Case study: This French Life (France)

The name of the publication and / or company

This French Life

Established

2003

Web Address

www.thisfrenchlife.com

Form of the company

Auto entrepreneur – self-employed.

Describe your site or business in few words.

This French Life provides many interesting nuggets of information and is of service to people who are keen to move to France, or those already living there. There are articles about setting-up a wide variety of necessary services, from banking to the internet, as well as some of the more enjoyable things about life. It also features interviews with people from the area, those that have lived here all their lives and those that have moved to start a fresh in France.

The site is organised by categories and from the front page of the site you will be able to read the latest articles and news. It is written by journalist Craig McGinty.

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid half time

1

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

On and off nine years, unpaid (only expenses): just three or four articles off about 6 people.

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

About half and half.

Business: the tasks include SEO – constantly. Analytics from Google mainly to see spikes, and check which terms. Social media optimisation was measured for a little bit but there was little click-through from Twitter etc. and not much involvement. The content is sent out automatically but comments are replied to.

“With a publisher head I am always aware that I am helping Twitter and Facebook and the less time i spent thisfrenchlife. I would say spend 90% on your own (site) and 10% elsewhere.”

Other tasks include designing newsletters, looking for new tools, aggregation, newsletter services comparing cost; selling advertising, looking at other ways of making that as smooth as possible. Feedback and the difficulty in people not getting it to work.

“I have to make the funnel as smooth and be there to help with questioners from advertisers. I adopt affiliate services that are tightly focused around questions from readers. I help readers with what they have asked directly but then I always keep an awareness if it raises a topic that might make a spin-off or small site because there is a need – perhaps it is ‘how do I do this or that’.

For eg: slowly try to develop holiday resorts for pierre and vacancy as there was not so much out there and they are big ticket purchases so commission on that sale through content is worth it. For the writing it is tourist based so you can rewrite/research etc. and the company had put some advertising/marketing budget into it which will prompt search requests so will generate audience and put that in front of advertising and future readers. You have to have attention to detail. You can’t just concentrate on the writing. It is the tie in.

Cross pollinating: using search and Google with your audiences and existing audiences.

Contents: recognising story ideas, answering, aggregation – there is a lot more competition now and more news services covering France. I will do the curating style post of pointing to headlines or a round-up of bloggers/navigation and highlighting. Other article ideas, newsy stuff for flights as well as interviews. Off diary. Fresh stuff.”

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

Yes, for nine years.

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

1000 GBP per month (1565 USD)

Where does your revenue go?

Typepad 100 dollars a year. Newsletter service 30 $ a month. Utilities.

What about profit?

“Invest in more writers. Being able to pay more than just expenses. More writers. It could grow. I have already helped people start regional sites and they are earning income from that. Although they are doing it themselves as self-employed you could have done it as a franchise or you could take % of those sites – ad blocks for eg. possibly maybe employ someone to cover a region – that would be great. “

What kind of advertising you sell?

Ad networks.

Affiliate marketing, both networks and individual programs.

Do you see your publication as your main product?

Yes.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability?

“Local websites should work with local financial services or any other high-priced services and get a proper split. It’s a big-ticket sell. Through your website and the themes around it – inheritance tax advice for example of local property. You take that lead and pass that on. It has better traction because it’s local. Potential with that could be worth a few grand. I have never seen local based websites do that as a mini website/form. I did it on and off with a currency firm but you need to look for areas that are not too competitive. Locally based search – mortgage advice in leads for eg. try new things.”