Jonathan Lloyd is the Co-founder & Publisher of Kings Road – a hyperlocal blog for the residents of the Kings Road
For local online media owners, pictures are one of the best ways to capture imagination and evoke feelings in a community. They can bring stories to life or just simply feature in a gallery section on a website.
Creating a Flickr community is a simple way for a local site to bring pictures together and into one central place. Once done, the Flickr group can quickly act as a local area’s timeline – recorded in pictures rather than words.
It’s also a way to raise the profile of an area by showcasing the latest images taken by both professional and amateur photographers. But perhaps more importantly, because pictures evoke feelings, they can be used to drive web traffic for local website owners too.
Setting up a Flickr group is relatively simple so here are three tips we’ve learnt with our Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/kingsroad/pool/) for King’s Road (http://kingsroad.co.uk) to make it a success.
1. Create a Flickr pool
The first step is to set up a Flickr group which any Flickr user can join and submit photos to.
The advantage of doing this is that if photos are not appropriate they can be removed with a couple of clicks. It’s also important because you’ll find people will want to get their business on your site in the easiest possible way. If you simply rely on showing photos with a tag, people will catch on to this as a way of filling your stream with unrelated images.
For a local media owner, creating a Flickr group pool makes it is much more manageable and invited users can submit up to six to ten photos per day.
2. Build relationships with contributors
The best part about the King’s Road Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/kingsroad/pool/) has been building relationships with the contributors. Although we have different people submitting photographs, we have four main contributors whose photos are of incredible quality. They both have different styles and capture different moods – this is invaluable.
As with any online community, it’s important to make an effort to identify these contributors and engage with them early on. Recognise their contributions and even better, arrange to meet them and share your ideas for the site. You’ll often find that they share the very same passion as you.
3. Share pictures with your community
One of the main ways you can encourage participation, is to share and promote contributor photos.
We make an effort to not only engage with the contributors but to also showcase their best photos. Whether this is on Twitter, Facebook or in a written article, it shows a lot to be picking out a photo and sharing it with your community. Often as a publisher you will have a bigger audience; promoting this to your readers is real kudos for that person. You are showcasing their work.
Sharing the best photos also has a knock on effect of attracting new photographers too.
As your site grows, photos will become more and more important. They are a fantastic way to illustrate content and a free way of driving traffic to your community. Perhaps more importantly, they are recording history and the moment for the time. Although the King’s Road (http://kingsroad.co.uk) website is still to do this, the latest group photos can be used to populate the site with a gallery section. Readers love to browse pictures and images – it will be an important driver of web traffic to your site so take the time to create one and nurture it.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look