6 Digital Marketing Platforms For Hyperlocal Publishers

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your_ad_hereAs print newspaper advertising continues its decline — total ad revenue dropped 8.5% last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America — hyperlocal publishers are well positioned to step in and take over the reins as the go-to source for small business advertisers looking for ways to promote their brands.

In order to truly capitalize on this sea change, online publishers need to offer the services that local merchants are looking for. No longer satisfied with static banner ads, merchants are increasingly demanding digital agency-type services from their local news publications. Here are six platforms that publishers can use to expand their offerings to small business advertisers.

1. Datasphere: Use technology to form local connections.
Datasphere offers a turnkey technology solution that independent online publishers and larger media groups can use to capture small business advertisers. The company’s suite of services includes neighborhood targeting for homepage ad units, events calendars, deals, and a hyperlocal news platform that media companies can use to create individual news sites for each community they serve. The company has already partnered with more than 120 local publishers, and works with media partners on a “revenue share basis.”

2. LocalVox: Content marketing solutions for local publishers.
LocalVox partners with local publishers of all sizes to provide content marketing solutions. Publishers can create additional streams of revenues by offering websites (both traditional and mobile), email marketing, and social media marketing services to their small business clients. Paid content can be syndicated into advertorial sections to leverage the publisher’s brand and audience, and smaller publishers can automatically enroll in LocalVox’s merchant referral program to generate more revenue. LocalVox offers a revenue share for publisher partners on an ongoing basis.

3. BlankSlate: Create new revenue streams on your site.
For small, independent publishers every ad dollar counts. BlankSlate is a tool that hyperlocals can use to make sure they aren’t leaving anything on the table. The company offers tools to create paid real estate listings, classified sections, directories, and calendars to their websites, giving publishers a way to target VSBs (very small businesses) that want to establish a web presence without paying for large banner ads. These features also provide a service to readers, who can view real estate listings or community calendar information without leaving the publisher’s site. Blankslate works with publishers on a revenue sharing basis.

4. iSocket: Build a self-service ad portal.
iSocket has a proposition that’s hard to beat, encouraging publishers to “make more money in less time” by adding a self-service ad portal to their sites. Busy sales teams can onboard more advertisers in less time by encouraging them to buy and schedule ad campaigns using iSocket’s integrated tools. The platform can be set up to honor discounts or deals that reps have negotiated with clients, and requires no exclusive inventory agreements with publishers. iSocket charges 0% for in-house orders, and 9% for self-serve orders (including all payment processing and serving costs).

5. Wave2 Media: Add classified listings to your site.
Publishers are always looking for ways to create new revenue streams. Wave2 Media offers tools that publishers can use to create online classifieds and marketplaces. The company’s iPublish Classified system integrates with existing publishing systems, and automatically guides users towards the correct ad package (so sales reps don’t have to), with content suggestions and category selections. The company also offers an ad portal that publishers can use to add paid real estate listings and obituaries to their websites. Wave2 offers a variable pricing structure based on the specific solutions that a publisher needs.

6. MediaSpan: Streamline the sales process with SMB advertisers.
MediaSpan offers two services, AdManagerPro and AdInfinitum, that publishers can use to streamline their advertising processes and reach more SMB clients. Sales teams can manage clients, generate sales lists, and deliver email campaigns. They can also give their SMB clients access to “all components of the advertising process,” effectively creating a self-service ad solution that decreases the time sales reps spend with each advertiser and opens the door to more spending opportunities. MediaSpan offers multiple pricing options, and lets publishers choose between a SaaS or self-hosted solution.

Know of other tools that publishers can use to expand their advertising and marketing offerings? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.