What we do each day at Total|Local Media is out there for anyone to see. All of it is based on principles that guide how we do it. We’re keeping the exact ingredients to ourselves and for our news site partners, but here are the seven points of overall emphasis that constitute our “secret sauce.”
- An emphasis on good journalistic writing. We’re proud of our own writing and coverage, which has included not only timely and breaking news but also detailed topical pieces. We have run several ongoing series which highlight some aspect of current or past life in the communities in which we operate.
- 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 that core remains.
- An emphasis on curation. We certainly didn’t invent curation, but we are huge fans. 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 others. We want our readers to have access to the best coverage whether it is ours or not.
- An emphasis on cost practicality and revenue. The first month that 1812Blockhouse generated net revenue occurred very quickly as compared to other news operations. To be successful, news operations need to emphasize frugality and practicality — and that’s incredibly practical. Our cost per acquired reader numbers are truly insane.
- 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 also our sites.
- An emphasis on being quick, flexible, responsive, and innovative. Often a community or coverage need suggests use of a new tools for sharing information, and we are always looking for new ways to bring value to our readers. We also routinely ditch journalistic conventions that fail to have current relevance. Over the last several months, we have embraced AI and use it creatively and forcefully.
- An emphasis on local. Each week, and often each day, the other sites in our markets 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.
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 the Total|Local Media approach 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.