Tag Archives: revenue

Getting serious about hyperlocal, part 3: Money, money, money!

Parts 2 and 3 of this series covered legal issues and journalism. Now I’m going to cover that big elephant in the room: money.

Much (most, all?) of the hyperlocal efforts at the moment are voluntary, passion-driven projects. Many I’m sure cost only time; it’s easy enough to run a site on WordPress.com for free for example. However, plenty are paying for web hosting, travel, equipment and more. And while most hyperlocals aren’t for-profit ventures, it’s far better for them to be not-for-profit than anything else.

So how do they achieve this? Here are a few suggestions;

  • Advertising – e.g. using a system like Addiply
  • Business directory – like that in use on Visit Horsham
  • Estate agent listings – the newspapers do it, so why not us?
  • Job listings – same as above, why not?
  • Selling content – articles could be sold on to franchises like AboutMyArea, The Best Of or even local newspapers
  • Print version to be sold in shops
  • Classifieds (perhaps using Oodle)
  • Eating out guide, with restaurants given opportunity to enhance their listing for a fee
  • Entertainment guide with a similar option for venues
  • Sponsorship – for example, the sponsor of the local football team may sponsor all the posts about the club
  • T-shirt range – like BiNS is doing
  • Gifts & novelties – sell locally significant stationery, stickers, posters, flags, anything!
  • Lead generation for local businesses (thanks to Craig McGinty)
  • Targeted affiliate stories/advertising features that relate locally, e.g. to the local football team (c/o Craig McGinty again)
  • Swapping services for adverts (okay, not strictly making money but could pay/provide for much needed resources (via Ventnor Blog)
  • Market research (from Martin)

You might think, “Phil, why are you giving us all these ideas, surely this is stuff you should keep to your chest and make lots of money for yourself!” Maybe, maybe not but we need to get serious about making hyperlocal pay so let’s talk about it.

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments and on Twitter #HLA.

£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…