Congratulations to Dustin Bartholomew and Todd Gill, who are approaching the five-year anniversary of their hyperlocal news site The Fayetteville Flyer. They talk to Paul Gatling of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal for this cover story on the business, which began in 2007 as a niche site about local music and bands and exists today as the go-to news site for everything that’s going on Fayetteville.
Bartholomew and Gill, former ad executives of Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, say the site is generating 190,000 page views and between 50,000 to 60,000 unique visitors per month. And they are determined to keep the site free to readers, relying completely on advertisers to support the business:
Today, there are about 45 businesses who advertise on the website.
Those sponsors sign a one-year renewable contract to place ads on the site. The cost? $300 per month, or $3,600 per year.
There are another 10 or so regular advertisers who purchase banner ads through other, short-term advertising options.
“The 45 [sponsors] are what we rely on to keep the business stable; to keep the paychecks coming in,” Gill said. “We know that we can continue going out and bringing in news without wondering if we’re going to be able to sell banner ads this month.”
Those sponsors have been particularly loyal. Gill says it’s rare that one doesn’t renew. And there’s this anecdote, which should send a chill down the spine of the newspaper guys:
Fayetteville-based restaurant chain Slim Chickens is one of the Flyer’s longtime advertisers.
Chief marketing officer Greg Smart said the company’s advertising with the Flyer tend to be more specific to products or promotions.
Slim Chickens no longer advertises with daily newspapers.
“It’s just not cost effective,” he said. “This is really a more affordable option and it’s been a way for us to stay relevant on a hyperlocal basis. I wish there were other [websites] like the Fayetteville Flyer in our other [restaurant] markets.”
That’s a pretty high compliment from an advertiser. Also noted: Bartholomew and Gill say the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette paywall is a great equalizer as the Flyer, with a fraction of the daily paper’s resources, competes for local news readers.
You can read the complete Northwest Arkansas Business Journal story on the Fayetteville Flyer right here. And of course, the Fayetteville Flyer is always online here.