Hyper-local publishers achieve extraordinary reach

August 16, 2021

Two hyper-local publishers have reported readership far beyond their local market size in an extraordinary example of what is possible for local community publishers.

The term hyper-local refers to media organisations focused on a local geographic community to provide community news and information. In many cases these local publishers are filling a void left by the retrenchment of newspapers, replacing that void with digital platforms which are more cost effective and benefiting from digital as the primary source for the consumption of news and information.

Two such publishers are the Wanaka App in New Zealand and the Lismore App in Australia, and both have achieved a rather remarkable milestone recording over 100,000 unique readers over the past 12 months.

The Wanaka App was established in 2016 to service the town of Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka and its local catchment area has just over 14,000 residents and owner Tony O’Regan says he was blown away when he realised the number of readers.

“We could see our readership growing and had just achieved over 20,000 unique readers in one month for the first time. That made me look back 12 months and I was amazed to see that we had over 100,000 readers,” Tony said.

The Wanaka App publishes to a mobile app and a desktop app using the LIMA (local independent media app) platform and has recently launched a weekly digital newsletter.

“The mobile app is where we see incredible loyalty, the people who download that are primarily local and use the app regularly,” Tony said. “The desktop app is great for discoverability and introducing readers to our business. Because we publish so much local news and are a hub for local information we perform well with online search, which delivers a very wide reach”.

The Lismore App, which launched in December 2017, is also operating on the LIMA platform and has achieved 108,610 unique readers in the last 12 months. The Lismore region has a population of 46,000 people.

“Achieving over 100,000 readers surpasses all of my expectations,” Lismore App owner Simon Mumford said.

“When you launch with about a dozen downloads, which includes family and friends, you only dream of these sorts of numbers.”

Simon said the functionality of the LIMA platform is one of the keys to success. “The ability to push story notifications to readers definitely helps readership. Heavy readers check you daily but your lighter readers, who may read your stories once a week, are triggered by the notification to check out what is happening where they live.”

Tony, who also owns the LIMA software platform, said the functionality built into the software enables a hyper-local publisher to flourish. “Being an app led platform is quite unique. We focus on the ubiquity of mobile devices and the ease of access a mobile app provides. The web app (website) is secondary and provides a pathway to the mobile app. Ideally we want readers on the mobile app as that is where we see greater loyalty, plus it is a better experience.”

The LIMA software is custom designed for local publishers, providing a centralised content management system which publishes to a mobile app and desktop website. LIMA requires no coding experience to create the mobile app and desktop app.

LIMA has fully integrated advertising products to enable an income stream for local publishers, it is linked to Google Analytics for real time reporting, and Google Search provides insight into online search terms and performance.

For more information on the LIMA platform click here.