Charlottesville, Virginia — The DTM, Charlottesville, Virginia’s hyper-local news and information website about the popular Downtown Pedestrian Mall area, announces the launch of DTM Digital Services, a comprehensive suite of Internet marketing services geared toward helping local businesses and organizations expand their web presence, promote their brand, and make their digital communications more effective.
Despite being launched just four months ago by award-winning journalist David McNair, The DTM drew over 70,000 views in January. Stories broken on the website have been featured on Gawker and other blogs and news websites across the country. A fundraising campaign for The DTM at Go Fund Me has raised over $3,000 so far, but McNair hopes the website will soon be self-supporting.
Indeed, The DTM’s coverage of the so-called “knock out attack” on the Downtown Mall in December, which broke stories on the incident that offered important details that went uncovered by the local media, prompted the executive editor of Fast Company Magazine, Rick Tetzeli, to comment, “Good stuff from what seems to be the best news source in Charlottesville.”
McNair—a former reporter/editor for The Hook newspaper, which, despite winning the state’s top journalism prize three times, most recently in 2013, was closed down by its owners last September—says the idea for The DTM grew out of his concern that truly independent local journalism was disappearing in Charlottesville.
“The fact is, the traditional business model for newspapers, which involves selling print advertising, is dying,” says McNair,” which is what led to the demise of The Hook, despite its record of outstanding journalism.”
The DTM, says McNair, is his attempt to build a local news organization “from the digital ground up,” optimizing everything the web has to offer for helping businesses market and promote themselves, while providing a news business model that will allow quality local journalism to flourish.
“It’s not going to be an easy task,” says McNair, “but if we want truly independent local journalism to survive, it involves figuring out how to make online news organizations self-sustainable. And The DTM is just the beginning. We hope to one day have a suite of hyper-local news websites, and create a model that might be used across the country.”
To that end, The DTM is adopting an advertising model that newspapers like the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California have successfully launched.
“Basically, it involves establishing an in-house internet marketing agency,” says McNair. “The Press Democrat has something called the MediaLab, which is dedicated to offering businesses a whole suite of internet marketing services and support. So far, its been more successful than any other business model I’ve seen.”
What’s more, creating such an agency within a news organization is right up a journalist’s alley, says McNair.
“Basically, effectively marketing, branding, and promoting your business across the web involves doing the same thing that makes journalism great– telling compelling stories,” says McNair. “What makes you unique? What special services do you offer the community? Why should people choose you over the competition? What are your core values? Now more than ever, the web is a dynamic place to get your story out and make an impression on the public.”
Indeed, a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press found that one-third of adults under 30 get their news and information on social media networks. That’s double what it was in 2010, says the study, and that trends shows no sign of slowing down. Another 2012 Pew Research Center study found that half of all Americans now get their news and information digitally, topping newspapers and radio.
“Let’s face it,” says McNair, ” if your business doesn’t have a solid online or social media presence these days, you’re going to be left out of the conversation, and left behind.”
As McNair points out, for many business owners, this brave new digital world can be scary and confusing. What the heck is SEO, SMS and SEM? What’s a mobile news app?
“What’s more, trying to develop an online/digital presence can be tedious and time-consuming for business owners,” says McNair, “who really need to be focusing on what’s important–running their business and dealing with actual real-life customers!”
Again, as McNair points out, internet marketing is really about telling stories, despite all the technical jargon, and using the various new channels to deliver those stories. As an award-winning journalist in the digital age, a published fiction writer, and a marketing professional, McNair brings a unique set of story-telling skills to the table.
“I’m willing to sit down and explain this stuff to people, work with them, and come up with a compelling, smart way to use all this amazing technology to tell their story,” says McNair. “It is confusing, and in a lot of ways we’re learning as we go, but like it or not, the internet is where our public discourse is now.”
Event features and promotions, web ads, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, video production, public relations, and blogging services are just a few of the internet marketing tools offered by DTM Digital Services.
To learn more about The DTM, and DTM Digital Services, visit charlottesvilledtm.com or contact David McNair at 434-305-9364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DTM is maintained by Charlottesville journalist David McNair. Got a news item or new listing? Contact me at email@example.com.