The local news industry is changing by leaps and bounds mostly because of digital disruption. This has sparked the interest of many to build a business around the concept of sharing the latest news with their local community. But how do you start when you know nothing about how newspapers made money in the past?
Having worked with local employment agencies to hire staff for big names out there, I have got a chance to closely work with digital magazines. This inspired me to launch a local news website for my home town in Mississippi. From my experience, I would say launching a website is easy but making a name and building a fan following isn’t. While there is no short cut to success but with these tips, you can avoid some bumps on the journey of launching your site.
- Create a Brand
- Stick to a Mission
- Share Topics That Excite the Readers
- Finding Things Must Be Easy
- Build a Network
- Let Everyone Participate
- Spread the Word
- Start Hiring Staff
- Share Your Content on Third Party Sites
1: Create a Brand
Your site shouldn’t be just another website. Create a brand identity to build loyal customers. Great brands stand for something. Your site must express a unique mission of your business, its history, culture, values, and personality.
2: Stick to a Mission
Your mission probably would be to help the local community find all the latest news and updates in a single location. Make sure you stick to it. As you create content and share information, keep it consistent so that your readers know what to expect.
Share positive information about your community. Stay true so that your audience finds you credible. There is no better news for your business to be recognized as a credible and positive source of information for your community.
3: Share Topics That Excite the Readers
Don’t just stick to reporting on town government, local schools, events, and other happenings. A fairly good amount of population in your community would like to hear about something else. Topics that excite them. Offer them something entertaining as well.
4: Finding Things Must Be Easy
More than local news, readers like to learn what’s going on in their area. And Google is not very good that at. Why not use that to your advantage? When it comes to identifying places to eat, most users use Foursquare or Yelp.
What if your local news site has all that information and reviews from people of the community, whom the readers know personally? Make sure your search acts that way. Write about local businesses and offer more than just a review. Your focus must be adding quality content that’s valuable to your readers.
5: Build a Network
You cannot share information about local causes, events, businesses, and groups without creating a network. A network where information is easy to access and easy to share. That means you need to get the name of your local site out there and build a rapport with local newsmakers.
Once that’s done, they will send press releases and other trending information over to you for sharing. Building a reputation like this would take some time in the beginning but once the press releases start rolling in, the rest is history.
6: Let Everyone Participate
Have you ever wondered why social networks have taken off successfully? It’s by giving everyone a voice. Your readers must have a voice on your local news site as well. This also includes local business owners.
Every individual that engages with your website strengthens your brand. And when you let people in the community promote things they value or they want to search, your revenue would double. Google shares the same revenue model, you know.
7: Spread the Word
Come up with ways to get the word about your blog to potential readers. You can choose social media for that and use digital advertising methods. It’s recommended to use traditional marketing tricks as well for reaching out to the locals.
Find a way you can push your name out there. For instance, why not trade ads on your site for advertising local events? The more advertising you do, the more your site will grow.
8: Start Hiring Staff
Initially, you won’t be able to afford a team. But as your site continues to grow, this would not be a one-man operation. You cannot do it on your own. So as your business grows, start hiring employees. A great team comes a long way in reaching out to more people.
9: Share Your Content on Third Party Sites
Make your content available on Google Home and Amazon Echo. Find local partners to promote your brand. If authority third-party sites are sharing your content, it will help a lot with building credibility and reaching out to more people.
Now that you have some valuable tips up your sleeves, get up and get going with your local news site. Make sure it has a minimalist interface to make information search and scanning easier. When your site kickstarts and successfully builds a reputation, keep on adding new sections such as job listing with some hiring for small business tips, opportunities of guest blogging and any other novel idea.