Dear Contributors, Tipsters and PR People (you know who you are),
Each week I get from you dozens of emails with link to news stories, story suggestions or tips, press releases and event announcements. Just a few of those items every get published to the web site. This is not for lack of interest but for lack of time. It would take a full day or more each week to prep and publish every single item — more when there is research required. So, it should be no surprise that there is no way I can get to all of them or even most of them.
Quite frankly, I am at about my limit. As the site as grown I am getting inundated with requests and I need your help to redistribute the workload. I will do the bulk of it but I need contributors to carry their end.
Talk of the Sound is by far and away the most largest, most successful hyper-local community web site in New Rochelle and one of the biggest in all of Westchester County. We have had more than 250,000 visitors since we launched in September 2008 and get 20,000 to 25,000 readers a month serving up 50,000 page views per month.
Talk of the sound is a community web site; we are not a newspaper. We are certainly not a business. We here in New Rochelle are the media not some corporate monolith. What makes hyper-local sites work is citizens adding content, being their own reporters, sharing what they know with their fellow citizens. We do not need an intermediary who controls a printing press or a broadcast tower; this is an outdated modality. The Internet is the great leveler. We live today in a new world of a “horizontal media” where one page is as accessible as the next whether that web page come from nytimes.com, cnn.com or newrochelletalk.com. A story that you write and publish on Talk of the Sound or even your own blog or Twitter account can be read by a global audience.
The entire point of allowing any New Rochelle stakeholder to register and post or add items to the calendar is so that each person or organization can have access to the platform I have created for the community. This post is intended to address that point on multiple levels.
Registering to post or comment on the site is very easy, read How to Get Started with Talk of the Sound and look for –>>> Click this Link to Register <<<--. Be sure to read the articles listed under "Want to Get the Most out of Talk of the Sound?" There is no other such web site in New Rochelle nor one getting 20,000 to 25,000 unique visitors a month, serving up 40,000 to 60,000 page views a month. For anyone in New Rochelle has attempted to create a web site and generate traffic, you would know that I am offering free access to a valuable resource that few people could develop independently. No one is getting paid for this, certainly not me. In fact, it cost me money to run the site so the site is an expense not a profit center. If you take a moment to understand Google PageRank you will come to understand the true significance of what Talk of the Sound is offering New Rochellians:
PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page, used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set.
Talk of the Sound started, as do all web sites, with a PageRank of zero back at launch on September 1, 2008 and rose to a 1 within our first year. Put simply, a site with a PageRank Rank of 2 is 10 times larger than a site with a PageRank of 1; a site with a 7 is 10 times larger than a 6. As of today Talk of the Sound has risen to a PageRank of 3 making it one of the highest ranked “New Rochelle” web sites in the Google PageRank index. Since PageRank measures ” relative importance” sites like the City of New Rochelle web site and City School District of New Rochelle website will always be ranked higher than Talk of the Sound even if we are getting more web traffic (for many official New Rochelle sites, we have surpassed them in terms of total traffic). As a practical matter, what this means is that if you put a story on Talk of the Sound it is far more likely to show up in the top 10 Google search results for keyword combinations that include “New Rochelle”. This matters because 70% of Internet users rely on Google search as their primary search engine and 99% of Google Search users click on the first 10 results. In other words, if you are not in top 10 results you are basically invisble most Internet users searching the web. Talk of the Sound fixes that problem — and charges nothing for it.
For those who send me links to stories from other online outlets like the Journal News or New York Times or whatever, I would ask you consider how long it took to find and read the article, how much time you spent creating an email and explaining why you think the article is noteworthy and then sending the email to me. In less time than it takes to send me an email explaining all this, you could have already published it to the web site. In fact, a blog post is nearly identical to an email — a headline instead of a subject line, both have a body of text, you push “publish” instead of “send”. The one big difference is that by posting to Talk of the Sound rather than sending me an email asking me to post something about the article on Talk of the Sound is that the link and your comments on the article are immediately available on the web site for others to read — without calling on me to be the middleman. Some people tell me they are “afraid” to do this because they do not want the community to know it was them; while this fear is largely baseless the solution is simple, create an account using a handle not your full name, as many, many contributors have already done.
For those who are raising questions about public employees or zoning or building issues or other issues covered under public records please read: How to Obtain Public Records in New Rochelle: FOIL, Property Portals and More. Quite often it turns out that records indicate the allegations contained in the tip are based on easily resolved confusion about City policy, the City Code, zoning law, etc.
For the PR people and folks wishing to promote an event, consider Talk of the Sound a powerful, no-cost (to you) marketing platform. For all intensive purposes, Talk of the Sound is a massive, free opt-in email list. We are giving you a way to reach many thousands of New Rochelle residents, businesses and community leaders at no charge. Despite this, many of you keep sending me your press releases asking that I publish them for you. Why? Isn’t it enough that we are making these resources available to you at no charge? Throw us a frickin’ bone here people and take a few minutes to register and start posting these yourselves. We get more New Rochelle-centric content and you get access to an audience that would cost you a pretty penny otherwise.
