Writing in Lost Remote, Cory Bergman expands on the idea from Newsosaur that journalism startups need to focus on business.
As a journalist entrepreneur myself, the business challenge is what keeps me awake at night. It’s just as important to know how to help your local advertisers succeed as it is to know what news to cover. As Mutter suggests, a business plan is critical. So is finding people who have a nose for business and understand what it takes to make a startup succeed. This is the big problem to solve, and it won’t be easy.
In the Newsosaur post, the comments give additional insight from other journalism entrepreneurs.
Chris Seper on key moments in launching his startup:
a couple of business mentors who reminded me – constantly – that to build a business I would need to spend as much time selling as I would producing content.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day for them to do all the “other” stuff that goes into running a 25-person company: payroll, benefits, government paperwork, income statements, foundation proposals, membership drives, marketing campaigns, meeting with major donors, tweaking the website based on feedback, analyzing online traffic, etc.
Jeff Noedel, editor and publisher, CountyNewsLIVE.com, Hermann, MO:
I agree with the central theme here that a very equal balance between sales and reporting is needed. I’d drop the call for a tech department. I’d propose the third leg of the stool is audience promotions (which helps sell ads and subscriptions).
David Boraks, founder and editor, DavidsonNews.net, Davidson, N.C.
We’ve found that old-fashioned marketing makes the difference: direct mail, sponsorships, presence (and signage) at community events, fliers in kids’ school folders, posters on high-traffic bulletin boards and storefronts, and of course lots of online and offline word of mouth from folks who’ve read your stuff. There’s a lot of legwork involved in this, but it’s absolutely essential. “If you build it they will come” is a fallacy.