Home' Local Media Today : December 2009 Contents DECEMBER 2009
Manager On Your
o you have a social networking manager? Some companies are
considering adding this position to their teams, we found out at
SNA’s Classified Conference in Myrtle Beach last month. I am
interested in hearing from members who are moving in this direc-
tion and ask you to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with
details of your social networking initiatives.
The conference was abuzz on many topics and in the social networks universe, it’s
no surprise that Twitter and Facebook were
top of mind.. Keynote speaker Bev
Crandon, Director of Digital Classifieds
at Metroland’s Digital Media Group, cau-
tioned us to be selective in what we place
on these sites but to also exploit some of
the more attention getting items. Her
example was the quirky or intriguing
classified ads that we often receive – any-
thing that will attract users to our news-
Some great ideas from all of our presenters and attendees at the conference can be
found on SNA’s website including simplifying rate cards, new thoughts on compen-
sation plans, the latest on analytics and mobile, and of course revenue-producing
ideas. It was a productive few days, and a great ROI for anyone attending.
Speaking of ROI, we were interested to discover the introduction of a new online
competitor in Canada. Billing itself as a local news site, within days of it marketing
its local Toronto presence, it was scraping our newspaper sites. The return of our
investment in newsrooms is being put to work for them. We've been told that links
are our friend but I find that hard to swallow.
Obviously, Rupert Murdoch feels the same way. As I’m sure many of you have read
he is threatening to pull some of his newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, The New
York Post, and the Times of London off the Google search engine. A bold step
indeed, and in an even bolder step he announced he will start charging users for
Whether this is a bargaining move with Google and other search engines, i.e .
Microsoft’s Bing, we will see. Can Murdoch’s sites live without Google?
The topic of charging for content is aired for discussion at most newspaper confer-
ences I attend, SNA’s being no exception. A variety of newspapers have tried with
some of their content but apart from the Wall St. Journal with its approximately 1
million subscribers, no successful model has yet appeared for local newspapers. As
Murdoch’s statement says, “The fact is that there’s not enough advertising in the
world to go around to make all the websites profitable.” It seems to me that it is like
closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
It’s an even more intriguing question for those of us who distribute free newspapers.
We have been giving our content away in print for years; the same model makes
sense for us online. Yes, Murdoch’s online products have exclusive and desirable
content for readers and I wouldn’t even think of comparing his products with com-
munity and suburban newspapers except that for the markets and demographic we
serve, our content is just as exclusive and valuable.
Some newspapers are even charging a premium for their online offerings, hoping to
drive readers back to their print product. Free or paid, the debate rages on. The only
thing I am sure of is that the inventive minds that run the news industry will not
stop trying until they find an answer.
SNA Board of
Attention: Use Them
The intense focus of media on celebri-
ty news is for good reason – it appeals
to every demographic and is eagerly
consumed by audience. Why not cap-
ture that appeal and put it to work in
promoting your newspaper?
The SNA Marketing Committee ger-
minated this very idea and has now
made available a step by step guide to
help you spawn a home grown pro-
motional campaign designed around
your local celebrities. With tips like
who to tap as local celebrities (i.e .
local artists, high profile personalities
like local business owners, tv or radio
hosts, sports figures, mascots, educa-
tors, etc) and house ad templates, the
SNA Celebrity Endorsement
Campaign for Newspapers Guidebook
will walk you through every step of
The guide also contains release forms
and celebrity web resources including
a site that helps you locate celebrities
who live in your market.
The complete guide is available now on SNA’s website, under the Resources tab, then
SNA has developed a simple templated
campaign for your paper to use with its
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