10 Sales Stories and How They Did It: Newspapers are navigating into advertising dollars with determination and success.

Author:Mateos, Evelyn
Position:Cover story

Years ago, a great portion of readers sought out newspapers because they were filled with coupons, job listings and apartment ads. Now, a majority of readers are searching online for those needs. This new atmosphere has made it more challenging for newspapers to land clients, but that doesn't mean they have stopped going after advertisers.

Newspapers across the country, and even beyond our borders, have found ways of utilizing resources already in place in newsrooms, closing gaps in the market and finalizing deals with advertisers to increase revenue. E&P has compiled a list of these ideas for your newsroom to try. From newsletters to virtual sales events, these snack size strategies have a big bite.

* Owning the Day

When the BH Media Virginia Group was tasked to come up with initiatives that would drive up fourth quarter revenue, the News & Advance created Own the Day. The yearlong revenue proposal offers advertisers a package including a front page sticky note on the print edition, a desktop note, a mobile presence, and an email blast. For this offer, the Lynchburg newspaper targeted new clients or clients they wanted to work with more.

The Own the Day package was deployed by News & Advance last September (although it had already been used at several other BH Media's Virginia markets including Charlottesville, Bristol, Roanoke, Martinsville and Danville).

News & Advance advertising director Kevin Smith told E&P that all the client had to do was say they were interested, get their name down, and the newspaper would allow them to start whenever was best for them. Clients had a two week window to jump on board.

"Some (clients) wanted to sign up, but they ran into budget constraints," Smith said. "We reminded them (that) they can sign up for a year. So if they don't want to start until Jan. 1, they can start Jan. 1 with their new budget year."

As a result of the campaign, News & Advance attracted 11 clients equaling $45,000 in revenue. The Lynchburg, Danville and Martinsville markets combined drew 25 new or reactivated clients totaling $69,000.

* Connecting With Readers Face-to-Face

In today's digital world, it's easier than ever to connect advertisers with consumers. Yet, the Daily Herald Media Group in Arlington Heights, 111. has systematized an approachable method to do so--face-to-face through events. The Daily Herald spent the last eight years developing their strategy.

"In the beginning, it was mostly events that were just matching the newsroom with readers (such as) a sportswriter's event," Eileen Brown, vice president/director of strategic marketing, said. "But then we started to expand to include advertisers for the revenue component."

Brown shared that a smaller event might be a gardening class in a nursery, while one of their bigger events is their Fittest Loser experience, a 12-week weight loss competition, which in its first year drew a total of five contestants. But over the years, the event has gained sponsorship from the local hospital, fitness club and the grocery store, and is now signing up about 350 contestants.

At times, sponsors will approach the paper with ideas, and at others times, the Daily Herald will approach advertisers with ideas. How an idea originates and is planned varies, but one constant for the organization is striving for the perfect marriage of an eventone that fulfills the needs of the readers as well as the needs of the advertisers.

While the Daily Herald declined to share revenue numbers, Brown did say, "It is a revenue source for the company that has grown every year. And I think it's (important) to stress that we've gotten people to advertise with us that would normally never advertise with a newspaper, people who stopped advertising with us to reengage, and current advertisers to spend more."

* A Pot of Gold

As more governments legalize the use of recreational and medical marijuana, newspapers are...

To continue reading