Posted: June 3rd, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism, web | Tags: blog preston, blog preston android app, blog preston app, blog preston iOS app, hyperlocal, hyperlocal journalism, hyperlocal site app, preston bid | No Comments »
The Blog Preston app on an iPad
I am sat on a train while writing this and everyone around me with a smartphone or tablet has used an app in the last hour. Two young lads (must be under 8) playing FIFA 14 on an ipad, a girl watching Happy Valley on iplayer, a woman reading MailOnline app and another guy checking his emails. The use of apps for certain online functions is becoming the dominant behaviour. So why did we at Blog Preston, a small hyperlocal publisher decide to launch an app?
Two good reasons. A look at Google Analytics showed the percentage of visitors on mobile and tablet was skyrocketing, particularly from referrals from social media. So our analytics are showing us a shift in audience behaviour.
We also dipped our toe into our real audience and asked them whether they would use a Blog Preston app. The answer which came back was an overwhelming yes from our Twitter and Facebook fans. To me it was the equivalent of running a sandwich shop, everyone suddenly starts buying cheese sandwiches so you put a sign up saying vote here for what extra type of cheese sandwich we should start making. If you don’t listen to the audience and give them what they want then they will go to the other sandwich shop down the road.
Creating an app is slightly more expensive than a sandwich (unless you always buy lunch from a Pret A Manger). We set out to see whether we could produce an app without it costing the earth. Blog Preston is now a community interest company, this means everything we do and produce must be for and of interest to the people of Preston. Having an app passed your community interest test and a quick Google later we had the makings of an app. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 17th, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism, social media | Tags: facebook, hyperlocal, hyperlocal news, Social Media | 1 Comment »
I was recently looking through the Blog Preston stats – the hyperlocal site I run in the North of England – and noticed something.
Everything we posted of an evening tended to do a bit better. Looking then through Facebook, there was a trend. Evenings, anytime at weekends + Facebook equalled our best performing stories.
We had a directors meeting on Sunday and we are giving something a try, based around this premise…
If our audience according to social media analytics tools is most active in the evening and weekends why publish our content during the day?
If the bulk of your audience is coming to you via social media and search, with very little direct traffic to the site, why not model your behaviour around them? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism | Tags: blog preston, hyperlocal, hyperlocal news, preston lancashire | No Comments »
In January the hyperlocal site I run for the city of Preston, Lancashire turned five years old. Starting the site has definitely been one of the defining moments of my life to date and a few months into our fifth year I thought I would reflect on what I have learned after five years of keeping Blog Preston alive.
It is now a Community Interest Company which has a stated aim of covering community news in Preston. Paid up, registered and got a company number. What started as a Sunday afternoon New Years resolution is an actual real existing thing. Not just virtual. We have three directors, including me, and about ten regular contributors plus a few more who contribute as hoc. Plus a friend of mine doing ad sales on commission.
Establish your reason
Setting out to post once or twice a day it soon became clear this wasn’t going to be enough. The demands of running a local site will eat into your time, there is no escaping it. To ensure you don’t get sucked into a hamster wheel content cycle you need to have a clear idea of where your site covers and what it covers.
Know your mantra and keep to it, if you set out to be providing breaking news then stick to it and if you only said you’d cover a certain area of the city then keep to that.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 25th, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Communications, ideas, Journalism, Marketing | Tags: ammp3d, communicator, email marketing, email news, email newsletters, martin belam | No Comments »
Gotta stay relevant. Right? In these times of mounting audiences, mobile consumption and a young savvy internet audience really finding their groove – how do you ensure you can still reach these audiences and get them coming back to your content time and time again?
I am speaking on Wednesday at the Technology for Marketers and Advertisers (sounds terrifying doesn’t it, will they brainwash me? Is the future of advertising some kind of microchip inside your shoe telling Tesco what your little toe is thinking about buying next…) event about what Trinity Mirror Regionals have been doing (that is who I work for in case you are wondering) with email newsletters. EMAIL!? But Ed, I hear you cry, email is about as sexy as, well, it isn’t very sexy.
Let me remind you of something. What do you need to be able to have an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+? That’s right, an email address. Email is a shockingly bad form of my communication, just ask anyone who works for or with me when they try and second guess what I mean by a one word response of Yes to an email at 11.45pm on a Friday. BUT, one thing I have learned since Spring 2012 when we started on an email newsletter sort them out journey is that a heck of a lot of people still use it, like using it and it isn’t going anywhere quickly.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Communications, online communities, social media, web | Tags: #cmad, community manager appreciation day, connected, guardian shorts | 1 Comment »
My fellow Connected authors (Hannah, Marc) and I took part in a Google Hangout this morning as part of Community Manager Appreciation Day.
