An article on local history, particularly the history of the neighborhood you service, can make excellent web content – either as an article or a blog post.
Why local history works so well
Local history is something that almost everyone who lives in your service area and most of those considering moving to your neighborhood like to read about. It’s not something people often think about or feel any urgency around, but when they see a link to some local history it usually gets clicked. I think people like a taste of history because:
- It puts them in the know – and they can show off that knowledge
- History can help them feel rooted
History is also what’s known as ‘ever green’ content. You don’t have to worry about updating it. If something new is discovered about something you’ve already written, just write a new article.
The obvious history
Take a look around your service area. Are there any historical statues or museums or libraries that have historical displays? These are the obvious place to start when writing articles. Don’t try to cram everything into one article; instead give each discovery an article of its own.
Pay attention to the sidewalk when you’re in town. Chances are at least some of it has been stamped with the name of the contractor or firm that installed it. See if they’re still around. If they are, you’ve got a great story. If not, start asking folks.
The not so obvious history
The not so obvious history is often the most interesting. Here’s the kind of thing I mean:
Historic preservation district. If your area has one, almost every building within it can make it’s own article, and you can get some great pictures too. Don’t stop there. Dig around a bit and see if you can find out who started the district – bet there’s at least one story there.
Many towns and cities have one sort of Historical Society or another. They can provide all sorts of information for you.
Statues and markers. If you’ve got statues, see if you can not only write about the statue – the who, what, why etc., but of both the sculptor and how it came to be commissioned. Many of the older historic markers were built during the Depression, often by the WPA (Works Progress Administration.) The local Chamber of Commerce or Historical Society may be able to tell you interesting facts that will make up a good article.
Theatre groups. If you’ve got a little theatre group or an organization that reads plays, chances are there is some interesting history there – just ask.
Local service clubs like the Masons, Elks, Lions, Rotary and any Veterans organization are likely to have historical stories to tell. In rural areas you may find a Grange or Farm Bureau.
Don’t forget the women’s clubs. Many towns and cities have a Woman’s Club or at least a Woman’s Club building. The history of those can be fascinating. Many of the men’s service club also have a woman’s arm – ask about it.
Check with your local newspaper. Newspapers can be wonderful repositories of local history.
Local schools, from kindergarten on through university level are apt to have information about the area they’re in.
Every house of worship in your service area has some sort of history it would like to tell. Churches can be great places to discover the oldest person your neighborhood – might be a great interview opportunity.
Each of these sources and many more could keep you writing an article or two a month for years – you’d have fun, meet some wonderful folks, and some of your web audience will come back over and over again and talk about your site – which is exactly what you want.
Do you have questions about writing historical articles or posts? Ask below in the comments section.