eParisExtra is an online news outlet that covers important issues residents of Paris, Texas and the surrounding area. They keep the community up to date 24/7 on local news, crime, obituaries, business, weather and more.
We worked with them to build native news apps for iOS and Android. The apps have been a success and helped to bolster their free, ad-supported publishing model.
We chatted with Walter Mejia from eParisExtra about his experience.
Why Build an App?
eParisExtra used to rely heavily on social media to promote their content and get traffic. Social can work well, but the traffic tends to be more drive-by and lacks the ‘stickiness’ of a real destination.
“We wanted people to see us not just as a social media page but as a real news company. We wanted to have our own brand, and we wanted to be the go-to source for people, not necessarily through social media, but directly to us”
Investing in your own channel, 100% owned and controlled by you, is more powerful. Apps become a “destination” for your most loyal readers and become a key part of the brand as the most convenient route to your latest content. It also impresses readers when they see that you have quality apps for them to use!
“We’d built a new site, everything was working well. We needed that branding though, and we thought that having our own app would contribute to that”
Walter also recognized that apps provide some other key benefits that mobile sites don’t, like push notifications.
“We were looking for an app that would not only provide the news stories we publish, but that would notify people helping to increase traffic and pageviews”
With our apps you can send push notifications to thousands of readers in a simple click, notifying them automatically whenever you publish something new to drive up page views, traffic, and engagement.
For a smaller outlet, apps can also really impress prospective readers. They imply a level of professionalism that goes beyond a website and can make your brand seem more appealing and high quality to consumers as Walter discovered.
“We felt that having an app made us look more like a legitimate company. That was our number one goal – using the app to create our identity and make us stand out from the other local news companies by giving people more convenient access through a free app”
When you first make the decision to build native apps, the options available can be daunting. You could go the traditional route of building it through an agency or developing it in house, but these can morph into huge projects that take many months and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“We looked at how hard it was to develop an app. I’m a bit tech-savvy and wondered if there was an easy way to do it myself. The more I looked into it the more I realized that we really needed experts in. Of course, you’re always looking at the price. Everywhere we looked as far as app dev was way out of our budget especially when starting out”
Walter came across MobiLoud and realized that our solution breaks down all the traditional barriers to getting on the App Stores.
“They were in the price range we were looking for and it also worked with the platform we’re using for our site, WordPress. So it seemed like a very easy thing to integrate, so I started to look more into what MobiLoud offered”
Our apps are built from your existing WordPress site. This makes the build process seamless and efficient, and allows you to manage your app through your existing WordPress backend, so there’s no need to add anything to your workflow. Your apps will mirror your site, but with improved native features and navigation. Anything you publish will automatically be pushed to the apps.
Walter contacted MobiLoud through our site and we started going over the options and his goals.
“Pietro responded right away. What helped was they had the demo app. I like visual, and wanted to know how it would look and work. It was just so simple to integrate it into WordPress. Once I did that I was able to test the app in minutes and play with the different settings”
Once we’d gone over all the requirements we got to work building the apps on iOS and Android.
“Along the way MobiLoud was there to answer any questions we had, address any customizations that we were looking for when we were first starting out. That eased my concerns as far as working with them. They definitely proved to be professional and willing to work with us”
Our solution is customizable. There are a lot of different options you can go with to really get the app you want.
“We wanted a lean version of our site on the app where people were taken directly to the story. It was mostly built-in already, we just needed to get familiarized. Any question I asked was answered – color scheme, logo, specific styling, being able to add all the features the site had and more”
A stronger brand, a higher readership and more ad revenue
One of the key goals for Walter and the eParisExtra team was to get established as a brand with a strong identity in the communities they serve.
Their MobiLoud apps have certainly helped with that.
“Our ultimate goal was to create our own identity. In the towns serve, that goal has definitely been reached. We’ve become the go-to source for North East Texas towns when it comes to local news”
eParisExtra is a local news outlet, focused on serving a relatively small community with all the news they need to live their daily lives.
The apps have got some impressive usage in this context, and it’s still growing.
“I remember the day when we launched the new website along with the app trying to get people to download the app. It started off with 50 people, a year later we’re averaging over 1000 regular users”
As a free news outlet, eParisExtra generates revenue through advertising.
“We get about a million pageviews a month in a relatively small handful of towns. The apps definitely have given us the edge as far as being able to bring in advertisers to support our work and provide the readers with what we’ve promised which is free local news 24/7”
Our apps have a lot of options when it comes to making money from advertising. We integrate with major networks like Admob and Mopub, and there are a lot of other possibilities too.
Having another advertising channel through native apps to the engaged and loyal audience they help to foster can be a great selling point to advertisers.
Walter experienced this first hand.
“Having an app actually added more of a platform for advertisers to bring in their branding. Telling them that we have up to 3000 app users put us over the competition because now advertisers have the ability to reach people in a more effective way thanks to the app”
A Bright Future for eParisExtra
eParisExtra are long term customers, and we’re happy to be working with them toward their continued success. Once the apps are published the relationship doesn’t end there.
We continue to support you in any way necessary and take care of all ongoing updates and maintenance.
“We’ve stuck with them for years because of the amazing support. Any time we have questions or updates they’re there. When there are updates to the platforms they’ve been very quick. MobiLoud are always looking at ways to make the app better. They’ve been able to gain our trust and we want to continue working together as we’ve seen great results from the apps”
Walter recommends that other local news publishers also consider building apps as the benefits are clear.
“There’s no risk. Especially the way that it works. Just go and speak to MobiLoud, tell them what you’re looking for, they’ll make sure that you’re happy with the product. You’ll have no regrets. It’s a great solution, price and customer service”
We can help your brand get on the App Stores fast and affordably too.
If you run a high traffic site and are willing to share a little ad space, you might quality for our Publisher Program. You’ll get iOS and Android apps as good as The New York Times or Huffpost, at no upfront cost to you! The same apps would cost $100,000 if you built them yourself or through an agency.
eParisExtra delivers local news, sports and features. They serve over 66,000 visitors each month.