What have we learned about managing a WordPress powered, hyper-local news and info website since 2011? The following is a list of best practices. Ignore them at your peril.
WordPress is the best online publishing platform.
Now serving of 30% of the world’s websites. Even 3rd party companies that claim to specialize in Broadcast or Newspaper websites, borrow heavily from the modular, open source nature of WordPress. While WIX & Square space may look interesting, just stick with the self-hosted version of WordPress. See WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
No if’s, ands, or buts. Want to properly cover a market with news & info? Ya gotta live there. Importing a journo or VJ to produce and edit news in a particular town is not recommended. Home grown is best. They have real skin in the game. Less likely to throw editorial stink bombs from the next town over. Better positioned to make tough decisions. ex: Should we expose the Mayor’s potential conflict?
Hyper-Local News Coverage Footprint.
One of newspaper’s (and radio) greatest strengths, is ironically, one of it’s biggest weakness. Nothing worse for a small business to waste money on reaching consumers not in their target geography or preferred zip codes. Few care about issues a few towns over. Radio and Newspaper typically have too much of a broad reach, of the wrong people. Internet based marketing addresses that problem.
Picking the right coverage footprint is critical. Sometimes it’s the whole town. Sometimes, if large enough, it’s just a neighborhood.
Hyper-Local Business Models for News.
Display banner ads are but one of many revenue generators to consider. Banners have their limits, especially if you’re foolish enough to price them using a CPM model. Flat fee is better, especially for smaller sites with passionate readership. Most Mom and Pops will not take the time to understand page-views, unique visitors and CPM’s. Sell them in THEIR language. Flat fee.
Stop thinking that you’re in the NEWS business. There is no such thing. Rather, you’re in the AUDIENCE AGGREGATION, STORY TELLING, INFO SHARING and RETAIL BOOSTING business. News is purely the bait needed to fuel the business.
Blasphemy. Shame. Horror. How dare I disparage the News industry like that. Relax. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. News gathering and journalism is more important than ever, but it DOES NOT drive the bus.
Digital Marketing and Advertising Services
Are local businesses clamoring to place their ads next to your wonderful news stories? No. Why these mom & pop’s spend money….is to reach your aggregated audience.