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Generating income from a #hyperlocal | Presented at #JES2015

3 min read

Following guidance from Sarah Hartley, who's chair of the panel that I'm speaking on at the first Journalism Enterprise Summit (#JES2015), below are a list of things that we've tried over nearly ten years of running our Isle of Wight News publication, OnTheWight.

Sarah impressively boiled down her speaking guidance to three points: What have you done?; What have you learned by doing it?; and, What are you doing next?.

Below are the first two. They're made up of our experience, of course others may have had completely different outcomes.

If they don't make sense, or need more clarity, do get in touch.


What have you done?What have you learned by doing it?
Gained the trust of the Island - Quite a challenge
Published 23k articles
Built a commenting community - 112k comments
Built uniques peaking at 100k/month
Readers will support you - become advocates
Their loyalty brings protection and they will 'Fight your corner'

News in and of itself doesn't pay -
- Brings attention, but time consuming to create
- Barrier to entry is forever dropping
- Unsure that the majority appreciate quality
 Tried and stopped  
As VB - Had non-standard sized adverts Don't do it!
Art work will have to be custom
You can't use ads from ad networks
Social media campaigns Take care - don't pollute your social media stream
Competitions Don't bother. Applications are limited even for massive prizes - Dream Holiday - New kitchen
Built Web sites Takes you away from your core business
Client back and forth extensive
Long term commitment
Presenting / Fronting other videos Not bad
Decent money
 What we've stuck with  
Event promotions Generally easy
Unsure - Are they too cheap?
Display ads You need someone dedicated to sales - a sales person
Need good graphics skills - internally or externally
Educate clients - It's not just about clicks, it's about brand recognision
You need guidlines for ad creatives - It's your publication this will be on. Respect your readers' eyes - and their bandwidth
Sponsored Features (Native Ads in the new world!) It's highly effective for clients
Great distribution - Published to our site; 20k+ Social media; Highly placed in search results
Offering different packages - eg Small business start-up packages
Take Overs THE best way to be noticed
Quite bit of desigin/programming work - Three versions. Desktop/tablet/mobile
... but quite a bit of money
 Still trying to  
Have tried to recruit sales people You can try sales yourself - but mindsets are different. You also struggle to find the time
Don't pick just on personality - Doesn't work.
You need a 'closer' - An actual sales person with proven track record