The featured TAPinto franchisee for the month of November 2020 is Jeanne Wall, who owns and operates TAPinto Holmdel/Colts Neck and TAPinto Middletown. Jeanne, a former executive at Time Warner Cable, has built a profitable online local news business while providing thorough and consistent local news for the residents of Holmdel, Colts Neck and Middletown, New Jersey.
Q. Why did you want to franchise a TAPinto site? What caused you to choose Holmdel/Colts Neck and Middletown as your TAPinto locations?
I decided to franchise TAPinto Holmdel and Colts Neck in 2017. It was a good time for me to go back to work when my youngest of four was entering kindergarten. I still had my NYC connections as I worked there for nearly 15 years, but I did not want to work so far away from my family and spend so much time commuting every day from Holmdel. I decided to use my extensive communication skills from my "former life” and franchise TAPinto in my hometown of Holmdel and neighboring Colts Neck. This decision enabled me to work in the community where I live and are raising a family. My husband has lived in Holmdel all of his life and is deeply rooted here with a large network and our children attend the public schools here…
Q. You have an interesting background. Can you tell us a little about it?
Before having four children, I was a full time executive in New York City for nearly 15 years. My career began in television production and digital marketing for Time Warner Entertainment. I eventually moved into corporate PR for Time Warner Cable. From there I was employed as a Vice President of Media Relations, for a boutique firm under the WPP umbrella. I wrote communication plans and secured interviews with C level executives from Fortune 500 companies and major national media outlets. We also performed a lot of crisis management work for major corporations and celebrities. I had a very exciting and rewarding career traveling across the country on media tours, and securing interviews for my clients in major markets. My career was exciting and rewarding. The clients I managed included among many, The United Nations, Pfizer, Revlon, Regeneron, Whirlpool, Blackboard. I also was involved in a lot of non-profit charitable work for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope for Children Foundation, etc.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about your towns?
What I enjoy most about my TAPinto towns is that I can truly make a difference in my community. I enjoy making both business and charity connections for individuals, businesses and organization. I love telling success stories and helping raise awareness for local businesses, government policies, community initiatives and events, etc Highlighting charities and different important causes locally is something that is very rewarding personally. Holmdel, Colts Neck and Middletown are all great places to live, work and raise a family and telling the great stories about these towns every day is a very rewarding experience.
Q. Is TAPinto full time for you? If not, what do you also do?
TAPinto is absolutely a full time job for me. That is what I made of it. However, you can manage franchising and finding a work/life balance. It takes time management focus and hiring the right people to work with you. I also am very involved in local business networking and serve on various boards such as The Monmouth Film Festival, The Monmouth Park Charity Fund, The Middletown Arts Center and The Holmdel Chamber of Commerce, an organization that I co-founded in 2017.
Q. How do you think businesses and readers can best utilize TAPinto Holmdel/Colts Neck and TAPinto Middletown?
I hear it all the time from readers everywhere, “I go to TAPinto every day to find out what is going on in my town!” My readers know that if they want to know up-to-the-minute news in their towns, TAPinto is the resource for hyperlocal news about the community they live in. I think businesses can best utilize TAPinto’s unique marketing opportunities. I say unique because TAPinto offers content marketing in a way that is just not available with any other local media outlets. I offer highly personalized service to all of my clients and often think of ideas to connect them in their local community, positioning them as experts in their field. Advertising with my TAPinto towns includes traditional digital advertising but really that is just the beginning. In addition to the digital ad, clients (and therefore readers) receive interesting content marketing sharing, cross promotional opportunities, native advertising, event postings… TAPinto is a multi-faceted platform providing marketing, PR and community relations opportunities for its advertisers. Also, all key content published is shared on social media, amplifying the existing social media of the advertiser.
What advantages does TAPinto have that other marketing platforms lack?
TAPinto is never static. It is always moving and evolving. TAPinto has longevity. First the content publishes in the daily news. That news refreshes the online publication. Then the content is often shared on social media. And, it’s not static, there are click-thru links, embeddable video, podcasts, etc.
Q. What are some of your business strengths?
My business strengths are that I have very good communication skills. My EQ is something that has always served as an asset. I can pretty much connect with anyone, as I find everyone interesting. So, I love to converse and I love to hear someone’s story. Everyone has a story. I also like to help people and that includes my advertisers. I do everything that I can to make sure they are receiving a high level of customer service because I want my clients to realize their ROI and I want them to succeed, so it comes naturally. I listen to what my clients are saying and I make sure I stay connected with them always.
Q. What’s something you would like to work on?
I would like to work on my time management, my work/life balance. That’s my goal I’m working on now. I’ve been hiring more people to help me with some of the tasks both professionally and personally.
Q. Describe the TAPinto culture.
The culture at TAPinto is what you create it to be. I was one of the first to franchise in Monmouth County and I have set an example of a culture that is friendly and helpful. The TAPinto towns franchised under my HomeTown News LLC provide a community focused culture that supports local businesses, organizations and charities. We give back to our local community every day by telling the great stories of each town we serve and the people in them; the readers!
Q. What are your goals at TAPinto? Any future plans for TAPinto Holmdel/Colts Neck and TAPinto Middletown?
One of my recent goals was to start a regular video podcast and that has been working out great. I have a lineup for November for Middletown that includes a panel with the Mayor, key business owners and charities in Middletown. I’m going to alternate towns every month and also drop in audio podcasts into articles as well. I’m also interested in franchising another local area to cover news as it will also enable me to sell advertising into that town.
Q. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
I am appreciative of the experience to franchise a business that I can mobilize anywhere. For example, if I am out of town, I am just a wifi connection away. I can basically work from anywhere and I don’t have to worry about a brick and mortar operation. When I finish my work I can put it away and switch gears easily. My work keeps me close to my family and that is something that I cannot put a value on. Thanks!