Home' Local Media Today : March 2011 Contents 16 | SUBURBAN PUBLISHER | March 2011
Leading your newsroom is one thing; managing contributors from the general public
is another matter altogether and the SNA Foundation, in conjunction with
Poynter Institute’s NewsUniversity, is providing the FREE tools to help
you master the task.
This latest self guided e-course in a series produced by the SNAF has two parts – one
intended for newsroom leaders and one intended for local contributors.
Community Contributor Training
In Strategies for Managing Local Contributors, newsroom leaders who
complete the course will be able to:
Identify which kinds of community contributions might work best in your
Devise a specific plan for introducing community content onto your site
Develop a plan to recruit and train contributors that includes directing them to the
contributor track of this course
Editors who want to train journalism basics to community contributors can
direct them to the companion course, Contributing to a Local Publication.
Once the course is completed, contributors will be able to:
Access The Community Journalism Series e-course at
JasonTaylor, left , President and General Manager of the Chattanooga Times Free
Press interacted with attendees at the conference.
Small and medium businesses (SMBs)
are bombarded by media sales reps, yet
these businesses need more help than ever
with advertising placement and creative,
according to Greg Swanson, President of
ITZ Belden recently conducted a study
of SMBs in 47 states, and presented their
findings at the MultiMedia Key Executives
These merchants, who were newspaper
customers, have a median spend of $10k
per year. They average 22 solicitations a
month and listen to eight – that’s only two
per week. They are buying five different
mediums on average, however, they are
using different media depending on the
vertical or category of business.
Newspapers are poised to take on the
main consultative or agency role that
small businesses need. According to the
Newspaper representatives are the
number two source for advertising and
65 percent of businesses surveyed would
have confidence in print reps as an
72 percent are confident in their efforts
Now is the time for newspaper execu-
tives to step up and consider the agency
Swanson mentioned two newspapers
companies going this route: The Houston
Chronicle, where they are assisting more
from a buying perspective; and The Palm
Beach Post, which is consulting more from
the creative side – for example, new cus-
tomers receive a multi-media marketing
campaign via video, billboards, etc.
During a separate session at the confer-
ence, Jason Taylor, President and General
Manager of the Chattanooga Times Free
Press discussed how newspapers can trans-
form their sales organizations to be the
agency for these small businesses.
“It’s no secret that a good idea can sell
– even in tough times,” said Taylor.
At the Free Press it was important to
elevate the position of creative.
“We are guilty of stifling creativity in
our industry,” said Taylor.
Creative staff participate on sales calls
and in sales meetings. They keep ad “logs”
in order to know how much time is being
spent on the creative process. These logs
can also be helpful when looking at pricing
your creative to the client.
He suggests taking an inventory of skill-
sets at your paper and look at the creative
culture – who has the passion? Keep their
interest by entering industry contests, and
developing your own. Taylor mentioned
a simple “ad-of-the-week” contest where
peers vote on the ads. This can blossom
to ad-of-the-month or year and have the
advertisers vote on the best ads.
Taylor suggests taking a look at your
self-promotion and being brutally honest.
Look at house ads, rate cards, collateral
materials, testimonials – who is controlling
Develop new job descriptions and
require portfolios. There could be four or
five levels of creative titles based on what
they are required to do (for example spec
ads). It gives them an opportunity to grow
within the organization and you build in
In terms of sales rep training Taylor says
the best thing you can do is videotape
them. They can see visually what they
are doing wrong and right, and it helps
sales reps to view one another and learn
from each other.
In terms of pricing, you may want to
charge commission on placements like a
true agency would. Taylor recommends
a universal hourly rate. Some compa-
nies offer discounts up front while others
offer general vs. specific contracts or even
Newspaper niche: Agency
consultant for small businesses
Advertising & Membership
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