Why local?

The last three years have been tough. And the chances are that the next three are going to be even tougher still . Roughly translated this means that you either give up and pack up now or you change the way you do things and start looking for opportunities to work smarter.

And if not, why not turn to the web? It offers us, that is all of us, a cost effective advertising platform and an unparalleled opportunity for community building. Eighteen months ago we approached Find It SA with a proposal to launch Ask the Locals as a community build, personal empowerment and local marketing programme. We are now in a position to issue a challenge to local businesses that coincides with the print of our first advert and the distribution of the Find It Knysna & The Garden Route 2011 edition.

Generally when anyone starts talking about social responsibility, most people pat their pocket books to make sure that it is still there and then they start edging their way to the emergency exit. And business people in Knysna have developed a sixth sense for this sort of stuff. So we are not going to go there. Community building and a well developed sense of social responsibility is an essential part of any healthy society. But in this day and age nice ideas are just not going to fly.

Most of us whether we know it or not, are in survival mode.

But that is no excuse to stop thinking, to stop feeling and to start dodging ones responsibilities. And that is the reason we have come up with a programme that we believe offers everyone a little bit of everything. The internet is not complicated. It’s only people that get complicated. So at the out set we want to keep this simple and more importantly we want to maximise our returns from minimal or preferably zero input costs. This then is the challenge.

We would like to persuade the various business centres, malls and industries in town to challenge our local schools, the stay at home mums, retirees and would be writers. To invite and incentivise them to submit two hundred word essays about the businesses in as well as about stuff that makes this town work. A competition where the businesses undertake to choose the best articles, negotiate with the writers and to buy their work. We will then place these as posts somewhere on the web where Google can find the content. Where each article serves as an advert strategically placed where it will be found and where it will keep getting found for years and even decades to come. And found by visitors who have been identified and who are are being deliberately targetted as buyers who are looking for the products and services being advertised. An advert which feeds interested visitors directly to the businesses buying the written work produced by an emerging writer who needs an alternative source of income.

This with the objective of identifying people skills which, with the help of the local media, we can promote. Firstly to a national market. Then if thats successful why not an international market?

How do we attract more money to this town? Do we really need more tourist busses? Is it the only way we can think of to kick start our economy? Are we ever going to get the volumes we need? These are questions we can debate until the cows come home. But rather than talking about stuff we can do very little about we have put forward a suggestion which will get exposure, which will add value to the businesses that participate. And if we can get it to work, if we can start building a work from home cottage industry, a community of web content writers earning foreign currency, who knows, we might just hook a tour operator or two and a few more bus loads of those happy smiling tourists who fuel this feast and famine existance we have all get so used to.

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