Going Hyperlocal: A Q&A With Edible Communities' CEO Tracey Ryder
The Yale Publishing Course, founded in 2010, is an intensive program offering knowledge and skills to mid- and senior-level professionals in magazine and book publishing. YPC brings in experts who address various topics, trends and issues pertinent to the rapid development of publishing in this day and age.
One of the speakers at this year’s magazine program (taking place July 14-19) is president and CEO of Edible Communities Inc., Tracey Ryder. Ryder co-founded Edible Communities in 2002, and it is currently the largest publication company dedicated to the local food movement in the U.S. In her speech, Ryder will address hyper-local publishing, as well as her business model, which has been very successful. Here she answers some preliminary questions for Publishing Executive regarding her upcoming YPC presentation.
Publishing Executive: Edible Communities Inc. focuses on local food movements across North America. What would you say are the main distinctions between hyper-local publications versus wide range publications?
Tracey Ryder: Our publications are able to devote all of their editorial pages to their local communities. The reach each of them has into the food artisans, farmers, and all other linchpins of the local foods movement is pretty incredible. That is the #1 best aspect of hyper-local publishing. Wider ranging publications simply can’t do that. Many of them (at least in the food space) are trying to do features on aspects of the local foods movement but they really aren’t able to capture it or make it as personal to each community as we can.
PE: Edible Communities Inc. publishes across North America, including large cities such as Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Diego, as well as regions such as Blue Ridge, Front Range and Michiana. Is there any difference between hyper-local publication in large cities and regions?
TR: As of today, we have 81 titles across North America. This is one case where size of community (or population) really doesn’t matter in terms of how profitable an Edible magazine is. We find that the most successful Edible magazines are those with the following characteristics: 1) publisher really knows their own community well or else is eager to learn it, and they are comfortable being “the face of the magazine” at events and wherever there are other public opportunities; 2) the territory the magazine covers is not too big. For example, [we had] Edible Chesapeake, which was too big and more “regional” than hyper-local—but now we can have Edible DC, Edible Richmond, Edible Baltimore (in the same area), which works much better.