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The Observer has an interesting story about Hyper-Localism. This idea has several manifestations. In one version a newspaper creates Web content around niche groups like high school football teams or cats in trees and the brave city workers who save them. Another version of hyper-local involves a new print product. Here the idea is to deliver a special edition newspaper to a small but targeted geographic footprint. This article is about the former.

From the article:

” ‘In the old model, free papers had to have circulations of about 400,000 to work,’ [Richard Addis] says. ‘City AM has shown that it can be done with about 100,000. The question is whether you can do it with 25,000.’ “

The answer is yes. It’s called direct mail. If you can create a hyper-local advertorial piece, manage the fully loaded costs to keep par with direct mail and get ad conversion above 0.05 percent to 1 percent, it will probably work. Scale is a different issue.

The Observer article is well worth the time to click over and read the entire piece. The summary says it all:

“If the humble local rag has anything to teach industry executives, it could be that salvation lies in good, old-fashioned reporting, regardless of whether the story concerns the church jumble sale or a murder inquiry.”

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