Just a little reminder, folks, that Patch wants you to participate, not just read.
We update the site all day long and get really excited when you add useful information to whatever's already posted. For example, I learned a lot when teachers posted comments on a story about teacher's pay. Check out the comments by these people in particular, who filled in with detail I couldn't have known:
- Terri Bucklin
- Kathy Mathisen
- Barbara Siegel
- Jason Beberian
Likewise, have a look at Dave Knudsen's comment of just a few minutes ago by clicking . In this case, the story I posted was really a container of sorts, with not enough information in it. But it's a starting place.
We tell you what we know as quickly as we can, then add to it as we get more information. Frankly, I'm just one little itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny person with merely two eyes, two ears, two arms and two legs, all of which need to stick together. It would be convenient if I could dispatch my eyes for a photo assignment in one place and send my ears to a meeting in another. Or if I had more bodies than just my own.
It's not a good idea to imagine that I will be able to go out and find everything you need and post it for you. It's not possible and it's not how it's meant to be.
Patch is by you, for you. That's one of the reasons our editorial staff is so small. I'm an editorial staff of one, in fact. Free lancers and columnists are godsends, but I'm not their boss. I can't commandeer their time or tell them what to do.
In addition to helping report on stories through the comments sections, you can also add your own announcements, events, photos, PDFs (including application forms), videos and classified ads, to name a few.
You don't need to submit an idea or fact sheet and wait for Patch to type it in and publish it. You have immediate and direct access to Patch readers 24/7. You can directly add announcements and events yourself.
Enter announcements here: http://castrovalley.patch.com/announcements/new. Or click on the News tab and choose the second-to-last item (announcements).
Enter events here: http://castrovalley.patch.com/events/new.
If you are a business owner, this next part below is particularly important for you.
CastroValley.Patch.com offers a free directory of businesses in Castro Valley. If you aren't in it, here's how to reach the people who write the directory (Note: I am not one of them.): http://castrovalley.patch.com/search/listings?cat=1998198541
Most of you should already be there, but have a look and, if you're not, Patch will add you.
Here's how to see if you are already in the directory: Go to the Places tab about two inches below the top of the main page or to this link: http://castrovalley.patch.com/places. Put your business name in the search box and find out if you are there.
(If you want changes in the directory item about your business, I cannot help with that. You need to talk with the directory people, whom I have never even met. I only handle editorial content -- articles, photos.)
None of the three resources I just mentioned (announcements, events, directory) are ads. All three are meant to be helpful to readers but not necessarily a promotion of your business. It's a fine line. To stay on the non-ad side of it, keep these tips in mind:
- Write about customers and readers, not so much about your business -- as in what customers can do that might be fun or helpful that they wouldn't have known about, or a tip that can help them in their own lives and businesses, something that you know because of the expertise your business provides but others might not know because they don't have your expertise.
- Avoid exclamation marks. Avoid writing in all capital letters. It looks like you are shouting and makes your information hard to read.
- Focus on being helpful to readers rather than helpful to your business. It's subtle, but in doing that your business gets mentioned in a positive light as an aside. For example, Knudsen's Ice Creamery offers free face-painting for kids on Tuesdays. It's an activity people can enjoy just for fun, but in order to do it, they have to go to Knudsen's, so Knudsen's gets a kind of secondary and almost inadvertent plug.
If you want to learn about advertising on Patch, I cannot help you and have no information about it whatsoever. That contact person is Sarah Stocker at Sarah@Patch.com. I'm just the articles person.
Patch.com is new to Castro Valley, and people are still finding it and getting used to it. Our mission is to be helpful to families and small businesses through hyper-local commentary and information. It's a blend of social media and blogs, slide shows and videos, with some traditional news coverage, but all of it in real time.
About the Castro Valley Forum: I love it. I think you are spoiled to have Robert Souza writing for you. You may have noticed that if the Forum has a story that we don't, I don't rush out and try to get one, too. My assumption is that you are reading both and, at this point in time, more people are reading the Forum.
So if Robert has done it for you, I consider it done. There are many things he does better than Patch can and that will never change. There are things Patch can do that the Forum can't (real-time info, unlimited photos and videos, PDFs), so we'll try to focus on those offerings.
Welcome, once again, to Patch, a different kind of website. Our hope is that you will participate and directly connect with one another, not just read.