Sometimes It’s Not About the Cash

[box type=”shadow”]The following article is a condensed and edited version of an article from October 2010. It should have been published in Lakeland Local in December 2010. Yes, I’m that far behind in my work.[/box]

emptypocketsWhen I’d talk to some Lakelanders, they’ll ask how I support Lakeland Local. More importantly, how do I make money on the site? I’d answer I don’t and don’t intend to. They’ll shake their heads and wander off. Really, it doesn’t cost a lot to maintain a small hyperlocal website. I can afford it because my family lives very small. More valuable is the time I took to make the site. My time is precious. It’s limited. And I didn’t want to use any of it to sell ads.

I’m sure most people thought I’d eventually find a job and give up Lakeland Local. I fooled them. I didn’t. However, I did find other ways to give away my time. More importantly, I found others who wanted to volunteer their time to write and shoot photos or video. They had other careers, but still had a passion for the news.

Now, some volunteers came on hard and heavy and burned out. Some were steady and oh…so…slow you’re not sure if they’re still writing, but they would pop up with an article every blue moon. But most shoot photos or write regularly. They contribute to the point Lakeland Local survives and is now in “Year Five.”

Why all the background and talk of advertising?

Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to a summit of hyperlocal publishers. In one room were about a hundred others crazy enough to believe hyperlocal news is one important piece of the future media. We spent a lot of time talking about what we did and how we did it; more time talking about what worked and what didn’t.

Guess what I learned there? It takes money to make hyperlocal work. Well, at least that was the comment on the lips of most. Whether it was finding grants or sponsors or subscribers or advertisers…it was about finding money.

So, I came back and made a decision. Lakeland Local is going to start accepting advertising.

But, I have to do it my way.

We’ll only accept advertising from small, locally owned businesses. And each business has to make the ads in-house. Oh, and it has to be approximately one minute video or 30 second audio…no text.

And it’s free. The only way I want to sell advertising for Lakeland Local is to give it away.

Are you a small Lakeland-based business? Do you need to find a way to let other Lakelanders know you’re out there? Grab your Flip. Get your hair cut or wear a fright wig. Sweep up your front desk. Shoot a video. Send it to me. I’ll help promote your business. I want you to succeed and I’ll do it for free.

It’s about my passion for Lakeland. Not the cash.

[box type=”shadow”]The reason I waited so long to publish this was my hope to put together a few ads to debut with the article. I’m just moving too slow for that. So, here’s your opportunity. Put together your ad. Make it fun. No one wants to see something slick and professional.
Readers, don’t expect ads on every page. I don’t plan on more than an ad or two a week. I’ll drop them in like they’re articles. You’ll be able to skip them, but I doubt you’ll want to. They’ll come from your neighbors. Take 60 seconds and you might meet a new friend.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Oh, the legal stuff: Send your 60-second (or less) video to welch [at] lakelandlocal.com. We reserve the right to reject any submitted ad for any reason. This offer is first come, first serve and is good until Midnight, December 31, 2011. I’ll think of something else fun for 2012.[/box]

Creative Commons License photo illustration credit: kalavinka

3 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Not About the Cash

  1. Chuck: I’m not sure you passed Business Admin 101 and, as a small businessman (very small), I’ll never understand your objection to providing a valuable service for a reasonable profit. We’ve had this discussion before. But my admiration for you remains unchanged and I will always be a fan of Lakeland Local. Thanks! Don

    • I don’t want to speak for him, but I believe Chuck passed business 101 and he has no objection to providing valuable services for a reasonable profit.

      I love Lakeland Local because the lack of a profit motive means I don’t answer to anyone about what I write here except myself and the people whose opinions matter to me. Lakeland Local has no advertisers or salespeople to please. Lakeland Local doesn’t even have donors to massage! It’s just people coming together to write about what’s on their minds. It’s refreshing and unique. We have something very special here. The addition of free advertising, an idea I love, is a perfect fit for what this space is about.

  2. I believe Chuck knows the universal formula for success. The more you give the more you get. I appreciate this opportunity and look forward to developing an ad for my small business. I also intend on advertising LakelandLocal on my companies website. Thanks Chuck.

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