How NEO Moto News came to be

Starting an online newspaper covering the motorcycling lifestyle in northeast Ohio wasn’t on my to-do list when my girlfriend and I moved to South Euclid in January 2021. But what began as an effort to revive an upstate New York print motorcycle magazine morphed into a plan for a regional news service for the motorcycling community in my new home region.

I’ve found a more lucrative full-time career outside of motojournalism, yet the drive to get the word out about what’s new and cool in motorcycling that I developed while working as an associate editor of a motorcycle magazine for more than two years hasn’t faded. 

I’m not the first person to create this kind of publication, and there are a couple outlets that I drew inspiration from when putting together my business plan for NEO Moto News. 

It took about six months of planning and implementation to bring NEO Moto News to life, and I’m aiming to use the next couple years as a period of continual improvement and refinement for the brand.

In the beginning …

I worked full-time in motojournalism from Feb. 2018 to July 2020, and my girlfriend and I began the process of relocating to the Cleveland area about three months after I left that position. The experience I gained through working in both print and radio journalism has equipped me with a dearth of knowledge about motorcycles and media. When a publication I’d penned a few stories for hit some bumps in the road, it was an opportunity to put that knowledge and experience to use.

The outlet I was working to revamp was based near Rochester, N.Y. – the city that I spent most of my childhood in. When I heard it wasn’t doing well, I prepared a new business strategy that would make it cheaper to operate, better designed for pandemic conditions and less laborious to promote. 

The proprietors of the struggling publication decided to not continue with that project, as they’ve moved on to new endeavors in a different realm of print media. Though my thoroughly-researched business plan didn’t end up serving its original purpose, I really liked what I’d put together and decided it was worth trying to implement it myself. 

I realized I was at a disadvantage compared to the other publication, as it had established itself as a brand and had a readership base to build on. But I also knew my motojournalism and motorcycling experience – which include about 140,000 miles of road riding and having covered most forms of motorcycle competition – would go a long way in making the new outlet an eventual success.

The Process

The strategy I designed for the upstate New York publication drew from two existing regional online motorcycle outlets: SoundRider and NYC Motorcyclist. SoundRider is one of the oldest online-only motorcycle magazines I’ve come across. It was founded by Tom Mehren in 1999 and serves riders in the Pacific Northwest. As its name implies, NYC Motorcyclist serves the New York City metro and is under the direction of Rahoul Ghose.

Both publications’ websites include original stories about motorcycling in their respective home regions, as well as resources for riders – such as a directory of local motorcycle organizations and businesses and a listing of regional motorcycle-oriented events. I took that general framework and – using my limited web design skills and ample knowledge of editorial process – put together the site you’re reading this story on.

Taking my idea from a Google Doc to reality started in February 2022 and culminated with the launch of NEO Moto News on Aug. 15. There was a lot to do, including designing the site’s page and category structure, identifying news sources, building the site and planning out editorial and social media calendars for the remainder of 2022.

One of the most challenging parts of the process was finding a suitable name for the publication. My first few name ideas were either already taken or were too close to an existing business’ name. I also had to come up with a name that had an available domain and wasn’t taken on popular social media platforms.

I chose the name NEO Moto News because it conveys the three most important elements of this project’s branding – it serves northeast Ohioans with news coverage about motorcycling. I want new readers to understand that this publication isn’t one hotshot rider sounding off on whatever topics tickles his fancy. It’s a professional publication that delivers accurate and timely accounts about what’s happening in motorcycling in northeast Ohio. 

I also wanted to create a publication that covers the full spectrum of the motorcycling lifestyle. The existing motorcycle-oriented publications serving northeast Ohio that I am aware of tend to cater to the American V-twin segment. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s so many more elements to the motorcycling scene that deserve to be covered. NEO Moto News is to be the publication that fills in that moto-media gap.

Lots more to come

My goal with NEO Moto News is to provide northeast Ohio’s riding community with stories and resources that help them live the motorcycling lifestyle to the fullest, and the publication, as it is now, is the beginning of a long building process.

What you see now when you poke around the site is the bare foundation of this project. I have lots of ideas of what I can add to the site or other activities I could spearhead to make NEO Moto News’ mission a success, and I look forward to sharing those ideas with NEO Moto News’ readers in the years to come.


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