Tag Archives: media

£72.50/mth ain’t bad for The Lichfield Blog

The Lichfield Blog logo

What started as ‘suck it and see’ exercise is now generating over £70 in ad revenue each month for The Lichfield Blog. With 7 out of 8 ad spots now taken up on the blog I’m wondering whether there is some money to be made here…

We’ve made very little effort to actually tell people about the ad slots, other than a few tweets, so our advertisers appear to see value in snapping them up. The last 30 days has seen close to 40,000 page views on The Lichfield Blog. For those interested in the advertising stats, that’s 25 pence for every thousand impressions for each advertiser and so far advertisers have paid around 50p for each click.

I think the per-click price is a bit much if I’m honest but then I’ve spent a lot of my career forcing CPCs down as far as I can without ever being satisfied…

Make no mistake, though, I’m not looking at these ads and thinking, “Hey, I could make a living from these ads!” I’m well aware of the impact falling ad revenues are having on newspapers so I’m not about to put my faith in advertising. However, having spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on online advertising campaigns I’ve learnt how to target campaigns. It’s basic marketing principles, really.

So I can see the potential. The next step for The Lichfield Blog – which is now being approached by national advertisers – is to get clever. All the ads currently get run of the site but how about letting Tempest Ford continue their sponsorship of the Lichfield Ladies RUFC on the web as well, by sponsoring their tag.

We have plenty of other sports teams as well which could use similar treatment. As Rick Waghorn suggested, maybe the Department of Health could target advertising on the blog based on their understanding of the health service needs of Lichfield residents?

There’s so much we could do, and advertising isn’t even the only way we could generate revenue to pay our costs, but that’s a blog post for another time…

Citizen journalism: Friend or foe to traditional media?

Recently I’ve become involved in a relative new project, The Lichfield Blog. As you may gather from the name it’s a blog, about Lichfield.

I’m really proud to be part of something that has such a switched on and engaged little team behind it.

It was especially gratifying to watch as the story of a fire in one of Lichfield’s pubs quickly made it onto the blog just 3 hours after the initial call to the emergency services. Obviously we were lucky to have one of our team walk past at the right moment with a camera phone – a photo quickly made it’s way on to Twitter and a few tweets later the post was up.

The blog’s creator, Ross, made a call to the fire service about the incident and learned that no-one else had picked up on the story yet. It seemed we had beaten the local media. Having seen other, more high-profile, stories break on Twitter that doesn’t surprise me but it did make me think about all this “newspapers are dead” talk.

The blog has a few hundred visitors now, which is great, but it’s never going to kill the newspapers in Lichfield. I wouldn’t want it to either – there are plenty of people throughout the world, not just in Lichfield, who like to read a paper.

So the question isn’t, “are newspapers going to die?”, but rather “how can newspapers use citizen journalism?”

A good example is the Pancake Race in Lichfield. Nick Brickett has been providing photography for The Lichfield Blog, his first assignment being the traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race. His photos of the event made their way onto the Express & Star web site (ironically, as I write this, said web site is down!)

This could be the way journalism is going. Another great example is Channel 4 News (who my Twitter followers will know full well I admire).

Their coverage of the Schiphol plane crash was very much driven by Twitter. I sat in front of Tweetdeck and watched it all unfold in front of my eyes, from them picking up the story, contacting an eye witness to putting a Twit on the lunch time news. It was a first for them and possibly for journalism in the UK.

Krishnan Guru-Murphy of Channel 4 News says that Twitter is “just another way of finding people and talking“.

I suspect some journalists will treat services like Twitter and citizen journalism in general as a threat rather than an asset. I’ve heard of publications shutting down because they just can’t sustain themselves for much longer (obviously the ‘crunch’ doesn’t help) but instead of shutting down, I believe they should adapt and grow with the times.

And let’s face it, it’s cheaper to do it online!

Do you think the internet is a threat to traditional media, or should traditional media adapt and embrace services like Twitter as sources for news?