The City and Regional Secret Sauce: Insight from Publisher Cathy Williams


Publisher Cathy Merrill Williams knows what’s working in the digital space for city/regional magazines.

For city & regional publications, there’s huge potential in developing “hyper-local” online strategies for content and advertising. But what is really working for savvy publishers in the digital space?

We caught up recently with Cathy Merrill Williams, President & Publisher of Washingtonian Media. We asked her about the inside scoop on their efforts to create digital content and grow digital revenue.

Niche Media HQ:  For City/Regional publications, can you give us a couple of examples of digital strategies that have worked for you to grow revenue?


“Enhanced listings remain very important. Since people turn to city and regional magazines as a resource, the advertisers’ ability to add information about themselves (or their company) is critical. And certainly newsletters (done right) remain very popular vehicles to get messages out.”

Niche Media HQ:  What are some guidelines for publishers when developing a “hyper-local” online strategy? Any pitfalls to avoid?


“Truthfully, I think the word “hyper-local” is overused and misunderstood. What people want is local. Clearly defining what that means is important. You can’t compete with neighborhood email lists and Facebook “asks.”

You also need to provide a wider selection and give people reach. In the long run, content is still king. If you aren’t providing people with something they don’t know about in their community, you won’t get their attention (e.g. eyeballs, page views, clicks, time on site.)”

Niche Media HQ:  What trends do you see coming on the horizon for City & Regional publications?


Certainly native advertising. We have just scratched the surface there. Being in DC we see great examples of native advertising in advocacy space. There is a lot of potential for growth… of course, the next big thing will be here before we know it.”

Great advice from a publisher who walks the walk. From local online guides & directories to user-friendly apps and digital/print integration, The Washingtonian sets the gold standard for local magazine digital success.

Editor’s note: Cathy will be leading the session, Hyper-Local All Digital Success Stories at the Niche Digital Conference this fall in Minneapolis. Check it out!



More about Cathy:  Cathy Williams is President and Publisher of Washingtonian Media, a media company that includes the flagship magazine The Washingtonian, the national capital region’s leading monthly, and, the region’s premier lifestyle website.


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