Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hyperlocal: Two things to read

I've recently been following Street Fight magazine - an online publication focusing on hyperlocal that I find has a bit of a fresher take than many of the older sites I follow on such things. I'd recommend the daily RSS or email subscription.

Two things today caught my eye:

1) An interview with Carll Tucker, who has founded yet another regional/national hyperlocal effort, Main Street Connect. Tucker is at times condescending toward some of the pioneer sites started by individuals or small groups (like Westport Now and West Seattle Blog) - and he's adequately called out for it in the comments. But it's worth reading his take on things, if nothing else than for a different slant on CPMs (who needs 'em) and overall for approaching ad sales (parts of the annual visibility package do veer into advertorial, and from the example given I can't tell how much the lines are blurred with regular editorial). Tucker also reinforces the point that if you are going to do hyperlocal, you'd better have folks living in the community. And his formula for how many editorial employees per population is worth thinking about.

2) Rick Robinson has provoked some sharp comments with his Five Elements of a Successful Hyperlocal Site. The one that seems to have poked the bear the most is his suggestion that there's more value to owning the follow-up to a news story than in breaking it. Perhaps he inelegantly phrased it a bit, but I have to generally agree. Breaking news is great and sites should strive to do that, yes (people who know me will tell you, get me out in the field and I'm one of the most competitive SOBs you'll meet-not always my best quality {grin}). But from experience, it was the stories I truly owned by being first on what happened next that always got the best play and response. (My philosophy was always, OK, you beat me. Now, I'm going to own you.) So I think Robinson makes a good point, especially in this social media era, that winning the spot battle is one thing, but winning the conversation is where the long-term value is.

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