It was a discussion about how a combination of online/offline can be used to connect communities – with plenty of examples and chunks from the e-book we wrote on the topic.
It’s a surreal experience chatting to people from the East Coast of the States and South Africa from your living room, but then again that’s the power of technology. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 14th, 2014 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism, tools, web | Tags: blog preston, google real time analytics, hyperlocal, hyperlocal news | 2 Comments »
In my day job with Trinity Mirror I am lucky to have access to real-time analytics software Chartbeat. It allows us to see who is reading what on our regional sites, where they have come from and how long they spend on it. And also if they then read something else. It’s a great way of focusing the newsrooms on popular content and putting it on a massive screen in the newsroom is always cool.
But, if you’re a one-man band hyperlocal publisher or a smaller site – and can’t shell out for Chartbeat, what options do you have?
Recently for Blog Preston, the hyperlocal site I run for Preston in Lancashire, we turned on Google Analytics Real Time.
It isn’t a patch on Chartbeat but it is super useful. Here’s five reasons why: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 23rd, 2013 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: ideas, Journalism, online video, social media | Tags: digital journalism predictions 2014, hyperlocal, hyperlocal news, mobile journalism, online video | 4 Comments »
I got asked to appear on Journalism.co.uk’s weekly podcast last week, it was about predictions for digital journalism in 2014.
I’m not Mystic Meg, but it did make me pause and think about what we might be doing over the next 12 months. It’s very easy to get stuck in the next 24-48 hours news cycle and not consider what’s going to happen next.
One thing is for sure, digital storytelling is evolving as the device we’re telling the story on expands and evolves rapidly.
Here’s my two pennies worth for what I see as what might be big in 2014: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 3rd, 2013 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism, social media | Tags: hyperlocal, hyperlocal media, hyperlocal sites, hyperlocal sites in the uk | 1 Comment »
Finally getting round to finishing some Twitter lists I started a while ago (although, can you ever finish a Twitter list?), they languished with not many members and at the Trinity Mirror editorial conference over the last two days in Manchester it reminded me I needed to sort them. Inspired mainly by Peachesanscream who did a great presentation on how to use Twitter I need your help to put together. She’s been using Twitter to help grow UsvsTh3m, which has rocketed to 7m unique users in November. They made that Northerner game you’ve probably played.
A list of people who run, started, or are involved in hyperlocal sites or hyperlocal news sites in the UK.
A list of the Twitter accounts of hyperlocal or hyperlocal news sites in the UK.
Hope you can help! Tweet me @ed_walker86 with suggestions or leave a comment below
Not sure what all this hyperlocal stuff is? I co-wrote an ebook called Connected which has a chapter all about hyperlocal sites in the UK.
Posted: September 29th, 2013 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: blogging, conferences, Journalism, social media | Tags: #tal13, facebook, hyperlocal, hyperlocal journalism, i love stockton me, kings cross environment, middlesbrough, MIMA, talk about local, the ambler, twitter, will perrin, wv11 | 2 Comments »
So I braved the Travelodge in Middlesbrough (once again) for the latest round of debate with hyperlocal site owners and local community sites at the Talk About Local event #tal13.
The day ranged from trying to rediscover your blogging mojo, to best tips for using Facebook and Twitter, how traditional media can work with hyperlocal sites and finally what does the growing usage of mobile internet and mobile consumption mean for hyperlocal sites?
Held in the impressive surroundings of MIMA, the beauty of unconferences (you pitch sessions and stick them on a big board which the organisers then shuffle about so inevitably all the ones you want to see happen at the same time is the range of speakers/sessions is always so varied. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 23rd, 2013 | Author: Ed Walker | Filed under: Journalism | Tags: bbc lancashire, hyperlocal journalism, itv granada, lancashire evening post, preston bus station | No Comments »
Preston’s Bus Station, threatened with demolition, is now a grade II listed building
The decision to grant Preston Bus Station listed status probably isn’t of interest to many outside of Preston and its immediate area, and of course architectural nerds.
But it did show up why it’s vital we have a vibrant local and hyperlocal media, because we can’t rely on the BBC to keep us updated on what’s happening in one of Lancashire’s largest cities.
Read the rest of this entry »