Hyper-local News Site Uses Social Media to Connect with Millennials

Lakeland, Florida, is a thriving community just east of Tampa with slightly over 100,000 inhabitants (2013 census). It is a diverse population in both ethnicity and age. And for over 90 years, the residents of Lakeland got their news from The Ledger. As the primary source of local news, The Ledger covered regional happenings, including sports, entertainment, jobs, cars, and obits – traditional news stories.

After working as a journalist for 40 years, including digital managing editor at The Ledger, Barry Friedman left the paper to launch a digital-first publication focused solely on local events with an emphasis on social media. He knew that if someone wanted to check out the latest community news, they would look to Facebook first.

lkldnow.com: Hyper-local, Digital-first

So, in mid-2015 Barry launched lkldnow.com, a digital hyper-local news publication. Content for the digital-only resource combines traditional reporting, content curation, and aggregation techniques empowering Lakeland residents to become more involved in their community.

As the sole writer for lkldnow.com, Barry implemented a three-pronged approach to gathering and reporting local news. In addition to writing 5-8 articles per week, he scours the internet daily. Curated content includes original articles as well as social media posts about Lakeland from a variety of sources. The third component of the trifecta is aggregated social media content. Social media aggregation is based on official social media feeds created by sources such as the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, posts from lkldnow.com’s social media channels, and the #lkld hashtag that many businesses and organizations use to promote their events on social media.

Helping Content Reach Its Full Potential

In early 2015, Barry was searching for a social media aggregation tool for lkldnow.com when he
came across Crowdynews. According to Barry, “Crowdynews met all of my requirements; it’s an easy-to-use content curation platform created specifically for news publishers.”

Today, a social stream sits in the right rail of the homepage as well as on every article page. By placing a social media stream on the article pages, Barry provides readers with an opportunity to further interact with content on the lkldnow.com site.

Lklndnow Vertical stream - homepage

For example, readers can click-on a post in the social stream to view the entire post onsite, consume additional content on lkldnow.com, or click-off to see the content in the appropriate social channel. This is especially important when readers arrive on lkldnow.com from social media. We know readers who arrive from social typically spend less time on a publisher’s website consuming news.

However, when a social media is present on a website, both reader interactions and loyalty increases resulting in higher conversions (e.g., signing up to receive a monthly newsletter or joining a club to receive special offers). In addition, there is a fullpage social stream entitled “Social Wire.” Site visitors can view social posts related to local news & people or sports.

Lklndnow full page

The largest segment of readers are between 18 and 34 years old – millennials who are not tied to a traditional news cycle. As a hyper-local publication, Barry says, “The social media stream is a constant source of new content and a reason for people to visit the site.”

He even uses the social stream as a source of inspiration for writing stories.