About 150 restaurants and 25 retail stores make up the one-square mile that is the Midtown Atlanta Business Improvement District (BID). Tree-lined streets showcase cozy neighborhoods of single-family homes and high-rise buildings climb to the sky. Add to that the largest concentration of arts and cultural venues in the Southeast. It makes for a vibrant community where there is always something happening and always something exciting to report to residents, neighbors, visitors and developers.
Midtown Atlanta, powered by Midtown Alliance, needed a new website to provide this diverse group the latest local news and helpful resources. Midtown Alliance staff wanted to replace the outdated monthly email newsletter—which was posted online by month and not searchable. They also wanted to create a more user-friendly and visually appealing place for business professionals to access documents.
We developed a News Center, a central hub with a hyper-local focus on news in Midtown Atlanta. We created multiple entry points for users to find news they were looking for—and to easily share on social media.
The News Center main page showcases three featured stories. Users can navigate through the news center in several ways. Clicking on one of 13 highlighted category buttons brings up stories on that topic. Or, they can choose to browse through the “most recent news” list or by month.
The website was built with responsive design, and one-third of visitors now view it on mobile. The mobile capabilities of the News Center allow users to share news articles easily on social media channels with convenient buttons next to each article. Each article also offers teasers to related stories.
With the additional elements—which were not available with the previous email newsletter—staff now think more broadly of how to present a story, says Brian Carr, director of marketing and communications for Midtown Alliance. “When we’re writing something now, we’re thinking of half a dozen different elements,” he says.
Now, Midtown Alliance sends people directly to the News Center for most of its paid social media marketing. Furthermore, the News Center web address is used as the primary link in most printed Midtown Atlanta marketing materials.
Midtown Alliance also wanted to develop a Resource Center where developers, brokers, news media, business executives and entrepreneurs could find a variety of helpful documents. The old website included a page that listed links to about 60 maps, reports, fact sheets and more. Visually dull, the links were not categorized in any way.
The idea was to provide a better, more attractive way for professionals to find the documents. Midtown Alliance wanted site visitors to see “all the different ways they can make informed decisions about how to possibly locate a business in Atlanta, or to expand, or to find out what is being developed here,” Carr says.
The new Resource Center slots material into eight primary categories, each showcased by a colorful box. We also set up a way to capture data that wasn’t previously available. Before a user downloads a document, the site asks for an email address and category of business that best describes the person. This data has been critical in showing Midtown Alliance who is using their information and which types of documents are most popular.
Midtown Alliance also uses the captured data as a lead-generation tool. Users are added to an email list and notified when new documents have been posted. The data is also used to tailor new material to specific groups. After Midtown Alliance discovered heavy interest from commercial real estate professionals, the BID created a monthly business and real estate report just for that audience.
Midtown Atlanta’s new website offers both an expanded view and a niche view on its community. The News Center provides the latest hyper-local news about the entire community, while the Resource Center provides specific documents that are exactly what business professionals are searching for.
The new site is a reliable, functional tool “that allows us to make sure that everybody gets to walk away with something they didn’t know before about Midtown Atlanta,” Carr says.