With the rise of social media and news aggregation sites, major publications aren’t the only publishers fielding national traffic these days. Any digital news source — no matter how hyperlocal its intended audience — can break news that goes viral and fascinates the nation — or even travels around the world. Often unexpectedly, a story gets retweeted, shared, covered, and linked to until the site traffic is more geographically diverse than a publication could have imagined.
But even though a locally focused site could be making an invaluable contribution to national public discourse, it often does so at the expense of local advertisers who see no added value in this influx of poorly targeted leads. So the question is: how do local publishers both benefit from the periodic bonanza of visiting traffic, and stay true to the local readers that their most sustainable revenue drivers want?
Here are four tips to generate income from guest traffic.
Recognize and Monetize National Stories Happening on Your Turf
Journalists deliver a more compelling narrative when they connect the personal to the political, and the local to the national. Not only are local readers more likely to share and discuss articles that illustrate how they fit into the bigger picture, but major publishers will pick up such stories more readily — empowering marketers to use the opportunity to connect with regional and national chains for advertising.
Reverse IP Lookup, GeoLocation.
Publishers can’t possibly target out-of-area readers if they don’t know where their traffic is coming from, literally. So, give the news site some location lookup capability and run frequent reports so that the ad marketing team can take full advantage of out-of-area consumers. If requesting permission is necessary, as in the case of geolocation, have the site prompt the inquiry once the reader begins browsing.
Form Partnerships with Other News Agencies
The more connected the world becomes, the more people become alienated from their own neighbors and communities. A great title or social media post can lead people to get lost in a strange land full of stories and marketing content of little relevance to them. By running reports on these lost sheep readers, you can identify who these viewers are and where they ought to look to find news impacting their community. Then, you can reach out to those publishers, and either refer new subscribers at cost or agree on an exchange program to have your lost flock returned to your care.
Add a Search Box to your SMB Directory that links with a National Search Brand
Local search directories are consistently relevant to people in the market for many services unless you’re dealing with a visiting reader. By partnering with a major search brand, local publishers can retain the visibility of their featured businesses while giving recourse to audiences outside of the area. That way, they can monetize web views regardless of the location.
The fact is, no news publication exists on an island. People, their stories, and their biggest concerns are more interwoven than ever, and communities have a potent and meaningful iconography. So, as your community and its people continue to contribute to the national narrative, form partnerships, and build strategies to ensure that being a part of the national discussion impacts your bottom line.
Manpreet Singh is Founder and President of TalkLocal, a local startup with apps on iPhone and Android which help consumers find and speak to high-quality local professionals in minutes. Follow him @MSinghCFA.