5 Tips for Using WhatcomTalk’s LocalTalk Section

WhatcomTalk LocalTalk
WhatcomTalk's LocalTalk page is a great way for local businesses, organizations and non-profits to share news and information with our Whatcom County readers. ©WhatcomTalk.

WhatcomTalk publishes articles daily, sharing what it’s like to live, work and play in Whatcom County. Each article is categorized on our homepage into topics, such as sports, history or activities. The categories make it easy to find what you are looking for or to browse articles of interest.

One category heading is LocalTalk. This section of our site is reserved for content created and submitted by our customers and community partners. It’s here that you can get the latest press releases and informative articles from local businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and other groups. Often, these stories share business milestones, upcoming events and tips you can use in your daily life.

We often are asked to share tips on what makes a great LocalTalk post. There are several key features that make LocalTalk articles more interesting and relevant to our readers. By following the tips below, your LocalTalk posts will not only look great on our site, but they’ll better engage our readers as well.

Consider the Length 

WhatcomTalk LocalTalk
WhatcomTalk’s LocalTalk page is a great place for our customers to share news and information with our readers. ©WhatcomTalk.

Articles submitted should be between 400 and 800 words. Of course, there is wiggle room in that number, but readers tend to lose interest if content stretches too far beyond the 800-word limit.  

Target a Specific Audience

When crafting an article for the LocalTalk section, remember your audience. You are writing for the broad WhatcomTalk audience throughout Whatcom County. Choose topics that are relevant and of interest to the community. Sharing personal profiles, inspirational success stories, user-friendly “tip” style articles, or information people can use to plan activities and outings are some of the most successful stories we publish.

Provide Engaging Photos 

We are visual people and WhatcomTalk readers love to see photos with each of our published stories. By providing three or more quality images, sized between 500kb and 1MB, your story will shine. Images should include photographs of the people profiled in the story, action shots of events and activities, or scenic photos that help to expand and illustrate the story you have written. Avoid static style images such as buildings and signage. Instead, choose photos (or snap a few with your phone!) to help the reader engage with the story on a more personal level.

It’s very helpful to include cutlines (captions) with your photos. These will enhance the article by sharing additional information about the subject(s) in the photo. Remember — people are visual and they often will read the photo captions first. If these capture their interest, they are more likely to read the full article. Please also include any photo credit where necessary. When not included, we will include “Photo courtesy: ______.”

WhatcomTalk LocalTalk community partners
Community partners can share information about upcoming events with our readers simply by utilizing WhatcomTalk’s LocalTalk page. ©WhatcomTalk.

Format Before Submitting

LocalTalk articles and press releases should be submitted as Word documents. Photos should not be embedded within the document. Instead, attach the document and any photos to an email addressed to submit@whatcomtalk.com. Keep your text formatting simple. When we upload to our website, we utilize a variety of text features that do not always translate from your document. LocalTalk articles are typically published within a few days of submission. If you have questions regarding your post or find a formatting or photo error, simply email us and we’ll be happy to help.

Write Shareable Stories 

The most important tip we can provide is to write stories that people will share. Include mentions of other local organizations and groups (and hyperlink the names to their websites). When the story is published, you can share the WhatcomTalk URL with each group and they can, in turn, share these stories through social media and email. By crafting stories with a wide umbrella of interest, you expand the article’s reach and your organization or business’s exposure. Stories of individual triumph or achievement are shared by proud parents or employers. Articles celebrating a team triumph can be shared by each member. Community collaborations can be distributed by each group involved.

WhatcomTalk’s LocalTalk section is a great way to utilize our extensive community social network already in place. WhatcomTalk’s Publishing team will edit LocalTalk submissions for grammar and punctuation prior to publishing, but taking a little extra time to review and implement the five tips above will help your LocalTalk posts stand out.

WhatcomTalk is a digital media company sharing positive stories about people, places and businesses in Whatcom County. WhatcomTalk offers content marketing and online options to advertise across our community social network in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and beyond. Advertise with WhatcomTalk to reach your target market, grow your brand, and measure results.

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