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In the midst of the busy fourth quarter, about
70 advertising professionals made time to
attend the SNA Classified Conference held
last month in Chicago.
One attendee, Jerry Boland, Special
Projects Director for the Post-Bulletin
Company in Rochester, Minn., said that
the conference was on target and well worth
his investment .
“Participating in any conference takes
a lot of energy,” said Boland, who added
that “after attending this year’s Classified
Conference I realized it was time well spent
and the energy was returned tenfold.”
One key takeaway for Boland was the
Larry Maynard keynote on the positive story
about newspapers today which helped
attendees get on the right track about the
medium’s strengths. Another was the depth
and breadth of talent in the industry.
“All of the speakers and round table panel
members gave me a renewed energy with
their positive attitude and tenacious idea
generation of how to solve problems and
to look to new opportunities for the future,”
Conference planning committee chair-
man Cliff Richner drew high praise for the
top-notch agenda and superior set of speak-
ers he and his committee put together.
“This was absolutely the right lineup of
topics and experts to help us see the path we
need to be on as we’re about to enter 2011,”
said SNA President Nancy Lane.
There were many key take-aways from the
two-and-a-half day gathering and SNA plans
an informative webinar on December 9 at 3
PM EST, to share these insights. Register at
email@example.com. Meanwhile, Lane
and SNA Vice President Al Cupo summarized
some of their immediate impressions:
From Larry Maynard’s keynote:
“We need to speak with a loud voice about
what we do very well & better than anybody
else. Newspaper web sites are number one
for trustworthiness/credibility for news
(source: NAA); we need to remind people
about this fact.”
Good idea: run a note on the front page
of your paper highlighting the number of
local stories that are included in the issue.
Visit www.post-bulletin.com for an example
– they do a great job promoting the number
of stories that they are running and also
promoting upcoming stories.
On the classified side, tell advertisers and
readers how many real estate, recruitment
and automotive ads that you run each week
or each issue. (Send out a weekly blast email
to these key advertisers reminding them
how many of these kinds of ads you carry
each week). Gets rid of the perception that
“no one is buying print anymore”.
From Larry Maynard’s Recruitment:
Newspapers are the original ‘match-
maker’ between job seekers and recruiters.
Unlike other online recruitment sites that
offer no local connection – newspapers’
job listings match local businesses with
local candidates – leverage the in-market
Approach recruitment as you would any
other revenue category by creating sales
and marketing material specific to recruit-
ment - make the benefits and rates clear
Create a recruitment team, even if it’s
just two people – one outside sales and one
inbound call person. You do not have to
initiate a new hire; rather, make an existing
employee(s) responsible for this category.
Sales incentive should be based on
attainable goals; not year over year. MBO’s
work well if they measure the number of
in-person calls made and the number of new
Consider whether a third-party part-
nership or a customized multi-newspaper
network makes sense for your needs.
Aggressively promote and sell your
products with a clear and concise sales
From Bev Crandon, Metroland Media:
They launched “freemium” ads on
www.yourclassifieds.ca and saw dramatic
increases in all areas. These are free ads with
opportunities for upsell (all via a self-serve
mechanism). Ad count increased by 89 per-
cent after launching; page views increased
by 135 percent; revenue is now surpassing
the prior year. Forty percent are purchasing
upsells on the free ads.
From Cheryl Phillips’ Keynote:
Classified advertising has a future!
Classified managers must share this vision
with their staff.
Use a ‘vision board’ to detail and track
progress; write it down!
Inbound sales: no more removing words
to reduce cost; upselling lineage and multiple
insertions is key.
Outside sales representatives must actively
service all accounts. Call back all expires and
consistently prospect for new business.
Future sales structure will be one-third
in telesales, one-third ‘feet on the street’
and one-third self-service. Plan now for
the future. Staff training must be ongoing
and standards of performance must be
specific, measurable, time bound and reward
/ recognition driven.
Establish realistic expectations by bench-
marking all areas of the business including
prospecting, customer service, # of sales,
upsell revenue, value per transaction, com-
pensation, etc. Evaluate the design and
performance of your classified products on a
regular basis; revise and/or discontinue inef-
fective products. All classified departments
need to be more innovative: develop a free
model, initiate self-serve, reverse publish and
build an online/mobile business directory
in your market.
From Rebecca Bradner, Stephens Media:
They produce Job Seekers’ Workshops
two weeks before each job fair. They get
100-200 attendees and provide assistance
to them. Check out www.rjjobs.com for
examples and ideas.
From Pete Conti, Borrell Associates:
Real estate will see slight increases over
the next few years in both print and online
(online will be the big winner as real estate
Recruitment – there will be a continu-
ous decline for newspapers but online will
increase in a big way as economy/job market
Automotive – all media to see declines
Mobile apps/portals for classified cat-
egories will start to emerge. Example:
Pittsburghmoves.com, a mobile site. During
the first week of launch, there were 170
SMS leads; 500 people visited the mobile
site; 8,000 page views to the mobile site; 50
phone calls to the realtor. Also take a look
at TBO (Tampa Bay Online) garage sale
app – they are currently charging .99 cents
to download the app.
Classified community convenes in Chicago
Top: The vendor exhibits was a valued part of the conference experience. Here Gary
Rust Jr, Rust Communicaitons (MO), left, interacts with Peter Sproul of Classified Concepts.
Lower: The Show Me the Money panel, moderated by Tony Lee, Chief Alliance Officer,
Adicio, included, from left, Rebecca Bradner, Classified Advertising Director, Stephens
Media; Beverly Crandon, Director, Digital Classifieds, Metroland Media Group; Craig
Besant, Vice President of Classifieds, GateHouse Media, Inc.
Representing the Small Newspaper Group, from left, are Jerry Boland, Post-Bulletin
(MN), Marcia Hellmuth, The Daily Journal (IL), Maggie Frost, The Times (IL) and Neil
Shannon, The Daily Journal (IL).
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