Advertising, General, Journalism

IT’S A *BIG* QUESTION FOR 2011: WHAT IS THE LIKES OF A RICHARD JONES WORTH TO HIS COMMUNITY? AND WHY WE SHOULDN’T SELL OURSELVES SHORT.

I’m very wary of stealing some thunder out of a piece that WannabeHacks kindly asked me to write as part of their #Hyper-local week next week.saddleworthnews-300x240

So I shall try not to go too far down that road.

But this weekend has seen some decent conversations abound – not least with the BlogPreston people, Ed, Andy and Jo, in particular.

Because having built themselves an audience – a ‘brand’ – aroundhttp://blogpreston.co.uk/ their next *big* question is deciding just how much their advertising space is worth for engagement with that audience…

And they are not alone in this; and, in a sense, it’s none of our business Addiply-wise. All we ever do is dish out a piece of kit – a tool – that empowers the likes of Ed, Andy and Jo to ponder these questions for the first time.

But you can sense the same thought process going on deep in the bowels of King’s Place as GNM ponder what a 300sq ad space might be worth onwww.guardian.co.uk/leeds/ if a text ad space is worth a tenner a week…

Ian on www.JesmondLocal.com must have gone through a similar thinking before finally settling on £30 per week; I suspect Nigel and Co onhttp://insidethem60.journallocal.co.uk/ will be scratching their heads, doing the sums…

We’ve built the audience, nurtured our brand, sweated our butts, burned the midnight oil; now… what are *we* worth?

And these are big, big questions for the future local/hyper-local media landscape in this country; just as man cannot live by bread and water alone, nor can the likes of Philip John and Ross Hawkes live on tenner a weeks on the laudable www.thelichfieldblog.co.uk

In a sense, we all have to grow up – and get real.

This was interesting; and almost slipped through the net longer comment-wise:

http://digitalmedia.strategyeye.com/article/AIC9LiBbXGs/2011/01/06/feature_the_display_ad_revolution/

The line – for obvious reasons – that leaps out for me is the one re FaceBook; once again, we may well be in their debt…

‘eMarketer analyst David Hallerman partly credits Facebook’s growing ad success to its self-serve platform, which makes buying display ad space possible for even the smallest businesses…’

The point overall, however, is simple; that there is plenty of life left in the ever so ‘umble banner ad – *particularly* if you can put it within reach, simply, of even the smallest businesses… that might be based in Jesmond, Preston, Leeds, Manchester, Saddleworth… etc etc.

But what’s our audience worth? That’s the question that dogs the next generation of online publishers; and my answer is probably this: ‘More than you might currently imagine…’

I look with the greatest admiration at the way in which Richard ‘Man With A Pram’ Jones covered the recent by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth.saddlempbyel-300x208

As he revealed on Twitter the other evening as I did my ‘research’ for the WannabeHacks piece, his monthly uniques for December were 21,000.

He has already gone beyond that for this month. But, for argument’s sake, let’s suggest www.saddleworthnews.com now has a monthly audience some 20,000-strong.

And, yes, clearly there will have been an upsurge in interest thanks to the by-election; just as there will have been a ‘lift’ in the circulation figures for the Oldham Evening Chron, whose football pages used to be graced by one Tony Bugby.

The average nightly circulation of the Chron? It’s here…

http://www.abc.org.uk/Data/ProductPage.aspx?tid=20950

The price of a single, quarter page ad in the Evening Chron? For one night? I don’t know. But I doubt its a tenner for a month.

Now if Lynne Anderson of Newspaper Society fame were here amongst us, I have absolutely no doubt that we would be charged with comparing apples with pears; that the true custodians of local news and values can only be the regional newspapers; that headline circulation figures ignore the fact that in every terraced house in Oldham East and Saddleworth there are 3-4 adults poring over every page; that the ‘reach’ of the Chron extends journeys into the very depths of Greater Manchester itself… that within that ‘patch’, advertisers have the opportunity to ‘reach’ some 220,000 punters across the borough… etc, etc…

So how can we ever hope to put a price on a banner ad onwww.SaddleworthNews.com and run a comparison with the value that Hirst, Kidd and Rennie Ltd have long put on a print ad space?

But as the likes of Richard and SaddleworthNews start to find their feet in this new world of our – start to be the first of, hopefully, #1000flowers to bloom – those sort of comparisons need to be pondered.

And maybe that’s the message to this tiny, hyper-local kingdom of ours; don’t under-value your worth to your local community and the opportunity you are starting to deliver.

Be bold, be brave and be confident in this new arena; don’t sell yourself short.

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