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May 21 2010

09:11

Next Generation Journalist: crowdfund your journalism

This series of 10 moneymaking tips for journalists began on Adam Westbrook’s blog, but continues exclusively on Journalism.co.uk.

Adam’s e-book, Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in Journalism is on sale now.

10. crowdfund your journalism

Crowdfunding has made it into my book even though, on the face of it, it is hardly entrepreneurial. It is however a method only possible thanks to the internet; and as you’ll read in the e-book, a method which actually requires some of the toughest entrepreneurial spirit.

The idea of crowdsourcing news stories, opinion and media isn’t that new. But the notion of crowdsourcing money is only beginning to come to fruition. The real pioneers on this have been in cinema: last year the producers of Age of Stupid funded the entire project with donations from the public.

The internet has made it easier too. In particular we’re seeing new platforms from which to launch your crowdfunding project. Spot.Us is one of the first, and currently helps to fund projects with networks in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. More recently another startup – Kickstarter – has emerged working along similar lines.

Crowdfunding your journalism…

  • has so far proved successful in print, online and cinematic projects
  • is not easy and requires strong marketing skills
  • is only possible because of the internet

But be under no illusions: crowdfunding is not an easy ride.

“You have to tell people what’s in it for them” says multimedia journalist Annabel Symington, “people want to know what their money is going to do, and saying it’s going to fund a piece of quality journalism isn’t enough.”

Along with two partners Annabel has spent the last few months using Kickstarter to raise enough money to report on the Guarani Aquifier. As with almost all of the ideas suggested in Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in 2010, crowdfunding it’s about being more than a journalist:

“Through this project I’ve become a brand designer, a social media guru, a public speaker and an event organiser. You name it, I think I’ve done it,” says Annabel.

You can find out more about the Guarani Project here, and more about the ins and outs of crowdfunding in the ebook.

And that wraps up the 10 new ways to make money in journalism in 2010. If you’ve been inspired by any of them you can find out how to make them happen inside the ebook – on a discount price until 27 May.

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May 19 2010

10:21

Next Generation Journalist: how to make hyperlocal work

This series of 10 moneymaking tips for journalists began on Adam Westbrook’s blog, but continues exclusively on Journalism.co.uk from today. Adam’s e-book, Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in Journalism will be available to download in full on 20 May.

08. set up a hyperlocal website

OK, so setting up a hyperlocal blog is hardly a new way to do things in journalism. But making money from it is pretty new and, seemingly, still pretty rare.

In the UK for example, only a handful of hyperlocal blogs, such as Ventor Blog, SR2 and SE1 are getting the sorts of eyeballs and ad revenue to make a living.

Thing is, hyperlocal is an important and (if done correctly) profitable niche for the next generation journalist; we’re just not going about it right.

Setting up a blog, writing loads of local content and hoping to bring in local ad revenue alone is a tough gig. At first you’re unlikely to get the hits you need to bring in enough cash. Google Adwords is becoming something of a byword for false promises of cash among website owners.

If you want to maximise your advertising revenue, a product like Addiply is a really good bet, and is it seems to be bringing in better results for those who use it on a local level. Advertisers could expect to pay around £30 a month, although it varies from site to site.

But I really think for a hyperlocal website to work – in fact, for any web based content product to work – the ultimate aim must be to make ad revenue as small a slice of the pie as possible.

The less your business relies on ad revenue, the less vulnerable you are to the inevitable ups and downs of the market.

Other ways to make hyperlocal work

Have a look at yesterday’s post on my blog, where I talk about a local news success story – thebusinessdesk.com.  Set up by David Parkin, it now has three regional business sites in Yorkshire, the North-West and Birmingham.

Parkin told last week’s Local Heroes Conference he expects to turnover £1 million this year.

Where does the money come from? Ad revenue yes, but that’s only a part of it. Firstly, thebusinessdesk.com has a niche (local financial news) and a wealthy target audience (business people).

It has a mailing list of 37,000 subscribers who get a daily email of business news, which is sponsored. They have an iPhone app and run events.

It’s a successful model – and one which needs to be employed by hyperlocal bloggers. Don’t just process listings, and re-write press releases; become a major part of your community. Become a leader in your community.

Be the voice for those whose voices don’t get heard. Run regular events so you can meet readers face-to-face. Run pub quizzes and pocket the profits.  Sell products, take a slice of restaurant bookings through your website, charge for listings. Don’t just maintain a website – build a mailing list and send them news direct to their inbox. Get that mailing list sponsored by local businesses.

If you’ve got any good stories about how you’re making hyperlocal work, I’d love to hear them.

Interested in niche and hyperlocal? Looking for new ideas for specialist journalism? Attend Journalism.co.uk’s upcoming event: news:rewired – the nouveau niche. Follow the link to find out more.

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May 17 2010

09:20

Next Generation Journalist: leverage your expertise

This series of 10 moneymaking tips for journalists began on Adam Westbrook’s blog, but continues exclusively on Journalism.co.uk from today. Adam’s e-book, Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in Journalism will be available to download in full on 20 May.

06. become an ‘infopreneur’

The business model for journalism has always looked a little bit like this: 1) research and collect information about things the public want or need to know about 2) publish that information and sell it to them or 3) charge advertisers to promote their products along side that information.

In other words, journalism has always been about making money from information or expertise. In the new digital information age we should still be exploiting that model. But we’re not.

What is an infopreneur? Put simply, it’s someone who packages and sells information. You’d think that would come naturally to journalists. Instead journalists have struggled to profit from their information in the digital age.

The Next Generation Journalist sees opportunity in the affordability and ease of finding and publishing information online and exploits that.

The internet and the ‘information economy’ we find ourselves in means two things:

  • 1. finding things out is easier and cheaper than it ever has been.
  • 2. packaging and publishing that information is equally cheap and easy

The Next Generation Journalist uses both of these facts to develop exciting new entrepreneurial ventures.

Becoming an infopreneur…

  • is easier than it ever has been in history
  • allows you to build a brand and reputation as a leader in a field you are passionate about
  • enables you to package your expertise in different ways for money

But I’m not an expert!

That’s the natural first instinctive reply. Here’s the amazing thing: it is actually quite easy to become an expert in certain areas. Firstly, the word ‘expert’ is a relative term, it requires you to know more than most people in your field and to develop strategic contacts, but no longer requires a qualification or letters after your name (except, of course, for things like medicine and law).

Secondly, the process requires you to research key resources and share that with the world on a blog or website, build a community (that’s really important), and then start to produce products for that community. Those products can be ebooks, audio downloads, week long e-courses, or physical products like books or DVDs.

Nick Williams, who launched Inspired Entreprenuer, a website built on the same principal, says journalists are perfectly placed to enter this field.

“Many journalists are fantastic at being able to grasp large areas of information…and being able to distill them down to their essence” he says. “Those skills will really be in demand in the world to come.”

Click here to find out more.

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