Patch Pain Obscures Success of Indie Hyper local News

The rise and fall of PATCH, the hyper local news network from AOL is a red herring – a tactic to divert attention away from what really matters. While ink stained editors & broadcast newsrooms snicker at the mis-steps of the top heavy PATCH, there’s a growing cadre of lean & mean indies flying under the radar and picking up steam.

Did you notice those important & most accurate things CEO TIM ARMSTRONG said about PATCH & Hyper-Local recently? “I still believe local will be a big opportunity whether it is Patch or someone else. The theory was that Patch would use a single news person and a single advertising person, at least initially”

The New York Times added some sanity to the discussion by reporting the decision to start at such a large scale was crippling. We agree. The Patch name and organization may die, but Armstrong’s vision lives on with indie efforts like BrigantineNOW, The Batavian, The Ballston Journal, Delaware Business Daily,  etc.
Patch was poisoned by consultants, geeks, tenured professors and old school journos with a Facebook page. 

So does any of this negative PATCH patter have any real impact on the world of hyper local news, info and commerce? Nope.

The real action in the hyper local space is not happening at AOL, newspapers in decline or broadcast strategies like WCPO-TV online and their paywall deathtrap. Rather, hyper local is thriving almost everywhere else in a variety of forms, doing what they do best: pulling dollars out of the market.

Reach Local, Angies List, Google Ad Words, Pandora and ‘promoted’ Facebook posts are high profile examples of where many local ad dollars are headed. Every local dollar that Facebook grabs…is one less for the local newspaper or broadcast rep.

But wait, it gets worse… or better…. depending on your point of view. Hundreds of hyper local success stories can also be found attracting dollars at the micro level, like our very own BrigantineNOW, The Batavian from ex-Gatehouse exec; Howard Owens, and the now paperless: The Ballston Journal from Angela McFarland.

Local Media Blasphemy: it’s deadly to manage hyperlocal as primarily a local news effort controlled by someone with mainly a newsroom or journalism background. There, I said it……how much market, revenue & mind share must local traditional media lose before they see this elephant in the room.

Maybe it’s time to run your digital platforms with a PROFIT FIRST strategy? ( Just like you run your traditional business )

Hyper local is more than just neighborhood news. It’s also content, community and commerce related to a specific area or activity. Sometimes traditional journalism and news is nowhere to be found. Much to the chagrin of grizzled newsroom vets, local content is also being created and shared by……wait for it……..advertisers. (gasp)

When a small restaurant blogs their latest recipe or a travel agent posts pics via Instagram, they become publishers. When a Realtor creates a site devoted to their Real Estate listings via the MLS, combined with local school & attraction info, they just became a publisher. And when that web-savvy Realtor carves out money from their marketing budget to build a cool website or email marketing plan, those are marketing dollars the local media rep is no longer going to have a shot at.

Need help with hyper local revenue, WordPress and digital sales training? Just call or email Mel Taylor Media. We love this stuff.

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