RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Shortly after Local Tech Wire launched in 2002, Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, asked The Skinny: “So how’s your little web site doing?”
Now, a similar question would be: “So how many millions of readers will WRAL TechWire reach this year?
Eighteen years ago today, Local Tech Wire launched. The name is different. So is the ownership. Goodmon’s CBC acquired LTW from its Charlotte entrepreneur founders in December 2005 with Jimmy Goodmon (now CBC president, head of CBC New Media at that time) and his No. 2, John Conway, spearheading the deal.
The focus – original, hard-hitting, investigative when necessary, often exclsuive reporting – has not.
Yes, you read the readership correctly.
Millions of readers in 2019, up from millions of readers in 2018.
So how did this happen?
The perfect storm
A perfect storm of events launched TechWire from a steady growth path built on years of regionally focused reporting from startups to international giants to the “millions read, millions of page views” in December 2018. Built on a base of 50,000 stories, TechWire grew as the Triangle – our primary market – became a powerful force in tech and life science.
To give credit where credit is due … a lot of people made the growth of the past two years happen.
James Amato, head of strategy and business development, championed the conversion of TechWire from paywall to free built around a new website designed from the start to be mobile friendly.
About the same time, American Underground management decided to fold TechWire’s primary web competitor (Exit Event) and dollars spent there were funneled to TechWire.
That move provided the necessary funding for TechWire to recruit and hire more free-lance writers.
Oh, and let’s not overlook the news that Amazon was looking at the Triangle as a possible site for HQ2. Then came talk that Apple might come to town. Plus there was a chance to land a new Army headquarters.
So mix a new, graphically appealing and mobile friendly website with more resources and big headlines and what does one get?
Traffic. Tons of it.
TechWire’s reach spread across the US and the world, drawing million-plus readers and page views in 2018.
WRAL TV and WRAL.com – the media blowtorches in the Triangle – added their weight to the TechWire exposure and contributions (content, video, support).
By June and July, TechWire was churning out news and delivering readers like it had never done before.
No Amazon but …
The success continued. Amazingly, to all the leaders involved, traffic grew even higher in 2019.
Amazon wasn’t coming. Apple fudged. Texas got the Army.
But news in the Triangle – especially tech, startup and life science on which TechWire focuses – continued at a frenetic clip. Red Hat-IBM. Epic Games/Fortnite and $1.2 billion in capital. Cree’s transformation. More stories and topics that can be recited in one blog.
TechWire readership soared higher as the tech Triangle thrived.
At review time earlier this month, the managers looked at each other and marveled. Really. We’re all still humbled and amazed by what all has happened.
And continues the story, as Yoda would say.
2020 is off to a very strong start.
A team effort
The Skinny is writing this blog based on experience, having been around since before launch, hired as managing editor to put together the team of free-lance writers (including Allan Maurer, a cofounder and continuing high-value contributor) that put in place the foundation of TechWire today.
To writers past and present, none of this story would have happened without you.
So who else beyond James helped make all this happen?
The addition of Chantal Allam to a reporting position midway through 2019 made a huge difference. Aggressive. Funny. Eager. Strong photographer. Amazing she is.
Continuing contributions from Shannon Cuthrell, who came to TechWire from ExitEvent, has made TechWire’s exclusive Startup Guide and our calendar of events second to none.
Alan Maurer adds valuable insight and reporting. Renee Wright and Jason Parker are writers (and photographers) with flair.
As TechWire has grown, its list of top-drawer contributors has as well.
Reporters from our partners at the NC Biotech Center led by Jim Shamp and the UNC Business News Wire are invaluable. TechWire is always eager to capitalize on fine reporting from UNC, Duke as well as NC State media staffs.
Guest bloggers from NC RIoT, NC IDEA, LaunchBio, HQ Raleigh, the CED, Dr. Mike Walden at NCSU, entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa and David Gardner at Cofounders Capital provide TechWire a mixture of voices that help us reach readers and address topics TechWire could not hope to do on its own.
In addition to his business development efforts, James strives to provide content from our growing number of partners with help from Quinn Novels and Michael Baylor.
Laura Blake provides valuable marketing and promotion support from CBC New Media.
Bosses Conway, Goodmon Jr., Jodi Glusco and Chris Weatherly deserve recognition, too – especially for putting up with a troublesome editor. News Director Rick Gall and the TV/online news team are part of this story, too.
Team, as in T-E-A-M.
The social reach
Not to be forgotten, by the way …
These partners and allies have also driven TechWire’s social reach to new highs with 2019 a strong, strong year for growth across daily newsletter, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Onward, upward – we hope
Like the little engine that could, a little website has scaled heights none of us ever thought possible.
We have big plans for 2020, too. Stay tuned.
So to our readers and partners, here’s a tip of The Skinny’s cap.
Oh, and please keep coming back.