At the core of the ever-expanding hyperlocal industry exists the belief that communities prefer to engage in content that is targeted towards their region; people like to learn and talk about what’s happening in their own backyard.  Hyperlocal networks like AOL’s community news-focused Patch, Happenings Media’s string of local lifestyle magazines, and Examiner’s grouping of local experts from around the country are all striving to identify with the local communities they exist within.

Tune into the radio in recent months, and you’ll find that the savviest of musicians have also taken note of this trend, turning hyperlocal content into Top 40 hits on the Billboards Charts.

Most notably, the new queen of pop, Lady Gaga, has connected with local audiences through a clever customization of her hit, “You and I.” The original track uses the appropriate location of “Nebraska” to represent Gaga’s former boyfriend Luc Carl. She sings:

There’s only three men that I’ma serve my whole life

It’s my daddy, and Nebraska and Jesus Christ.

However, rather than simply releasing the Nebraska-version of the song nationwide, Gaga cleverly recognized a hyperlocal opportunity and released location-specific radio versions of the song to individual markets.  Originally, she recorded eight additional location-specific tracks in markets like New York, Cleveland, and Florida.  Throughout the past few months, though, Gaga has expanded to reach many smaller markets like Wisconsin, Pittsburg, and Kentucky.    Her efforts are allowing Gaga to establish a deeper connection with both radio stations and consumers across the country:

So put your drinks up for (INSERT YOUR CITY)


British Virgin Island born rapper, Iyaz, also displays a talent for accessing hyperlocal communities, having won the heart of women across the country by customizing his hit “Pretty Girls” for various locations. Each version of the song’s lyrics describes the women in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, California, and the Twin Cities.  By rapping about popular local landmarks and referencing insider’s stereotypes in each version, the song immediately catches the attention of the local:

They say, to get a Philly girl,?

Then you gotta have a lot of swag?

I heard, to get a Cherry Hill Bell,?

Then you gotta ride a Cadillac?

I know, ain’t like a Fishtown girl,?

Cuz they know how to party off

As many in the hyperlocal industry attempt to master the art of customizing a broader message to appeal to local markets, an important lesson may very well be playing in the background.

Tina Paparone  and Angela Giovine are the founders of Happenings Media , a licensee network of digital lifestyle magazines.  Run by local publishers, each digital magazine serves as the lifestyle resource for a HAPPENING community while providing innovative digital marketing services to local, regional, and national advertisers.