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Brandon Erlacher CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
Part of our mission with Flavor 574 is to foster an audi-
ence that is highly engaged with everything we do. We
chose food as the niche topic for this new publication
because, through The Elkhart Truth's 125-year history
in the community, we know that food is a topic that our
readers are particularly passionate about.
One perfect example of this is in our email newslet-
ters. Flavor 574 has a relatively small list compared to
the newspaper's, but open rates range from 40 to 60
percent — compared to an industry average of around
17 percent. A recent web ad that ran on both got three
times the click-through rate on Flavor as it did on the
So we're able to offer our advertisers the opportunity
to get in front of a focused, highly engaged community
of readers. The challenge now is teaching our advertisers
that the value of that engagement outweighs the inevita-
bly smaller readership numbers.
Q What kind of feedback have you received?
Success stories you want to share from either the
paper’s standpoint or from client/advertiser testimoni-
A We have been successful generating significant
readership and engagement that continues to
grow. Advertisers have been impressed with the ROI
they receive from the product mix (display advertising,
radio, content marketing (native), and print). We have
been surprised at usage patterns and track when
readership occurs, for how long and on what device.
This will drive future product development and advertis-
Q How you are promoting and marketing Flavor? I
am especially interested in knowing the relation-
ship between it and The Elkhart Truth. I know you are
linking stories...are you also reverse publishing?
Describe the social media role in Flavor.
A We present Flavor 574 as a sister publication to
The Elkhart Truth. They share a support system,
and even some audience, but each has its own personal-
ity and purpose. We do cross-link between Flavor 574
and The Elkhart Truth often, but Flavor does not
reverse-publish content from the Truth or vice-versa.
The Truth brand supports Flavor by sharing certain
content on its social media channels. Social media has
also been crucial in building Flavor’s audience beyond
our existing Elkhart County community. Rather than
relying on that, though, we are also putting a heavy focus
on building a healthy organic search presence.
Q Can you share some of the Flavor outgrowth
efforts that are underway?
A We actually launched two video series last week.
King in the Kitchen is hosted by Marshall King,
longtime food writer for The Elkhart Truth. It is pro-
duced in partnership with our local public television
station, WNIT, and airs as a segment of its weekly show
“Experience Michiana.” The other show is focused more
on cooking tips, techniques and simple recipes, hosted
by local chef Randy Z. It is produced for us by a freelance
videographer and we have the flexibility to feature
ingredients or products from sponsors.
Q What’s next?
A Live events will be an important piece of the
puzzle, from cooking shows, to wine tastings to
We are rebuilding our recipe engine to be more
robust and searchable, and allow users to upload, share,
categorize and comment. We want to make sure that
Flavor will support the usage of a recipe 'real-time' in a
format that works on a tablet sitting on the counter in
We also plan on expanding the coverage and reach
of the product through content creation and curation
in broader areas. Typically, we have been restricted
to creating content within the circulation of the daily
newspaper. Now, through newsroom structure changes,
columnists, content marketing (native) opportunities
and partnerships with other media brands, we can cover
a much broader area in a very focused way.
Q What is your advice to other papers (large and
small) on developing a similar project?
A This is not just another special section or
newsroom beat. It is taking various content
sources (reporting, feature, columnists, native, video)
and creating a product that is fun to read, as well as
being informative. Food is a great category because it is
so much more than fuel for our bodies. Conversations
happen around dinner tables about family, business and
life. There is joy in cooking. It is about touching the
reader’s heartstrings, not just creating content and
selling advertising around it. We offer the advertiser so
much more than an ad. We are providing them an
opportunity to connect on a deeper level with a very
Other newspapers should think about the integration
of a product like this throughout the brand. Our food
writer now has their byline in Flavor, not the newspaper.
Food oriented content is published through Flavor, and
is linked to by the newspaper website. The newspaper
needs to support and lend its strengths and content to
the new product, and must be careful not limit the scope
to traditional territories, advertisers and circulation
Brandon Erlacher is reached at email@example.com
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