What we do day in and day out at Total|Local Media is out there for anyone to see. All of this is based on principles that guide what we do and how we do it. We’re keeping the exact ingredients to ourselves for the moment, but here are the seven points of emphasis that constitute our “secret sauce.”
1. An emphasis on organic news coverage. Instead of relying solely on a cumbersome reporter-editor construct, the decision was made early on to maximize reader-generated content to the greatest possible extent. The types of submitted and curated posts have evolved since launch, but the emphasis remains the same.
2. A strong emphasis on curation. We certainly didn’t invent curation, but we are huge fans. For the consumer in almost any sized community, information is available from numerous sources, including the hundreds of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts each day. It is simply impossible for a single publication to cover everything. We curate in several ways, including through collected tweets, daily compiled links to the best stories from other media (yes, Virginia, we link to and drive traffic to the “competition” each and every day and love it), social media collection, and in other ways.
3. An emphasis on cost practicality and revenue. The first month that 1812Blockhouse generated net revenue occurred very quickly as compared to other news operations. During the first two years of 1812Blockhouse, for instance, our total expenses were less than $1,000. That’s practical. Our cost per acquired reader numbers are truly insane.
4. An emphasis on open source. We find great benefit in being a part of the news publishing world that uses WordPress. All of the advantages of open source, including a network of builders constantly at work in improving a product, mesh very well with what we’re about. Flexibility, creativity, and innovation drive the WordPress development community and our sites.
5. An emphasis on being quick, flexible, and responsive. On several occasions since launching, the occasion has arisen at a moment’s notice where a community or coverage need suggests use of a new tools for sharing information. We also eschew journalistic conventions that fail to have current relevance. Cases in point — we edit our content continuously, and we use style guides but deviate when the occasion calls for it.
6. An emphasis on local. Really local. Each week, and often each day, the other sites in this market will post stories from neighboring communities and areas. We do as well, but only when that content either involves those in the area served, has local impact (such as state government news), or might be something that readers might want to experience in adjacent metro areas. The latter are infrequent and, when posted, are clearly marked as such.
7. An emphasis on innovation. There is nothing more fun than trying out new tools for new situations. We’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to do things that can bring value to our readers.
We’d be thrilled to share more about our operation and about north central and central Ohio, as there’s a great deal of background to all of the above that has not been covered in this quick overview. We also invite you to learn more about Total|Local Media and what it can bring to your community.
Email/DM/call/yell at us. We’d love to share more about all of this, including to your staff, class, or event!