The featured TAPinto franchisee for the month of September 2020 is Rebecca "Becky" Greene, who owns and operates TAPinto Fair Lawn/Glen Rock. As a veteran journalist, Greene has built a profitable online local news business while providing high-quality, objective local news for the residents of Fair Lawn and Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Q. Why did you want to franchise a TAPinto site? What caused you to choose Fair Lawn/Glen Rock as your TAPinto location?
A. I came from the North Jersey Media Group, mainly the weeklies, which were hyperlocal and well-read up until about five years ago. I covered towns from Elmwood Park to Mahwah. When North Jersey got bought out about four years ago, I found Mike Shapiro (CEO, TAPinto). We started chatting over several months, and I couldn’t help but feel excited about editing my own site. While I started out with a business partner, I’ve now own the site. I live in Fair Lawn, and with Glen Rock right next door, I knew there would be a ton of interesting editorial to cover.
Q. You have an interesting background. Can you tell us a little about it?
A. I grew up in Upstate New York (sometimes I catch wind of my own accent, and I think, "geez! is that me?" especially after living in Jersey for so many years). My parents were farmers until I was five, and then we went on to own a family grocery store in Utica, NY, so I got to see first hand the trials and tribulations of owning your own business. But when it was time to move on, I couldn’t wait to go to college. While I didn’t go far (Syracuse University), it was perfect for me. I was used to the unbelievable amounts of snow and they offered what I wanted to study: Journalism and Business.
Q. What do you enjoy covering the most in Fair Lawn and Glen Rock?
A. Believe it or not, I really like covering Council and Board of Education meetings. I say that because meetings can really get into the weeds sometimes. It’s where you learn about what really goes on in town. It’s like a saga; you learn about governing personalities, how people feel about the decisions government and education officials make, and why it’s important to know your civics because, at the local level, it affects the way you live your everyday life.
Q. Is TAPinto full time for you? If not, what do you also do?
A. TAPinto is full time for me. I have a few hats to wear within the business, but it’s almost relieving not to do just one part of what needs to be done. I like to know about the way an online publication works inside and out, and I’ve been doing that full force.
Q. How do you think businesses and readers can best utilize TAPinto Fair Lawn/Glen Rock? What advantages does TAPinto have that other marketing platforms lack?
A. A super targeted audience. People are logging onto TAPinto because they want to see what’s happening in that town, whether it’s residents or businesses. And that’s the customer. That’s the person who is in town, utilizing services, asking questions, wanting to know what’s going on in the schools.
Q. What are some of your business strengths? What’s something you would like to work on?
A. I think I enjoy the social aspect of business. Talking to local business owners and learning what their challenges are. I really like Chamber of Commerce meetings and events. Knowing business owners builds trust between my online media outlet and the business owner, therefore bringing us both what we want, which for me is readership and for them, customers.
I need to work on being more proactive to seek out the business owners, not being shy about letting them know TAPinto is a perfect place for them to reach their potential customers and keep their current customers informed.
Q. Describe the TAPinto culture.
A. There is an environment of learning. There are regular seminars in which we learn as a group how to use various tools, which occurred in-person before COVID and on Zoom after COVID. TAPinto corporate did not slow down its push for professional, hyperlocal content or its drive to help businesses come out of COVID with creative, affordable marketing solutions. There is also a hands-on approach to solving everyday issues that come up, whether they’re legal, technical or even content-based. There is always someone to answer questions or bounce around an idea. And if something isn’t working, corporate is quick to shift gears to solve issues.
Q. What are your goals at TAPinto? Any future plans for TAPinto Fair Lawn/Glen Rock?
A. My goal is to own more sites. Whether it be up the Route 208 corridor in the different towns that I’m certain would welcome its own news site, or, even in another state. As far as Fair Lawn/Glen Rock goes, it has kept me hopping, and I will continue to bring people the information they need to make choices as voters and taxpayers. I work with freelancers who help me be in as many places as possible on any given day. I also partner with nearby sites, like Hawthorne, Paramus, Wood-Ridge, Hackensack and Nutley, who have great editors that share ideas and make life easier, and fun!
Q. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
A. Years ago, as far back as 1998, I dreamed of news that would be in the format it is right now. At that time, I had an online blog about Hawthorne, a town I covered for five years. I had no idea what online news would look like, but clearly, some years later, our CEO Mike Shapiro, did. TAPinto is a very modern version of excellent, boots on the ground, good-old-fashioned journalism. And people are buying it!