To understand how and why DownbeachBUZZ got started, we need to ask this simple question: How do 75% of Margate, Ventnor and Brigantine homeowners keep up with local news and info?
If you answered “local newspaper & radio”, you’d be wrong. That’s because 3/4 of Jersey shore homeowners & taxpayers are summertime-only residents. They don’t subscribe to the local newspapers or listen to local radio.
This was a ‘light bulb moment’ for the team here at DownbeachBUZZ.com.
Approx 75% of Jersey shore homeowners pay most of the taxes and have no voting rights.
Internet as Information Savior for Brigantine, Atlantic City, Margate & Ventnor.
Why was Brigantine, an amazing little barrier island just over the bridge from Atlantic City, so unfamiliar to outsiders? Why did Brigantine say ‘no thanks’ to our volunteer work promoting tourism in Brigantine? Who benefited from this insular way of thinking? Hmmm…. That’s when we saw an opportunity.
In August of 2011, we built a WordPress-powered website devoted to Brigantine tourism.
BrigantineNow was originally an experimental news & tourism site. We initially used BrigantineNOW for our day job: training local Newspaper, TV & Radio executives.
Brigantine had a horrific web presence & no marketing plan to boot. What I personally witnessed daily in beautiful Brigantine was not accurately reflected to the outside world via the Internet.
I would do Google searches for Brigantine NJ. The search results were not good: newspaper reports and videos of fights, lawsuits, corruption, sexual harassment by a former Chief of Police, etc. Photos of Brigantine only featured images of local attractions in the 70’s. Geez. Brigantine really needed help with marketing the island.
For too long, the municipal & business chamber websites gave online readers the absolute wrong impression of this jewel by the sea. Both the Chamber & Municipal websites were riddled with typos, poor grammar and digital dead ends. The former Brigantine Chief of Police was the webmaster and online PR director. Crazy. I knew these bad practices were holding back tourism and Real Estate values.
Reliance on Facebook & other Social Media for promoting Brigantine, Margate and Ventnor is helpful, but these ‘free’ platforms also have serious limitations. Did you know that less than 15% of your Facebook followers actually see your posts? There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Our game-plan to become the GO-TO destination for news about Brigantine, Margate, Ventnor & Atlantic City:
#1. Build a ‘hyper-local’ News & Info website using low-cost digital tools.
#2. Provide a far more accurate, online description of Brigantine, AC, Margate & Ventnor via pictures, video and search-optimized online stories.
Originally we created BrigantineNOW.com as an educational site to train Radio, TV and Newspaper employees. We wanted to show off digital tools, online sales and content strategy on a live, real website.
Then it happened…November 2012 and Hurricane Sandy’s visit to the Jersey coast. Local media storm coverage of Brigantine was spotty at best. Local Newspaper sites in Brigantine had minimal / no Sandy updates. The Brigantine city website was comatose for 3 days. A local TV website crashed.
We saw the massive need for a website totally devoted to how Brigantine was being affected by Hurricane Sandy. It all took off from there.
We decided to convert BrigantineNow.com from a training/beta site…to a full-service, hyper-local news & info site about the storm….and eventually move it towards news & tourism.
Facebook fans quickly grew from 300 to over 2,800. Page-views spiked from 500 per day to over 50,000 page-views a day right after the storm. Double opt-in email subscribers jumped from 100 to over 1,100.
Today (MAY 2017) the reach of our network of Jersey shore websites is well over 135,000 readers per month.
A mix of unique web visits, email subscribers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, relevant search-optimized stories.
BrigantineNOW is part of the Downbeach News Network: ACPrimetime.com & DownbeachBUZZ.com . REACHING OVER 135,000 READERS EACH MONTH.
Some of our clients:
- Atlantic City Police Department: ACPolice.org
- Atlantic City Planning Dept: Dept of Planning & Development
- Larry Campbell, Balsley Losco Real Estate: DownbeachHomes.com
- Sherri Lillienfeld Apex Prime Realty in Ventnor. nj-shorerealestate.com
- Atlantic City Boardwalk Advertising http://boardwalkads.com/
- Ken Villano Home Builders Villanobuilders.com
- Ziccardi Home Builders http://ziccardibuilders.com/
- DJ, Sound & Lights for Weddings: DJjackfahey.com
- Helping Atlantic County Veterans ACvets.org
- Raman Condos Brigantine http://ramanbrigantine.com/
BrigantineNOW.com and DownBeachBUZZ.com and ACprimetime.com readers trust us as the GO-TO destinations for all things Brigantine, Atlantic City, Margate, Longport & Ventnor. Lots of pictures, video and relevant info.
Some call the Internet a ‘Local Newspaper Killer’. Have you seen the non-stop circulation decline of the Press of Atlantic City? Yikes. And listeners to local AC radio stations are dropping like flies.
Traditional media (TV & Newspaper) is not a big fan of our growing success. This type of content publishing disrupts the media monopoly that’s been a profit machine & bully pulpit for a privileged few for quite some time.
Will the Internet really kill local Newspaper and radio? Not totally. But almost. It certainly puts a nasty hurt on their reach & impact. It keeps picking off their local advertisers too.
Is the Press of Atlantic City in worse shape than originally thought? It kinda looks that way. Publisher Mark Blum is personally asking the public to hang in there…. and support the Pleasantville-based newspaper operation that has seen dramatic drops in both readership and advertisers. Note: Local radio stations are also experiencing business declines due to the rise in digital news / marketing platforms like Facebook, Google, DownbeachBUZZ & ACprimetime. READ HERE .