Behind every successful hyperlocal news website is a robust content management system. Although many publishers have adapted general-purpose systems like WordPress and Drupal to meet their needs — and others, like Patch and Sacramento Press, have built their own technology platforms from scratch — new CMS platforms are being developed specifically with the needs of local and regional publishers in mind. By doing away with plug-ins and themes that aren’t essential for media publications, the creators of these CMS platforms are making it easier for publishers to launch and manage their own hyperlocal sites.
Here are seven CMS platforms that publishers can use to run local news websites.
1. Metro Publisher
Metro Publisher is a tool that local and regional content providers can use to manage the back-end of their online publications. In addition to its powerful content management system, which publishers can use to post articles, videos, and slideshows, Metro Publisher offers a number of ad sales tools and location-based mapping features. Metro Publisher clients include Arlington Mercury, Barcelona Metropolitan, and The Chattanooga Pulse. The company charges publishers a monthly fee for its platform, and requires a minimum contract of just one month.
WhichBox is a content creation and management system that offers turn-key solutions for publishers and media companies. The platform’s “organic storytelling” tools allow users to create their own content using text, videos, and photos. WhichBox is fully-integrated with an ad serving platform, e-commerce tools, and third-party email marketing applications. TownSquareBuzz.com is built on WhichBox’s publishing platform. Publishing partners pay a one-time implementation fee, which varies based on the amount of customization needed, along with a monthly fee of $1,995.
Local publishers with sites in multiple markets can publish content in hundreds of communities simultaneously using VeriLocal’s content management system. Contributors can publish all types of content—including written posts, videos, and photos — from their iPhones and iPod Touch devices, while publishers can focus on ad sales creation and distribution. VeriLocal publishers include Grassroots News International. The company says it can lower a publisher’s admin costs by up to 80 percent.
Regional magazine publishers looking for a better way to bring their print content online can use Godengo’s Rivista content management system to manage and distribute their content on the web. Rivista’s suite of tools facilitate advanced content tagging, user commenting, polling, reader blogs, and surveys. Regional publications currently using Godengo’s Rivista platform include Sun Valley Magazine and Aspen Sojourner. Godengo says most publishing partners experience a 25% to 125% increase in traffic in the first six-months after launching with its platform.
VillageSoup offers platform licensing for hyperlocal publishers. The company’s platform works by using a series of modules that allow reporters to post their own stories, while also helping publishers create and manage community forums and commenting features. VillageSoup’s enterprise edition offers four methods of revenue generation for publishers: memberships, web ads, classifieds, and real estate listings. Participating sites include The Republican Journal and Fairfield Ledger. Publishers who opt to use VillageSoups’ enterprise edition can license the company’s software as needed, rather than purchasing it outright.
6. Radiate Media
Community newspaper publishers looking for a better way to manage their online properties can turn to Radiate Media. The company, which was created after Matchbin acquired NAVTEQ Media Solution’s Radio and Television Group in November 2011, offers digital CMS solutions that make it easy to publish audio and video, send breaking news alerts to readers via SMS, and create websites optimized for the mobile web. Past Matchbin clients include the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Daily Sparks Tribune, and Rome News-Tribune.
Publishers who don’t have any technical experience will appreciate MediaSpan’s “click-to-publish” CMS interface, which allows content producers to set up sites and publish stories to multiple online properties without any HTML knowledge necessary. MediaSpan’s platform supports story commenting, social bookmarking, interactive polls, and content syndication. MediaSpan’s client roster includes large media companies, such as Gannett, Radio One, and Scripps.
Know of other content management systems built with hyperlocal publishers in mind? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.