Why HyperLocal is the Buzzword You Need to Know

entertainment jobs tv reporterThere is a strategic error being made by TV and radio stations across the nation and unless it gets fixed, local broadcast providers could end up like newspapers, outdated and largely irrelevant.

Failure of local broadcasters would be a tragic consequence, since they are not only a provider of quality jobs in small markets, but also, if done right, provide information we all need.

What is the issue and how can it be fixed?…now that’s the fun part of the discussion.

Assessing the Problem

In any business setting, from ice cream stands to software conglomerates, high-level discussions always gravitate towards understanding and evaluating what a business’s competitive advantage is. Simply put, when given choices why would someone choose us or our product?

Why HyperLocal is the Buzzword You Need to Know #tvbiz Click To Tweet

In the financial investing world they use the term “moat” to describe the protective layer surrounding a business (or castle) from other businesses (or oncoming invaders). Before you start daydreaming in a haze of scenes from Game of Thrones, the moat concept works because it clearly depicts the value of a unique competitive advantage.

Local news, whether on TV or radio, has drifted away from their competitive advantage and tried to serve an audience that they are unable to corral: the national one.

entertainment careers in television

The Error in Action

The argument has been made so many times there is no need for me to rehash it in detail, but suffice it to say, the emergence of the internet changed news gathering. TV stations and newspapers lost their advantage of time and delivery because internet sources are immediate and accessible everywhere.

hyperlocal tv news

Local TV news needs to stick with what they do best, dig deep into hyperlocal stories

Instead of shifting their business game plan and adjusting to the changing conditions on the ground, broadcasters tried to compete, thinking they could beat the digital age somehow. They added YouTube videos to their broadcast, covered large national stories and went in-depth on issues they didn’t have the capacity to deliver upon.

There is still time for broadcasters to do what they should have done all along – go the opposite direction.

Instead of spreading out, do what they do best, cover the extremely local angles better than anyone else can.

Why HyperLocal Is The Real Competitive Advantage

The internet business model thrives on one of two things:

A) A top notch product you can sell

or

B) Massive volume

That’s it. That’s how it works in a nutshell. And just think, you got that deep analysis without having to pay for an MBA.

Digital news providers like CNN.com, HuffPost.com or ESPN.com, make money primarily through advertising, which in the digital world of display ads and retargeting requires massive amounts of traffic.

Every blogger out there is either providing a product to sell via affiliate links, or they are banking on huge traffic to advertise bigger products.

Local broadcast news has drifted away from it's competitive advantage #tvnews Click To Tweet

Look at me, I’m the Director of Content for WorkinEntertainment.com, in every article we’re trying hard to show our value, our intelligence and provide you with knowledge… all in the hopes you’ll buy a membership to our job board. Did I let out some big secret there? No, that’s just business.

What does this all mean, and why am I giving you a lesson in internet business modeling? Because hyperlocal internet news providers can’t scale the traffic to be worth it, which is why broadcast still has a hyperlocal advantage.

The model of covering really, really deeply local stories in small markets via the internet just doesn’t pencil, because a tiny fraction of the tiny traffic they bring in will actually click on a banner ad.

Local broadcast news providers are different; the nightly news in Zanesville, Ohio will get viewers interested in what is happening in their backyard and will be able to attract local advertisers to gain exposure to their targeted market. The ABC affiliate in Z-town has boots on the ground and can get deep and detailed into what makes their story relevant and important to the audience.

People will always want to connect with the local news in a way that is different than other information peddlers. There is a relationship with the people delivering the news, a connection to the brand, and I they do a good job with quality storytelling people will be compelled to tune in on a daily basis.

Local news will always be relevant if they stay in their lane & focus on hyperlocal topics Click To Tweet

Why This Matters For You

If you are currently in a small market, get deep knowledge of the local economy, the news makers, the policy changers and start building a network of local contacts. Focus small and deep.

If you are looking to break into the TV news world, create an action plan now of what your first month on the job will look like and be ready to present it in the interview process. Explain how you value hyperlocal content so you will strive to make contacts in local government, businesses, schools etc.

That is how you can separate yourself from the crowd, because that is what broadcast providers know now that they need.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

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  1. […] supposed to relay information, tell stories and report facts – not make themselves the story. Local TV reporters never received that memo and instead always try to thrust themselves, and their pearly white […]

  2. […] The same holds true for local TV. […]

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