Our family bought a home in Brigantine back in 94. Over the years, I noticed my friends in Philly had no idea of what Brigantine was all about. Most didn’t know where it was…. even though they visit Atlantic City often. Some knew of Brigantine through stale, no longer accurate newspaper reports & stories passed along for decades. Sleepy fishing town. Bug infested. Boring. Backwards. Corrupt.
Why was this amazing island just over the bridge from Atlantic City so unfamiliar to outsiders? Why did Brigantine leaders unofficially encourage a closed society? Who benefited from this insular way of thinking?
In August of 2011, we decided to build a website devoted to Brigantine tourism. We learned how to use a popular online publishing platform to create websites. This tool allowed us to easily create a hyper-local news & info site for our hidden, Jersey shore resort town.
BrigantineNow was originally an experimental news & tourism site for the resort town of Brigantine, New Jersey
We initially used BrigantineNOW for our day job: training local Newspaper, TV & Radio executives.
Since we vacationed in Brigantine for decades, we knew the true awesomeness of this barrier island. We also knew that Brigantine had a pretty bad web presence & marketing plan too. 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 YouTube videos of parking-lot 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. Nobody in City Hall or the Brigantine Chamber of Commerce thought this should be fixed?
For too long, the municipal & business chamber websites gave online readers the absolute wrong impression of this jewel by the sea. Recently, the Chamber website was offline for over 3 months. The municipal website was riddled with typos, poor grammar and digital dead ends. Hard to believe, but the former Brigantine Chief of Police was the webmaster and online PR director. Crazy. I knew that this kind of bad stuff was holding back tourism and Real Estate values on this beautiful island.
When it comes to using Facebook & Social Media for promoting Brigantine, we knew it was helpful but these ‘free’ platforms also had serious limitations.
We decided to kill THREE birds with one stone.
#1. Build a hyper-local News & Info website using low-cost digital tools.
#2. Provide a far more accurate, online description of Brigantine via pictures, video and search-optimized online stories.
#3. When teaching local media execs about web strategy, we do the following: instead of verbally describing the benefits of a particular online idea, We just install the idea online…. and show it off….in action…. on a site www.BrigantineNow.com, www.ACprimetime.com or www.DownbeachBUZZ.com.
Originally we created BrigantineNOW.com to show off digital tools, online sales and content strategy on a live website.
The understanding and retention from our training of Newspaper & Broadcast clients… dramatically increased.
Jump ahead to 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 (JAN 2016) the reach of BrigantineNOW is well over 15,000 readers per month, using a mix of email newsletters, FaceBook, YouTube, relevant search-optimized stories, etc.
UPDATE: BrigantineNOW is now a part of the Downbeach News Network which includes www.ACPrimetime.com & www.DownbeachBUZZ.com .
Revenue? We still avoid over-reliance on banner ads. Instead, we leverage the passionate site readership. It’s all about database opportunities and lead generation. BrigantineNOW is a Google magnet too. Search engine optimized out the wazoo. Readers love it. So do the sponsors.
BrigantineNOW delivers on what local business demands. It’s not rocket science. They wants leads. They want video & pics of their business. They want a great looking website that’s easy to update & in-expensive. They want to be easily found in a Google search.
BrigantineNOW.com mixes this understanding with our readership needs…..the readers who have come to trust in the very independent BrigantineNOW as the GO TO destination for all things Brigantine. Lots of pictures, video and relevant info.
Some call the Internet a ‘Local Newspaper Killer’. We call it a secret weapon behind the fast growth of BrigantineNOW.com. Easy to use, online publishing platforms level the playing field for those who create, share and serve.
Traditional media (TV & Newspaper) is not a big fan of this content publishing system – it 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? Not exactly. But it certainly hurts Newspaper’s dominance and readership. It keeps picking off their local advertisers too.
Learning how to use the Internet was the most valuable skill we picked up over the past 15 years. By becoming fluent in digital marketing, we create, develop, experiment, teach, train and do just about anything we can think of….real fast, real cheap and real good. The best part? We don’t have to beg a techie geek to help us build a thing. Imagine if each time you wanted to eat, you had to hire a chef?
Contact us. We live & breath Digital Marketing….and oh….we LOVE Brigantine Beach too!