Publisher Interview: The Value of using a Geodirectory for your Event Calendar
GUY: These events for us are within the Geodirectory, which you guys have and I didn’t understand how valuable it would be to have all of our events within a Geodirectory. Now I am realizing how much the Google algorithms and everything like to swim into these directories because you’ve got links, addresses, images so this helps with indexing. And we are a member of Google News and Apple News, so a huge part of our traffic and referrals actually come from Google News.
Events probably account anywhere from 20-35% of our overall traffic if you look at it over a long period of time.
I didn’t expect that to happen.
If a publisher has the opportunity to publish events, I highly recommend they do so through the directory that you guys have kind of built on this platform. It works really well. Of course you can complement any of that with a featured story, and kind of double up on the content. That always helps, we do a lot of that. But the event’s directory is super powerful we love that, so I just wanted to highlight that.
And then going back to the homepage, you’ll notice in the right column here, we have put together very big featured events on the right. So we use that “Featured” capability as a selling point. People pay us to Feature their events
MATT: I was also interested in the fact that you said up to 30% of the traffic is the events. So just to tie that back to weekly print publishers, they are all putting it in the print edition, I think what they could look at here is this directory system and the advantages it has. You wouldn’t use this, but we actually have a way to export events for print from the directory system. So what they could be doing is doing it just like you, where you are kind of managing all the events online, they are appearing online immediately, but then you have an export at the end of the week.
The main point here is that they’re already collecting the events for print. If they could just put them online in an indexed, structured format, that would help with keyword search.
One thing I was curious about, could we see the submit form for those?
GUY: Sure, one thing that we wanted to do was make it really easy for our readers to submit their news and events; There are multiple layers to our onion, so to speak.
Going up to “Add Event”, the reason why we did this is because our other online publications in town don’t make it easy for people to do. Plus, again, it saves me a ton of time and, more importantly, money because now we are not producing all the events ourselves, people are doing the work for us because they want their events promoted. So we worked with Our Hometown and created basically a simple form, people put in their name, phone number, email, website, all that, event title, description, and then they go through what it’s all about.
And then, once everything is submitted, we get a notification to review it, my staff then vets that information, makes sure its accurate. But instead of spending 15-20 minutes, which is what it takes to configure an event yourself, it takes us 3 minutes to vet an event that’s been submitted to us. And now we have valuable content, I mean there are some months that we’ve literally gone out and spent the time with the major organizations in the area, whether that’s the public library that are very active in our community with great events, or the larger organizations like our event center, which is a 6500 seat indoor arena, and they’ll submit dozens of events and in doing so, we are not only saving a lot of money, but the content is valuable. It’s up there now, it draws traffic.
For the print publishers that don’t quite understand it, I’ve been in the digital world now for 10-15 years, content is everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s crocheting or a professional basketball game, there is a world out there for everybody, there’s an audience. And so the more content you have online, it drives more traffic, it is that simple. So anything that you can do to generate content, for free or low cost is valuable, that’s why the submit widget is valuable.