The featured TAPinto franchisee for September 2019 is Faith Ballantine-Armonaitis of TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro. The loss of the weekly newspapers in Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge motivated Faith, a communications professional and active community volunteer, to start TAPinto in her area.
Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?
I joined TAPinto.net in August, 2017.
We launched in August to introduce the audience to the news outlet. We were able to publish community news, back to school articles and high school season previews before the start of the new school year in September.
Q. Why did you want to franchise your own TAPinto? What made you want to choose Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro as your TAPinto site?
I live in Hasbrouck Heights, so I was already involved in local organizations like Little League, Girl Scouts, and PTA. The town’s weekly newspaper closed in early 2017, so there was a news vacuum where no one was reporting on local news and issues vital to the residents. The borough of Wood-Ridge had lost its weekly newspaper several years earlier. There is also some cross-pollination between the two towns, in terms of shared sports teams, and concerns about area issues like development and the expansion at Teterboro Airport.
Q. You have an interesting background, can you tell us about it a little bit?
I have over 20 years of communications experience, ranging from radio, public relations, corporate communications, media relations, and work as a publicist.
Q. What do you enjoy covering the most in Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-Ridge, and Teterboro?
Meeting the people and telling their stories.
Q. Is TAPinto full time for you or do you still work outside of the journalism world?
TAPinto is a full time venture for me, although I am a substitute teacher in the school district. Plus, I’m a Girl Scout troop leader and continue to support the local Little League and junior football program.
Q. How do you think businesses and readers can best utilize TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro? What sort of advantages do you have that other advertising platforms lack?
The idea behind TAPinto is that it provides a hyperlocal focus on the communities it serves -- readers will rarely see a story on TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro that doesn’t relate back to the towns in some way.
Businesses want to reach our significant audience and we provide them with the affordable and effective marketing tools to do so, from content marketing to email marketing to social media marketing and more.
We also encourage readers to submit content, whether that may be their thoughts on a relevant topic that affects the local community, or coverage of an event, meeting, sports games, or anything else they believe readers would want to know more about.
Our platform is very easy to use for content submission. As Editor, I am visible in the communities and accessible to readers to ensure that we provide the most relevant content, in a fair manner.
I am proud of our efforts to support community organizations, local businesses, and non-profits through affordable yet meaningful online marketing opportunities.
Q. What are some of your business strengths? What’s something you would like to work on?
Our strengths include sportswriting and photography. Chip Armonaitis is the lead sportswriter and does the majority of coverage for high school sports. We have a staff of talented and dedicated photographers who capture key moments in visual storytelling.
Q. Describe the TAPinto culture as a franchisee
TAPinto has built a supportive culture, that wants to see every franchisee thrive, and takes concrete steps to make that a reality.
Franchisees collaborate by working together or sharing stories of interest to their readers.
Q. What are your goals at TAPinto? Any future plans for TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro?
We’d like to bring on beat reporters to cover specific areas, and also present features about life-long residents and people who work to make our local communities a better place. We will continue to look to our readers to help guide us in the stories and information that they want to read more about.