Home' Local Media Today : November 2008 Contents NOVEMBER 2008
Need to Grow Revenue? Let Me Count the Ways....
Revenue growth was front and center at the recent SNA Fall Conference in
Minneapolis last month. For me, so many new ideas surfaced and I wanted to
share some of my favorites, the ones that I consider to be easy to implement with
revenue potential for the fourth quarter. So here they are in no particular order:
From Mike Blinder – video advertising by targeting local cable advertisers.
Appoint someone to watch cable TV during the day and jot down every local
commercial. Blinder calls these “low hanging fruit”, and they are prime targets for
your Web site. They already paid a lot of money to have these commercials pro-
duced. Simply go out and offer to put the commercial on your Web site for what
will seem like a nominal fee to the client. Closing ratios are in the 70%-90%
range. This is a no-brainer; do it tomorrow.
From Charlie Pankey – glossy, perforated business cards – printed as a single
sheet. This won the $500 prize at the great ideas session. It’s a new twist on a
tried but true promotion that is easy to sell. It’s perfect for the classified depart-
ment during the slower holiday season.
From Jon Rust – get into the mobile game by offering text alerts for things
like school closings and sports scores. Develop a database and then plan to mon-
etize it. The technology costs approximately $200/month. Advertise the text alert
program in your paper, Web site and niche products.
From Mike Blinder again – “the folder” approach to a sales call. Before call-
ing on a prospect, pull their yellow page ad and put it in a folder. Search to see if
they have a Web site and copy a few pages from it and put it in the folder. Search
for a trade association that serves that advertiser and then search for articles on
advertising or marketing on that site. Mike is often able to find stories like – why
yellow page advertising isn’t working – and he adds that to the folder. Now your
rep is armed with a lot of information about that client and can talk intelligently
about their advertising/marketing plan.
And some revenue ideas that may take a little longer to implement but should be
considered for 2009:
From Stephen Zonars – develop a Friday Night Football promotion on your
Web site – covering all of the local high school games live – and sell one large
sponsor to cover it all. In the case of This Week, that sponsorship sold for
$115,000. (www.thisweeknews.com – click on sports then Friday Night Live.
While you are on the site – also visit my.thebag.com – for a great social network-
From Susan Karol and Sammy Papert – social networking sites owned and
operated by community newspaper companies do make money – with revenues up
to $1 million in one case. Consider starting a moms, sports or crafting site in your
community. Visit the SNA Web site to view the entire social networking best prac-
tice research report and make a plan to launch in 2009 before someone else in
your market does!
From Cindy Hefley and Bob Berry - for those with high demos in top 35 mar-
kets, go after the travel category in a big way. Collect research about your read-
ers and use it to entice travel advertisers. Affluent travelers are still taking vaca-
tions according to the latest research and as local travel agents work with their
partners, they will need to reach this audience. Make sure that LocalPoint Media
has your research (and rates) and that they are going after national players like
cruise lines on your behalf (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
From Rick O’Connor and the Innovation Mission attendees: make improve-
ments in your print product. With so much focus on the web, print is sometimes
left behind and it is still the cash cow. Improve layout and design, including clas-
sified sections, and develop new opportunities for advertisers (experiment with
interesting ad shapes with premium rates; develop new sections and new products;
consider tabloid formats.)
And that was just a small sampling from Minneapolis – no doubt the best SNA
Fall Conference to date – mark your calendar now to join us next year in Kansas
City. Save the dates: September 22 - 25, 2009.
From the sna
New England/Mid-Atlantic John Szefc
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“This was my first SNA Publisher’s
Conference and it was a breath of fresh air
from other trade gatherings I’ve been to –
for both community and metro newspapers.
Our industry is going through dramatic
change and this conference focused our
attention on being nimble, quick and flexible
character traits we’re not typically associ-
ated with. From best practices in Norway
and Sweden to ramping up our efforts in
online video, I came away excited with
where we are and where we’re going.
Suburban newspapers are in a great posi-
tion to succeed and grow.”
- Tony Hazarian, Publisher, Auburn Journal
Tony was one of many to give high praise to
the “in touch and useful” SNA Fall
Publishers’ & Advertising Directors’ confer-
ence last month. From speakers to exhibits,
with a lot of camaraderie and a little fun
thrown in, there was a wealth of knowledge
and enthusiasm for local media companies.
Check out the photo gallery and speaker
presentations on SNA’s website today. And,
stay tuned for future Web stories based on
the many conference lessons.
Congrats to Murray Skinner, left, the
2008 Dean Lesher Award winner.
With over 40 exhibitors, product demon-
strations and interaction with knowledge-
able reps added tremendous value.
The costume party gave all a chance to let
their hair down, or up as the case may be!
Health A Hot Topic
On The Internet
comScore, Inc. recently released results
of a study showing that the health
information category has grown 21
percent during the past year, more than
four times the growth rate of the total
U.S . Internet population.
Benchmarking Web revenues was a
session at last month’s fall conference,
presented by Gordon Borrell. Not so
coincidentally, when asked what topic
was ripe for the picking when it comes
to local media houses developing niche
Web sites for their markets, Borrell
responded instantly: health is THE key
category to develop locally.
Weather Content Can
Be So Much More
You probably already have a weather
feed on your Web site, right? It’s part of
the core content and a basic necessity.
But here’s something to try – create a
photo and/or video gallery around the
weather feed and ask your readers to
post photos and videos of extreme
There are tons of little tidbits along
these lines at a free e-learning course,
called “Build & Engage Local
Audiences Online”, at Poynter
Institute’s NewsU. The course, funded
by a Knight Grant to the SNA
Foundation, is designed specifically for
local community newspapers.
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