Home' Local Media Today : December 2005 Contents Newspaper folks are pretty used to the fact that we have to create our
own luck. Nevertheless, I recently attended Suburban Newspapers of
America’s annual classified conference in Las Vegas convinced I was
going to hit the jackpot. And I was right.
Now before you jump to any conclusions about how or where I struck it rich, let
me dispel any notion that I’m “comfortable” in a casino. I certainly won’t soon
forget one of my rare appearances at the blackjack table. With all my chips rid-
ing on a break-even opportunity (or at least a chance to narrow my losses), I
struggled when I was dealt a hard twelve and the dealer was showing a four. In
my quest for twenty-one, I couldn’t imagine “standing” at twelve. I mean after
all, I’m in the newspaper business and we take risks. There were people watch-
ing my every move. It was obvious that I didn’t know what I was doing, yet I
needed to appear confident. I took the hit!
On a more positive note, I came away from our annual classified conference
feeling as though I had hit the jackpot. We celebrated our largest attendance
ever in terms of member and vendor support. We do appreciate our vendors!
And for at least this one time, what happens in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas.
As I sat through the sessions, it occurred to me that many publishers would
have found the conference to be incredibly beneficial and inspiring. Classified
executives in our industry are clearly rising to the challenge.
Nearly all of our attendees reported that their newspapers now offer self-service
classifieds, many providing an online-only option, if that’s what the customer
wants. Another idea that caught my attention was the utilization of direct mail in
combination with print employment ads to target additional demographic or
As for inspiration, Borrell Associates unveiled a recent research study that pro-
jected recruitment revenue for suburban newspapers would likely increase 4.2%
per year over the next 5 years. According to the study, major dailies are facing
the prospect of losing 2.7% of their recruitment print revenue per year through
2010, although I expect online channels will continue to grow and mitigate the
We also confronted the emerging challenges being posed by the pure-play
online companies. However, we kept coming back to one significant point:t we
have a distinct local audience that trusts us. And when we promote the combina-
tion of our print and online readers, our industry should actually be touting a
growth story. This point too often gets overshadowed as we continue to be
judged strictly on our annual print circulation statistic. But this will change.
A few presenters challenged SNA to explore ways in which we could further
leverage the strength of our membership. For example, a leading recruitment
executive told attendees that SNA should consider developing a central source
in which recruitment ads could be placed with SNA members. Ease-of-buying
was sited as a major barrier to suburban newspapers garnering more recruitment
advertising. Other presenters spoke of potential alliances with SNA, which we’ll
be sure to investigate. It was clear to me that opportunities abound to strengthen
our relationship with members and build on the services we offer.
As we read more and more about new partnerships and alliances being formed
in our industry, we would certainly like to hear your thoughts and ideas as to
how SNA can help you. Whether it’s highlighting important topics or expanding
our services, remember that we very much want to focus our efforts on what is
most relevant and important to you.
There were many outstanding ideas exchanged at this year’s classified
conference. As it turns out, the conference was the furthest thing from a gam-
ble. I could see myself attending this conference for many years to come. It
was that valuable. And I can also see myself “standing” the next time I’m work-
ing with a hard twelve and the dealer is showing a four. As odd as it seems to
stand on a twelve, it’s the right thing to do.
SNA Board Chairman
Chairman of the Board
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munity newspapers are well positioned for
For instance, Greg Bogich, Director of Media
Marketing, Valassis, is featured on the
microsite and his video stream has this won-
derful candid comment: ‘We realize with
major dailies we just can’t get to the coverage
levels that we need to in order to really satis-
fy our customer set. Suburban papers are
very, very well positioned for that’.
SNA is constantly seeking current input from
media buyers and as recently as the Classified
conference held last month, SNA was video-
taping live assessments for use on the
The microsite will be fully searchable and
media buyers will be able to access the elec-
tronic resource center through a password
protected system. There are five “buckets” for
media buyers to click on - retail, national,
recruitment, real estate and automotive. Once
they pick their area of interest, relative info
like research, reader and media buyer testi-
monials, information about the industry and
the searchable member database will be avail-
The member information will include details
like days of publication, circulation, market
area, contact personnel, phone numbers and
addresses. All SNA members are included in
the database (nearly 2,000). It is sortable by
city, state, DMA and zip code proximity.
Media buyers will be introduced to the
microsite through a series of six targeted
email blasts. Each one will have a different
theme and will feature streaming video and
state of the art technology. This campaign
will pique interest and drive traffic to the
microsite plus the entire SNA staff will take
the microsite on the road and show it to as
many media buyers as possible. According to
SNA President Nancy Lane, “The searchable
member database is no doubt the most valu-
able part of the site and SNA has invested a
lot of money to make this happen. This alone
should draw considerable attention to the
Members will be able to access the site
through a protected password system also.
They can use any or all of the information on
their own sales calls.
When the 2006 SNA/Belden study is released
next September, the site will be completely
up to date.
The microsite will go live in mid-December
and members should be on the lookout for a
blast e-mail announcing the debut of this
tremendous new venture and valuable benefit
CENTER COMING SOON
continued from page 1
The microsite home page features different
“buckets” for media buyers to select, such
as retail, recruitment, automotive, etc.
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