Building on Brands
Many old-media companies that have launched citizen sites promote both kinds of media in advertising campaigns or use house ads to direct subscribers to their citizen site. Don Alexander, who manages both a daily paper and its citizen web site, Blount County Voice, said the site had “instant credibility” with readers because of the paper’s reputation. “Those who are working with well-respected, dominant newspapers need to use that in their marketing strategy and don’t try to hide the fact that this community journalism publication is part of the company,” he said.
Wicked Local chose the opposite strategy. “It doesn’t have our newspaper brand plastered all over it. We want street credibility and for citizens to have ownership,” said former editor Courtney Hollands.
Professional journalists who strike out on their own with new sites say they wish they knew how to promote. “I stink at marketing,” said Paul Bass, who runs New Haven Independent. “It’s true that after nine months a lot of people don’t know we exist.”
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