headlined and led with a financial loss, but then went on to say how they had hired a theater consultant in July and since he’d taken over, how much better the theater was doing:

“With a significant change in business practices, Wilkes is optimistic the years ahead will look much brighter for the theater. Rentals are up, and school children are being bused to shows. The perception of the theater as an elitist venue has changed in just a short period of time, Wilkes said. People are starting to view the theater more as a community theater. More than 1,000 tickets were sold for the Oct. 31 show “Whatever She Wants,” starring Vivica A. Fox, a play that has gained national attention.”

Then, the local unmoderated comments get unfortunate and hammer the community for the financial loss, despite them having already taken appropriate action 3 months ago and already seeing measurable results.

I also found this awesome article from earlier this year on ESPN about how “no other place in Florida produces more seatrout over five pounds, or better odds of catching a 10-pound class fish, than the stretch of the Indian River Lagoon system between Stuart and Ft. Pierce. ” and then, “proved that the inshore fishing along this section of the Treasure Coast is some of the best in the state. The snook fishing here is awesome during spring and summer, as are the odds of connecting with a monster seatrout. ”

And what astounding is that the very people who have a vested interest in protecting how the community is perceived, are the ones creating the impression that it’s the last place on earth you’d want to go.

Despite the unbiased accolades of the ESPN guy stating the exact opposite.

It’s important to remember to surf through other travel sites or directories and check out how and where your marketplace is being poorly/falsely/maliciously represented. Visit places like tripadvisor.com, find your community (here’s Fort Pierce: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g34233-Fort_Pierce_Florida-Vacations.html) and make sure everything is positive and up to date.

I found one place that said all the beaches here were closed, because someone had posted that when they were replacing sand erosion from the hurricanes a couple of years ago…and it was the last update about our area on a major travel site. Yuck.

Make sure you take the time to create content that supports the good stuff you find about your community and defends the attacks against it, especially when it’s ax grinding, not accurate, outdated and/or hurting your business.

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