Home' Local Media Today : May 2006 Contents Greetings!
Any day now newspapers across America will be publishing their annual
Home & Gardening supplements. Graduation sections will follow. Before
you know, it will be time to publish our annual Back-to-School special sec-
I decided to devote this month’s column to the growing importance of spe-
cial sections. I should also note that my inspiration in doing so comes from
the staff at The Landmark in Holden, MA. As a result of their success in this
area, Gareth Charter, Publisher of The Landmark, was invited to speak at the
2006 Editorial Conference at America East, which was recently held in
While I am fortunate to own The Landmark, I have no day-to-day role in
managing it. I’m plenty busy at Enterprise NewsMedia in Quincy, MA.
Nonetheless, I’m proud to see the staff achieving such unprecedented suc-
cess in newspaper contests, primarily due to their work on special sections.
The best way to characterize the commitment
to special sections at The Landmark is to sim-
ply state the truth. The editorial staff has
believed for 30 years that special sections are
truly special opportunities to showcase the
best and most timely lifestyle content they
possibly can. The formula they rely on is sim-
ple, too. The staff is responsible for produc-
ing sections that are as good, if not better
than, the newspaper. All of the content must
be local. Almost all special sections are wor-
thy of being promoted on the front page of
the newspaper, above the fold.
I will be the first to recognize that our industry is rich in syndicated content,
which many readers enjoy and value. I’m certainly not suggesting that all
special section content be locally produced, despite The Landmark’s philoso-
phy. It’s not necessary or even practical to do that. However, I am suggest-
ing that you evaluate your special section strategy and consider whether
your company is truly committed to publishing high-quality sections.
Two friends of mine, Gareth Charter, who I referenced earlier, and Betsy
Wilson, Publisher of Montgomery Newspapers in Pennsylvania, both boast a
proud tradition of creative and high-quality special sections at their newspa-
pers. Not only do their sections contribute to an important and growing rev-
enue stream, but they also serve to impress their readers. Gareth and Betsy
were presenters at the 2006 Advertising Symposium at America East. You’ll
find their presentations on the SNA web site (www.suburban-news.org). Just
click on “conferences,” and you’ll find them under the conference I refer-
enced above. Check them out!
Niche publishing, as evidenced by the growth in new magazine titles, is all
about delivering more relevant and timely content to readers. Are you con-
sidering additional targeted distribution for your sections? Do you have a
web strategy that reinforces or extends the life and utility of your sections?
Is it your goal to localize your sections as much as possible? Are they keep-
Over time, publishing great special sections will inspire you to create more
freestanding specialty products. You may find that the interest level among
readers is so great that more frequency is needed. You may find that there’s
a business opportunity in event marketing in conjunction with some of your
special sections. And you may find that for some special sections, you could
charge advertisers a premium, if you are not already doing so.
As much as we all like to really profit from special sections, I would be
thrilled to showcase a few sections that provide either a remarkable commu-
nity service or serve to celebrate local people in some unique way, whether
the sections are profitable or not. Please mail me your best idea, and next
month I’ll feature a few — along with one or two of my own. It will give us
something “special” to talk about.
Kirk Davis, CEO, Enterprise NewsMedia LLC
400 Crown Colony Drive,Quincy, MA 02269
SNA Board Chairman
Chairman of the Board
Register today! 888-824-3337
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as evidenced by the
growth in new mag-
azine titles, is all
more relevant and
timely content to
Are you getting your share of attention
and benefit from the new SNA network?
The sales effort for the brand new online
ad network formed within SNA is getting
underway about a month ahead of sched-
ule thanks to a huge response from SNA
members who are signing up. If you
haven’t yet done so, you should immedi-
ately consider participating.
The online network has attributes similar
to SCAN, SNA’s classified ad network,
except it’s applied to member websites
instead of their classified print pages.
The Online Network is bundling together
member newspapers and SNA staffer
Deanna Lewis is marketing the small
space ad offering to national advertisers.
Just like with SCAN, the Online
Network proceeds will be shared among
members in the form of periodic rebate
checks. Additionally, the revenue gener-
ated from the network will underwrite
many valued initiatives such as expert
speakers at conferences, free conference
calls for members to brainstorm on time-
ly industry wide topics and SNA com-
missioned research studies targeted
specifically for suburban and community
There are two options for participants to
consider. The first is to provide one (1)
rotating 120x60 pixel ad on the home
page; the 2nd option is to provide six (6)
120x60 pixel ads “run of site”. Member
newspapers will provide this space at no
cost to SNA or the online network. A
third party vendor will manage the auto-
mated process of uploading the image.
Once a simple coded link to member
websites is established, the weekly
upload will be automatic and hands off
for newspaper employees.
Network representative Lewis and SNA
Vice President Al Cupo have developed
the sales strategy to target national, non-
local accounts so their efforts will not
interfere with your own web sales. The
inventory quota will be 6 accounts per
week and already Lewis has solid inter-
est from several prospects.
The space that this commitment requires
is minimal, 120 x 60 pixels, shown here.
be found at www.suburban-news.org.
Contact Deanna Lewis for more info at
888-486-2466 or deanna.lewis@subur-
Member Enthusiasm For SNA’s Online
Network Fuels Fast Start
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