WATCH VIDEO > WordPress-powered websites, podcasting & social media continues to infringe upon legacy newspaper & radio titans. But are these new digital upstarts able to create sustainable business models for hyper-local news?
Is it possible to profitably monetize a community website? The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is hell yeah.
How do we make money with out network of WordPress sites focused on the South Jersey Shore?
Step number one. Don’t sell advertising based on the CPM model, cost per thousand.
CPM selling is nuts. All you’re doing is commoditizing your valuable inventory. Much better to do short-term fixed rate in order to find the sweet spot in terms of value supply and demand.
Banner ads, you will find, are probably the smallest part of your revenue opportunity when managing a WordPress powered hyper local news site.
Probably the most valuable benefit of building and maintaining a local news website is the influence that you have on a community, hopefully that influence is of a positive nature.
Being able to build and grow trust with your readership will pay off handsomely as you find that local advertisers want you to not only promote and advertise their services, but on occasion, they look for that endorsement from you the trusted source of news and information in the community. So, endorsements, organic mentions and advertorial… if done properly….are powerful ways of monetizing your hyper-local news efforts.
We started our network of WordPress powered news sites back in the Summer of 2011.
We saw that 75% of Jersey shore home owners were disconnected from local news and info. You see, most taxpayers in these small resort towns are part-time, summer-only residents.
Jersey shore 2nd home owners can’t vote, but they pay taxes. They don’t read local papers or listen to local radio. In effect, they’re in the dark with most local news. Bingo. I have an idea.
The Internet has become a digital town hall for these part-time folks. All relevant info will flow thru these digital tubes, thanks to a WordPress powered website.
Thx to the inter-webs, local newspapers and radio no longer has a monopoly on what is news…and what isn’t. They no longer control the narrative. Newspapers are no longer a platform of record. A greater level of transparency has returned. Community watchdog journalism is thriving once again, all thanks to the Internet.
Now, with 6 years of real world experience under our belt, we THINK we know how to effectively use WordPress, Podcasting, Email & Social Media to take the place / kill the local newspaper.
Ok. Maybe that’s too harsh to say ‘kill the local newspaper.’ Let’s just say… ‘helping Newspaper decline slowly and peacefully.’
WordPress, Podcasting, eMail and Social Media is what we leveraged to become a dominant voice in Atlantic City, Margate, Ventnor…. and all along the South Jersey shore.
We saw the problem. We had a hunch that we knew what the solution would be.
The problem: 75% of local taxpayers were literally in the dark about what was going on in the town where they had a second home. Not only could these second homeowners not vote, but they were unable to attend city Council meetings and listen to local radio and subscribe to local newspapers.
Solution: Create a news and information site powered by WordPress that keeps part-time residents in the loop. Provide alternative voice or point of view to the declining local newspaper called the Press of Atlantic City.
Making matters worse, the local news radio stations are in partnership with the newspaper. This creates a echo chamber of one voice and one perspective on the news. That’s a real problem that needed fixin’. So, we decided to fix that problem and make a business of it.