Silicon Hills News recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and the site continues to gain momentum with the central Texas technology community.
Readership in Austin and San Antonio topped 10,000 monthly visitors in June and continues to grow. The goal is to hit 50,000 monthly visits in the next six months.
On the business side, the site recently landed a big sponsorship deal from Geekdom, a co-working and collaborative space in downtown San Antonio, which recently branched out to San Francisco. Geekdom also plans to set up sites in South America and Asia in the coming months. That sponsorship will allow Silicon Hills News to hire a reporter in San Antonio.
Also I’m working on finalizing additional sponsorships and ads from a variety of companies including a law firm, a gym, a bank, a realtor, and a high-tech company. I’m still working on landing a telecommunications and computer sponsor too. All in all, it looks like Silicon Hills News will meet its goal of $100,000 in sponsors by the end of the year. Still working to meet the $50,000 goal in ads. I’m 20 percent there. That may take a bit longer. But the good news is that it’s definitely an attainable goal.
Silicon Hills News is also an official S-Corporation. I received our federal tax ID and our state doing business as certification and I opened a corporate bank account. Silicon Hills News even has stock certificates. It was really strange opening a bank account at a bank that I’ve reported on and written dozens of stories on as a business reporter. Now I’m a business customer. That’s how the new media landscape works.
Silicon Hills News is also on Angelist and in the coming months I plan to pursue $100,000 in angel investment that will allow me to hire a full time reporter in the Austin market too. That reporter will be based at Capital Factory, a technology coworking site downtown.
One lesson that I’ve learned in the past year is not to count on any money until it’s in the bank. It often takes six months or longer to close a big sponsorship deal. Also, I make sure to have signed sponsorship contracts.
Innovation is also expensive. I have lots of ideas on how to do things differently and features that I would like to add to the site. I hope to execute on some of those in the coming months.
This past year has been a wonderful experience and I’m more excited than ever about the future of journalism and the ability for an ex –newspaper reporter to take an idea, execute it and create something new and make a living as a new media entrepreneur.
Silicon Hills News also recently launched a five-times a week newsletter using Mailchimp. That helps to drive traffic to the site along with posts to Facebook and Twitter. Social media is a huge asset to a news startup.
This next year, Silicon Hills News plans to add a weekly video feature to the site as well as a podcast and cartoon. So stay tuned, the best is yet to come.