Alexandra Donlin

Hear Nebraska: Making a Case for Local Blogging

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Hear Nebraska is a unique website showcasing Nebraska music and culture in long-form features. According to the site, their vision is: “Hear Nebraska strives to make the state a globally recognized cultural destination.”

Co-founders Andrew and Angie Norman, both Nebraska natives, recently came to Michigan State University, where Andrew earned his master’s degree in environmental journalism, to talk about the website.

Hear Nebraska specializes in showcasing Nebraskan artists in the creative industry. Multiple stories are posted per day on the website featuring artists, businesses or events from Nebraska and are involved in the creative industries.

Two of their biggest events were music festivals in Nebraska’s biggest cities: Lincoln and Omaha. Both festivals included Nebraska-native artists of any genre and they were wildly successful. They are even bringing the event to Grand Island, which is one of next largest cities in Nebraska. Another popular event they have hosted is the Good Living Tour. It’s similar to the festivals, but it is a nine city tour that showcases different Nebraska talent across the state.

Local blogs are not particularly popular at the moment, especially coming from a state that most people perceive as only being farm land. But it’s important to note that Hear Nebraska went from being broke and unknown, to having half of its revenue come from their own music events and being recognized internationally.

Success stories like this make me wonder, could local blogs become a popular promotional entity in the future?

I say yes.

With people constantly searching for everything on the Internet, it’s important to have sites for specific things. In a post on Small Business Search Marketing, author Matt McGee talks of his experience in local blogging for a couple of years with his wife. “I was constantly amazed at the ultra-long tail queries that brought traffic to our blog. People are looking for local content more and more, and that’s one reason local blogging works,” McGee said.

An newfound need for local blogs stems from the fact that traditional media is cutting back. Newspapers are lowering circulation, broadcasters are cutting down on the number of segments and staff, therefore there isn’t as much local coverage.

Cue local bloggers.

Blogging is much more efficient in the sense that anyone can do it, and posts can literally be real time. Something breaking might be happening, and a blogger could post an initial story while consistently updating it every time something new or big happens.

Local blogs also do a great job of highlighting local businesses or events, similarly to Hear Nebraska. Often times local businesses might have terrible websites simply because they are lacking resources or knowledge to create something better. That’s when local businesses are turning to bloggers as a marketing tool.

Websites like Hear Nebraska are something to keep your mind on for the future. With the media becoming more Internet and mobile-based, anyone could get their foot in the door with a successful local blog. It’s all about needs and wants. People want and need local news.




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