Last week we discussed fallout from Facebook’s news feed algorithm and suggested that hyperlocal publishers focus on going deep vs. wide. We were pleased to see an INMA article that confirmed our theory and suggested that local-level innovation is the best way to focus on your own platform. What’s interesting is the article left out the most impactful innovation – “near me” searches. Now is the time to turn the tables on Facebook and Google – they are wide platforms that are trying to go deep hyperlocally. But who knows more about what’s really “near them” than hyperlocal publishers? By serving that niche, you will have created several important things:
- A new reason for people to come to your site regularly
- Engaging content that will keep people on your site longer, which increases page views
- The results to a near me search may not just be a business name. It could be an event, a news story, a service or a promotion. All content that the local publisher has (or should have).
Being able to answer your reader’s questions is a highly valuable service that they will use regularly, and will keep those readers on your site longer. These are good things that you control yourself.
You’ve all heard the saying “there is no free lunch”. Facebook, Google and other platforms that offer you more eyeballs all come at a cost. You are renting those eyeballs, and you’re actually sending more money into the hands of the large platforms than you are getting. It’s time to focus on strategies that put you more in control of your own destiny. Again, this doesn’t mean abandoning those platforms, it simply means using them for what they are; a simple way to rent some users for some short term and small revenue. Do this while you build up your own platform to create longer term and more sustainable revenue.