I spent, ooh, at least two minutes this morning trying to find the right biological term. And failed. I thought the word I might be looking for was ‘osmosis’ – but I’m not sure it is.

Should have stayed awake in biology…

Anyway, what I wanted to describe was the way in which local advertisers are starting to buy into this whole ‘long tail and water lilies’ type idea and can be ‘sucked’ up moisture-up-roots fashion.

New to that notion, where have you been…? OK, here’s the link…


So, that’s the image to bear in mind – of water lilies and long-tails… tails that drop down into the murky, rich depths of local journalism. Where the good stuff is – be it in either content or advertising.

And up that tail goes rich, sticky stories; to be felt and sold at our ‘piece’ market, by ‘mother’ – be it MFW or MLW.

But what is interesting about this whole long-tail concept is the fact that it is not just editorial content that can be drawn up towards the sunlight. Cos ‘local’ advertising can come too…

OK, here’s our Nigel; bright lad; runs the village garage. Services our cars.

Out of the side of his garage he also runs a little scooter empire; ESS Scooters, complete with its own website. ‘Natch.

And here’s his ‘sky’ ad. As made up by our Nick.


Which originally appeared on www.myfootballwriter.com/norwichcity. And, just as the British Army and Norwich City College have twigged, there’s a decent demographic ‘fit’ there; lads and football. Good place to find some likely eyeballs if you’re selling scooters, too. Good way to get to Norwich City College…

So anyway, this being Loddon – getting towards the heart of bandit country; the Waveney Valley badlands that separates Ipswich folk to the south and Norwich folk to the north – me and Kev wondered whether he’d like to advertise on the Ipswich site, www.myfootballwriter.com/ipswichtown.

‘Natch, he said.

Oh, and we’re opening up in Essex in January; fancy a run on the Colchester site; do you a deal… Essex boys, scooters…?


Because? Because the web has set little local firms free; just as it might little local journalists.

And having signed a nationwide courier deal and opened the doors of his web-site for on-line business, our Nigel – all from his little showroom tucked away on an out-of-the-way industrial estate – is now flogging bikes to punters in Fort William, in Birmingham, in Leicester and beyond.

Is he going to take out individual adverts in the Birmingham Mail, the Leicester Mercury, etc, etc? Or is he going to work out of a convenient network? One that gets him to the on-line eyeballs that he wants?

So up the tail he comes… fancy www.myfootballwriter.com/bristolcity? Sure… do me a deal…

The Internet has set him free commercially; he has a global shop-front and with a courier deal in place, he can deliver his products – deliver the ‘content’ of his little showroom in the back end of Loddon – to wherever his customers are.

That’s why being local in focus but national in scope can work… because these days thousand upon thousand of local businesses are, likewise, learning to be exactly that.

Nigel can put his scooter outlet into the palm of people’s hands. The breadth and range of his potential customer base has exploded. And he’s intent on taking full advantage.

Give him an elegant, simple opportunity to develop his brand across a network and you’re sucking up local advertisers towards the water-lilies and the sunlight; you’re not asking the likes of our Nigel to wander off and find Mr BlogAds or whoever and then asking for a price to cascade ‘down’; this is local advertising working from the bottom up.

Nor, of course, is he entrusting an algorithm to find him the eyeballs he wants; he can see where he thinks the lads will be looking for himself, thank you very much.

Clearly, it’s not an answer for every local business; some will only want eyeballs that are within 30-minute drive time; you won’t get too many takers for Norwich City College on the terraces of Ashton Gate, but there is something going on here; something that ought to work going forward – that if you can re-organise yourself sufficiently elegantly that you can be local in focus, but truly national in scope then local advertisers will come too.

We are, it seems, travelling the same bumpy road together.