Media companies – large and small – continue to look for ways to capture the huge market for local advertising (see here and here). Earlier this year, I posted a series of posts that surveyed the hyperlocal landscape – according to 5 core dimensions:
- Local News/Journalism
- Local Business/Commerce
- Local Advertising
- Local Community
- HyperLocal Business Models
- Enabling Technologies
I think I would now add one other dimension to this list:
- Local, Places, Things, and Events of Interest to me
But providing hyperlocal news and information as a viable business model has proved a challenging task for mainstream media organizations, as reflected by this post from Sean Carlton from March 2010 titled Is ‘Hyperlocal’ just hype?.
Witness for example, the New York Times decision to pass its community-driven blog in New Jersey to Baristanet.
Does this point to the failure of Hyperlocal for mainstream media organizations? Not so says Jeff Jarvis. In his own words:
For the record, I do not count The New York Times ending its New Jersey version of The Local and passing over its readers to Baristanet as a failure. The idea that The Times could have owned and run a blog with a journalist in every town and neighborhood in New York — let alone America — simply didn’t scale. The more important skill for The Times to learn is working with networks of independent entrepreneurs who own and run their own local enterprises.
TBD.com is a local/community newsite based in Washington DC that fully integrates social media tools and community into the newsgathering process. I borrowed those words from an excellent article by Vadim Lavrusik’s excellent review: TBD.com Takes a Community-Driven Approach to Newsgathering.
As Lavrusik points out, what most differentiates TBD.com is its network of local bloggers – 127 and counting – that will provide content and coverage for its site. This phenomenon of incoporating the local community and bloggers as fundamental participants in the news gathering process is sometimes referred to as Community Journalism – and it represents a profound change to how news is generated and reported in our communities.
So who’s behind TBD.com?
Just a few familiar names. TBD.com is led by Community Engagement Director Steve Buttry. Obviously this role is a highly strategic one, but it’s not like Buttry hasn’t thought about community engagement!
Location, Mobile, Video, and Social Media
All four will be key pillars of TBD.com’s strategy for sharing and delivering news and information to their communities.
In Summary …
With TBD.com, we’re seeing nothing short of a bold new attempt to reinvent local media – in terms of content, format, organization, and process. It should be an interesting experiment to follow.
A nice 10 minute-ish video with David Mihm on SEO strategies for Local Search:
This is the third in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:
In the previous post, we explored the dimensions of Hyperlocal News and Commerce. In this post, we will explore Local Advertising and Hyperlocal Community.
Local Advertising is definitely a key part of Local Business/Commerce, which I explored in the previous post. But local advertising can also be embedded within Local News and Local Community portals. Thus I’ve chose to deal with it as a separate topic.
Insights into Local/Hyperlocal Advertising
First off, I have a few favorite resources for keeping informed in the Local/Hyperlocal advertising space. These are:
Borrell Associates – headed up by CEO Gordon Borrell – also sponsors the Local Online Advertising Conference, which was held in New York city early this month.
Jeff Jarvis also frequently has compelling insights into Advertising strategies for Local News Media. For example, see his recent blog posts from February 2010: Stop selling scarcity and NewBizNews: What ad sales people hear.
Search Engine Marketing/SEO for SMEs
Obviously, SEM strategies are critical for any local online business on the web. My top go-to resources for local SEM/SEO insights are:
- Small Business Search Marketing by Matt McGee
- SEO by the Sea – Bill Slawski’s blog
- Understanding Google Maps and Local Search – Mike Blumenthal’s blog
- Chris Silver Smith
- The Noisy Channel – Daniel Tunkelang’s blog
- David Mihm
- Local SEO Guide – Andrew Shotland’s blog
- Search Engine Land
- John Battelle’s Searchblog
Big Ad Networks
On the solution provider front, you have the big ad networks around Search Engine marketing, some of which include:
Local Advertising Media/Platforms
A number of application/media providers – many with a mobile focus – are positioned to be significant players, including:
Niche/Regional-based Ad Networks and Services
Increasingly, however, you also have your niche/regional-based ad networks and service providers. Here’s some examples:
- Spot Runner
- Sacremento Press
- Village Voice Media
Bargains and Deals
Numerous vendors provide applications to notify consumers of bargains and deals in the local vicinity, including:
Additional Local Advertising Solution Providers
One more advertising solution provider I’ll mention:
So there you have it, a sampling of Local Advertising solution providers. Local Advertising should be a very interesting space to watch in 2010, particularly when it comes to mobile, location-based tools and technologies.
The Local Community view of HyperLocal is about information and events of interest to the Community. Information and Events around the Local Community may be contributed by businesses, community organizations, or municipal governmental sources, or it may be user-generated content contributed by the Community.
When you talk Community, by definition you are talking about Social Networks. Therefore, you have to consider the various social networking platforms, and particularly those that host large social graphs. I’m thinking here most specifically of:
Many of the HyperLocal News platforms are also positioning themselves as Local Community platforms. For example:
You also have open city initiatives/discussions such as those initiated by:
For additional information on open city initiatives, see here.
Then there are do-it-yourself City initiatives and tools, for example:
You have Local Event platforms, such as:
And finally, organizational and community tools around local causes. See:
This is really just a very small sampling of possible ways/platforms for organizing people within a geographic community. I look for a lot of innovation in this space over the next several years.
HyperLocal Business Models
This viewpoint explores various ways to make a HyperLocal business commercially viable. There’s some great pioneering work being done by Jeff Jarvis and the folks at CUNY here – see the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY, and Jarvis’ overview of the work on HyperLocal business models here.
More on this to come.
Steve Buttry is one of the old-school media guys/gals who’s trying to reinvent journalism and local newspaper business models for the digital age. In April 2009, he published a blog post titled A Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection, where he lays out his vision for the transformation of media companies for a digital age.
In the video below, Buttry talks about some of his ideas for how local media organizations have to reinvent their relationships with their community:
Buttry is the the C3 (Complete Community Connection) Innovation Coach for Gazette Communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Gazette’s website.
Yet another example of mainstream media seeking to reinvent themselves in a time of great change.
A very provocative article from Chris Silver Smith at Search Engine Land on Google’s algorithm for ranking local landmarks, which Google has recently branded as Favorite Places. This algorithm, often referred to as “PlaceRank”, was apparently first highlighted by Bill Slawski in 2007 in a post analyzing the related Google patent.
Silver Smith’s post goes on to explore how the Placerank algorithm gives prefential treatment to Wikipedia pages, as well as highlights a couple articles on optimizing for PageRank:
- Can Your Business Achieve Landmark Status In Google Maps? – Chris Silver Smith, December 2009
- Google PlaceRank in the wild – Ash Nallawalla, December 2009
For additional local search-related commentary, see additional recent Chris Silver Smith’s articles here.
Geolocation is certainly a dominant trend for 2010.
This past week, Google formally launched its Near me Now Search functionality, which enables one to discover places and things of interest that are nearby ones current location. Here’s a video of the Near me Now capability in action: