Two quick stories about two, different hyper-local sites. Hopefully, taken together, they can point towards a brighter future; of where I hope – nay, think – this world of ours might be going. And cards on the table; clearly I’m wittering on about this space with a commercial hat on. Both are Addiply ‘customers’. My hands aren’t whiter than white; as much as I enjoy turning the world upside down and trying to make those #1000flowers bloom.
I’ve always liked www.GreenerLeith.org Not because I’m particularly green and organic, but I just like it’s strong sense of community and place. Quite rightly, Alistair has won awards for his efforts; I think I’m right in saying he was feted early by No10 as David Cameron hosted a select gathering to talk the Big Society talk. And he’s always filled out his Addiply text slots with wholly appropriate advertisers; greener-minded folk who want to appeal to the same audience that Alistair writes for. In fact, they are probably all gathered round the same camp-fire.
When Alistair first launched Addiply, he set his rate at 25p per month.
Addiply remains just a tool; we don’t lay down laws regarding the value of the ad space around a community as strong and as vibrant as that that gathers around GreenerLeith. Because it is a bid model – and his site is a popular spot for greener Leith advertisers to place their brand – Alistair’s rate has now kicked on to 75p per month. It’s not a ‘get-rich-quick’ plan for either of us. But the relationship between Alistair and his advertisers feels ‘right’; there’s a warmth and an appreciation there.
They don’t, for example, have to unravel the mysteries of a Google AdWords campaign to find their way to Alistair’s blog. Likewise, Alistair doesn’t have to fret that AdSense will deliver him a TescosLocal text ad; or someone that was neither green nor local. Last week and we gained another new addition. www.JesmondLocal.com. For me, Leith in Edinburgh and Jesmond in Newcastle aren’t wholly dissimilar. They probably both have more than their fair share of Guardian readers; more than the expected number of independent coffee shops.
Ian arrived unannounced; as people tend to do. His side sky-scraper was there; out of the blue. He had set his own rate of £30 per week. I believe Ian is a freelancer for The Guardian; I’m not sure. We haven’t spoken. But what is interesting is the judgement call that he’s made to pitch his bar at £30 per week. Jesmond is a rich area, relatively. There isn’t one size that is going to fit all price-wise. But my early sense is that he will find a taker or two at that price; someone will have a nibble. They can see the traffic; they can make a judgement. I know of two people that were pondering; by the time this is read, someone might have bought that space at that price.
Why is this important? Because at £30 a week, Ian starts to cover his costs. And, maybe, go a bit beyond. Find three or four well-heeled Jesmond advertisers looking to take that space at that price and he’s pulling £500 a month, maybe? Minus the 3% to PayPal; the 7% to Addiply.
But the lesson here for me is about the confidence that demonstrates; and all too often, that’s what I think people lack. They undervalue both themselves and their ad space. Richard Jones – the Man With The Pram – did a superb job on www.SaddleworthNews.com covering the recent by-election. Saddleworth is OK; Oldham isn’t… maybe that audience wouldn’t ‘bear’ £30 a week. But, for me, that’s the least Richard deserves as his audience heads up towards the 21,000 monthly unique mark. That is equivalent to the circulation figures of many a local weekly paper; better than a host of them.
And how much, to this day, do they charge for a quarter page ad on Page 43? More than 75p per month; more than £30 a week. It’s having that faith in your own worth and value that is the biggest challenge to the nascent hyper-local scene in this country.Think about your value to your community; have faith in the value you offer and start to think accordingly.
Take the L’Oreal approach; because you’re worth it.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look