It’s about the database, baby

Mike Orren, founder of Pegasus News in Dallas, offers terrific advice in an article in Online Journalism Review for those planning hyperlocal plays. I like this graph:

On the local level at least, data is what drives visitors. Stories bring additional pageviews, but more than 75% of our traffic is data — interactive calendar listings, band profiles, restaurant listings, political campaign contributions, drink specials and the like. Most of our listings aren’t found on the other local city guides — something for both traditional media and upstarts alike to think about. We’re always gratified when people dig deep into stories or blogs, but we know that the reason most people come in the door is to find out where to go and what to do. It’s our job to compel them to stay longer with good narrative content.

We’re in the database business these days if we’re in local media, and I find this is something most companies don’t realize. Local database creation and management is where it’s at for the reasonable future. Like Mike suggests, our act may be spectacular, but data is what gets people in the tent.

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