As long as you have a “New Rochelle” centric story there is no need to send this to me to get it published on Talk of the Sound. We want your press releases so long as they are not spam. New Rochellians do want your information. You can make it easy for them to get it. You can register for an account and publish directly to the site. Given the amount of traffic we get to the site in/around New Rochelle it would strike me as more than worth your while for you to set that up. If you need help learning how to post to the site just get in touch and we can set you up.
You have the option of posting press releases directly to Talk of the Sound or modifying them to be articles. While we will, from time to time, publish announcements, alerts and press releases, any stakeholder in the New Rochelle community may post directly to the site provided they follow two simple rules: (1) posts to the site must be specific to New Rochelle residents; (2) n use of ALL CAPS.
Posts can include items that may be of interest on a regional, county, state or national level but Talk of the Sound is a hyper-local community news and opinion site for and about New Rochelle so we do not want stories that are really about neighboring communities. As for the use of ALL CAPS, it is considered shouting on a web site. If one person starts “shouting” to be heard, everyone else will start shouting too. We do not want that.
As to why you should register and post, be aware that by any measure, Talk of the Sound is the most widely read source of news and information in New Rochelle. Since our launch in 2008 we have grown at a rapid rate (300% quarter-to-quarter growth) and now get between 15,000 and 25,000 unique visitors a month. Our readership includes the most engaged residents in New Rochelle, including many elected officials, community leaders, and heads of neighborhood associations. If you Google almost any keyword + New Rochelle you will find Talk of the Sound articles among the top search results if not the #1 result.
The site is free to read the site and its free to post content to the site. We use a type of content management system that presents articles in reverse-chronological order. The 10 most recent articles are featured “above the fold, in the center of the home page. An the discretion of the editor, some stories will be promoted to the more prominent left-rail; usually 2-4 per day.
We will, of course, continue to post the material you are sending but if you want direct control and to see every announcement published you will need to register an account and copy/paste the release.
If you are interested I would be happy to set you or someone on your staff up with an account and train them.
In addition, we recently added an editor who is managing our online calendar and he can set you up with an account where you can add events (again, they would need to be “New Rochelle” events). The calendar is prominently displayed on our home page. The full version of the calendar (http://www.newrochelletalk.com/cal/events/) has many wonderful features to further promote events.
Our calendar is not just a list of events but a highly sophisticated software program, really a promotions powerhouse. As an authorized event editor, you can securely manage your event calendar from any computer at anytime. You can save time by entering recurring events once and publishing them for multiple dates. More importantly you can get New Rochelle events directly in front of New Rochelle residents with minimal effort to maximum effect at no cost.
From a technical perspective, the software offers advanced support for RSS 2.0 compliant event allowing simply syndication of your events on multiple platforms, formats and services. Users can browse and search events using their favorite mobile device, including iPhones, Blackberrys and PDAs. At a click of a button, events can be emailed for a friend, added to Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, Mac iCal, Microsoft Outlook and more or promoted via “word of mouth” using social media promotion via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Google Buzz — over 70 (70) of the most popular social bookmark/content sharing sites. Events are displayed within the Talk of the Sound’s iPhone App. There is full integration with Google Maps for location/directions to the event.
View of a sample event web page here (http://bit.ly/9J21Pq)
To extend our reach even further, we have partnered with Eventful.com to provided additional reach for our event promotion efforts. In our calendar, all events can also automatically be sent to Eventful.com (http://eventful.com/)
Eventful is a leading digital service connecting consumers with entertainment and live events. Over 15 million people rely on Eventful every week to find out what’s happening and decide what to do; from movies, concerts and sports to family fun and nightlife. Eventful’s community of nearly 15 million registered members use Eventful to discover, promote, share and create events. Users also engage in Eventful’s social fabric to share events with their friends, review films and events and meet others with shared interests. Eventful serves its users across multiple platforms including online, iPhone and email programs, all of which deliver highly personalized content to each user.
For those with web sites that wish to link to Talk of the Sound, if your site does not currently publish an RSS feed set it up so that it does and we can add you to the NewRo Buzz so that every item in your feed shows up on the Talk of the Sound home page with no extra effort on your part. Again, if you need help with this, get in touch and we can explain it to you.
In conclusion, let me say we will continue to accept tips from readers and welcome story ideas but there is no reason to ask permission or wait for a reply. Take a few minutes to sort out how to post an article on Talk of the Sound; once you see how easy it is (basically like sending an email) and the results you get the cost-benefit tradeoff will become abundantly clear. The long-term effect of each person adding their own bit of content is to increase the usefulness of the site which will, in turn, increase the audience, which will, in turn, giving you an even bigger platform to share you stories, promote your event, raise awareness of your cause and better inform the community.