Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hyper-local, Part II

Keeping the discussion going

Carll Tucker responds to comments left from our Saturday post (see original story here):

"Thanks, R and Anonymous, for your comments. After two decades as a community news publisher and hanging out with other community news publishers, I know there are lots of folks who care about their community.

"They want to know about their kids’ schools and games, their houses of worship, the value of their homes, local crime, what local politicians are up to, who was born and who died, what’s doing over the weekend. Yes, some parents attend any given Little League game, but not all, and the ones who couldn’t attend want to hear about it (not to mention Gramps and Granny).

"Does an individual need our help starting such a site? No. It’s not rocket science. But it’s hard. How many people are expert at all the disciplines required: reporting, ad sales, technology, billing, community relations, promotion? One can spend one’s precious time learning all those things, but why not spend it gathering the news and rustling ads, the two keys to success? With our tools, experience, guidance, and launch capital, we can help local entrepreneurs get off to a faster, more profitable, and less risky start.

"Is that worth paying for? Depends on your point of view. To those who want to go it alone, we say, More power to you. The folks who’ve started viable community sites are our heroes – but there aren’t that many of them. Many communities in America have no local news right now (my wife and I live in one). In other communities, the local newspaper is wobbly.

"Our first objective is to assure quality local news in all the communities where the newspaper is doomed. We think we can help build success – but we’re rooting for all the other folks who are doing it too. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a high-quality community news site whose proprietor is making an OK living. Thanks again for your thoughts. C "

What do you think? Please add your comment.


David said...

I happen to agree with your goals, and see an opportunity as well for indy entrepreneurs. "Hit 'em where they ain't" has always been a sound marketing strategy, and if your local market has no news presence, that is obviously an opportunity.

How much of an opportunity is the question.

Depending on demographics, connectivity, local merchant base & presence of TV/radio, the opportunities might be kind of tricky. I'd be interested in seeing what kind of ad sales package you have, since that is going to be a big sticking point with many journalists used to ignoring what goes on on the other side of the editorial/business wall.

I am working with a couple of news site entrepreneurs, and I have nothing but respect for anyone trying to carve out a niche for themselves at such a chaotic time (and under such generally apocalyptic economic conditions). Hell, I'm trying to do that myself.

Also: do your packages include e-commerce solutions to allow your microsites to benefit from community donations? In many of the startups I've seen, the path to the future seems to lie with having multiple revenue streams.

Carll Tucker said...

Hey David,

There isn't room here to lay out our whole approach, but I think we can answer most of your questions. You can reach me @ carlltucker@mindspring.com if you'd like to continue the dialogue. Thanks for asking,


Anonymous said...

There are a few key points for a successful hyper local:

The area needs to have just recently lost its local coverage or it is about to be lost

Have no other viable hyperlocal news coverage source online or broadcast is already in existence for the area

Have active city planning and/or financial issues or have a history of malfeasance that creates a large community watchdog attitude

Only then can other factors be looked at such as the number of businesses available to sell/create as advertisers within that designated area be considered. In all likelyhood, if they exist within the area and they have lost other outlets, they may be interested in this new enterprise.

Would part of your assistance ever be identifying these prime areas?