Downing says there are a number of advertising channels unique to the top of the South for clients that only focus on that region.
“For many of our clients, traditional mass media campaigns are not an option.
“That has meant we need to be very niche when choosing and buying media. We have had to do lots of research and dig deeper to find advertising platforms that are appropriate for our client's strategies.”
For example, he says a locally-owned community newspaper might only reach a small number of people, but if you string enough of them together you start getting reach that makes sense for a bigger campaign.
“The rise of digital advertising that allows geo-targeting has been perfect for these clients too.”
Depending on the businesses and campaign, Downing says his team still makes use of local newspapers and radio, but with many of their clients promoting products nationally and overseas, digital media is often an effective means of communication.
Stuff Nelson regional editor Victoria Guild says with the huge audience power of Stuff, her team has the advantage of getting regional news out to a far greater audience than they did with just a newspaper, but they also recognise people in the community love local news and tailor stories for different audiences.
“I think our regional audience is more interested in the bigger picture nationwide than those in the big cities.
“They like to know what is happening in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, but also like to be kept well informed on what is going on in the region. They also expect more hyper-local coverage.”
Although all content appears online, Guild says traditionally the region’s print readers are older and expect more in-depth and local articles than digital readers and her team curates the newspaper content to appeal to them.
The Nelson team also provides hyper-local content in the community publications the Nelson and Tasman Leaders, and they use Stuff’s social media platform Neighbourly.
Guild says Neighbourly, which is a local and address verified site connecting people within a community, has experienced big growth, and Stuff is using it rather than relying on Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms.
She says the local audience is not just important but absolutely critical, and one of the reasons Stuff has the biggest monthly audience of any news provider in the country is the truly national coverage.
“The biggest stories of the day do not always come from the big cities, many come from regional New Zealand and we are there for those stories.
“We also know we need to be in council and in court to be the eyes and ears of our local residents and it is those stories that build the loyalty.”
She says many in the community still refer to the newspaper as "our paper". Staff live and work in the region, have kids at school, are members of clubs, and are the face of the local Stuff platforms, she says.
“They bear the brunt of decisions made nationally, but also celebrate the wins when they have been able to help someone through the power of their story.
“It can be a fractious relationship at times, but we are still seen as an essential watchdog within the community.”
The Regional Rundown series will explore the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa, Nelson/Marlborough, and Otago regions. To read the profiles, click here.
This story is part of a content partnership with News Works.