Creating HyperLocal sites

Creating HyperLocal sites – Part 2

(Part 1 was featured in my newsletter, Letter from Phil issue 397)

Creating hyperlocal sites is in so much demand that Cardiff University in Wales is setting up a centre of excellence. The centre will provide training and advice in areas such as media law and digital technology.

Manager Emma Meese said (to Roy Greenslade of The Guardian) “There are lots of hyperlocal sites pinging up everywhere but often without any guidance. We aim to have a fantastic network of hyperlocal sites and work with them to find out what help and support they need.”

In my newsletter, Letter from Phil 397, I wrote about the success of The Kentish Towner, but here are a few other thriving examples of this kind of hyper local website. 

They’re all more ‘newsy’ than the Kentish Towner so unless you team up with journalists they’d be harder to do. Personally I much prefer the format of the Kentish Towner. The others are too much like online versions of local newspapers.

http://westseattleblog.com/

http://brokelyn.com/

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/

Here’s a good Australian one http://the-riotact.com/ Australians will think that’s a very clever, witty name for the Canberra based site, but the rest of you will be puzzled. Canberra (not Sydney) is the capital of Australia, and it’s in a state, or rather territory called the Australian Capital Territory.

And a few UK ones

http://www.westhampsteadlife.com/

http://digbeth.org

http://www.kingtonblackboard.org/

If the idea of creating and running a hyper local appeals to you, read this article from The Guardian (UK). It’s written by Stephen, from The Kentish Towner, and explains the way they work.

To quote a bit of it “There can be a tendency for sites that deal with narrow communities to mimic local newspapers with a few added digital bells and whistles. Our modus operandi is hopefully more broad-reaching and glossy: rather than posting very few features a month, we publish 30-40 articles, with an emphasis on lifestyle and entertainment to appeal to our multicultural, diverse audience.

With our content we hope to strike a balance between light-hearted and worthiness; we leave news to existing titles.”

If creating such a site appeals to you, spend some time studying the sites I’ve linked to. Take the best ideas from each of them and map out the steps you need to take, and the changes you need to make to suit your town, city, or suburb.

It takes a lot of work, but there’s potential to make big money. Around 10 years ago a man I knew sold his local news site to a big company for $4 million. You’ll probably be happy with a fraction of that, and perhaps you’ll have fun along the way. Think of all those benefits like free tickets for theatre productions, and star treatment and freebies when you’re reviewing cafes and restaurants 🙂

Comments

  1. Byron Welch says:

    I enjoyed it, and some food for thought also what more can you ask?

  2. Bill Burdin says:

    Great article Phil, very informative and provides food for thought. Looks like you are back on top of the game