This week's feature will focus on TAPintoWestfield franchisee, Jackie Lieberman. Find out what makes TAPintoWestfield.net different than the competition, what she did before coming onto TAPinto.net and how an inexperienced sales person became one of TAPinto's most successful franchisee's.
When did you join TAPinto.net?:
I started as a freelance reporter in 2011 and became a licensee (that’s what we were back then) in 2012. I was one of the first guinea pigs. I mean franchisees.
Why did you want to franchise your own TAPinto? What makes TAPinto different or unique?
I like being my own boss. I had a lot of ideas I wanted to test out, and being the publisher means no one telling me I can’t give those ideas a shot. (Within reason.) Of course, it also means that if something fails it’s all my fault! But I don’t mind falling flat if it means I learn something from it that makes my site better going forward.
What do you enjoy covering the most in Westfield?
Westfield is such a community-oriented town. I guess my favorite stories are the ones of people coming together and helping each other in their times of need. It proves to us that there is so much good here. It outweighs the bad news.
What did you do before you franchised your Westfield site?:
Just prior to working for TAP (then called The Alternative Press) I was freelancing, writing what I guess you would call “lifestyle” stories and blurbs and developing recipes. I’ve worked at women’s magazines, local newspapers, business publications and websites. I went to the French Culinary Institute and worked for many years as a food editor and writer. I have a degree in magazine journalism from Drake University in Iowa, class of 1999.
Is TAPinto full time for you or do you still work outside of the journalism world?:
TAPinto is my full-time job. I stopped freelancing for other publications when I became the Westfield licensee/franchisee.
TAPinto allows businesses and users to post content on our sites, either for free or for a small fee. How do you think they can best utilize TAPintoWestfield.net? What sort of advantages do you have that other advertising platforms lack?
Our biggest advantage is that people who live and/or work here in Westfield rely on us as their source of news. If you have something you want them to know about, this is the place to publish it. Not enough businesses and organizations take advantage of the calendar, if you ask me. There’s a very small fee to publish an event on our calendar, and it’s there for all of our readers to see! Advertisers and charities can publish their events for free.
What are some of your business strengths? Your weaknesses?
As a journalist, I had never sold an ad before I started this job. That’s both a strength and a weakness, I think. No one ever taught me how to sell, and as a result I don’t make the same age-old mistakes that I think a lot of sales people make. I don’t try to force something to work if it doesn’t — I customize everything to work best for the advertiser. And if we’re not a good fit, I say so. I don’t want anyone I work with to be unhappy.
Describe the TAPinto culture as a franchisee
This is definitely a culture of collaboration. We share stories with each other. We sell advertising into each other’s towns. We all want to see the other franchisees be successful, because their success adds to our success.
What are your goals at TAPinto? Any future plans for TAPinto Westfield?
My goals are to continue to offer more of what my readers want in a changing world. Most recently, that means adding more videos and even podcasts, and covering more of the government meetings, such as planning board and board of health. And with that I want to continue to find new streams of revenue that benefit me, my advertisers and my readers. A great example of that is Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week sponsorship by Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Insurance Agency.