The success of local community newspapers is one of the sentiments we at MediaBids highlight here in the PrintObserver (see here: All Advertising is Local, here: The Definition of Truth, here: The Future of Hyperlocal News, and here: The Top 5 Reasons Community Newspapers are Thriving). But that doesn’t mean that newspapers – local, regional, and national – should not be open to adapt their business plans to adjust to industry trends.
Here are 4 ways newspapers can stay in the game:
- Remember, content is king – One of the main historic benefits of newspapers is the value of their journalism and the quality of their reporting. In an age where consumers have unlimited options as to where to get their news and information, newspapers must continue to be a beacon of truth and source of thought-provoking editorial. Much of the value of a newspaper’s brand is in their trustworthiness and this is an asset worth capitalizing upon. While many recent turnarounds can be attributed to cost-cutting, this cannot come at the expense of editorial excellence or else readership (and thus, revenue) will not be long to follow.
- Be genuine – In recent months, we’ve seen critics rip apart Tribune’s announcement to re-brand themselves as Tronc. You can’t simply throw around buzzwords and slap the word “optimization” on everything.
- Focus on core competencies – Along with the arrival of digital display and programmatic advertising, we’ve seen some newspapers try to transform into an agency of sorts; acting as the liaison for local clients into the world of advertising beyond just their pages. We’ve seen this have varying degrees of success, but if this is going to be your approach, make sure your sales reps are well-trained to handle questions, objections, and execution of campaigns in alternate mediums.
- Newspapers need to recognize and adapt to the fact that their advertisers want trackable results. Data-driven decision making is a powerful part of marketing today and advertisers have grown accustomed to information-rich platforms. Beyond touting the quality of your readership, newspapers need to be willing to be part of the conversation on response and ROI/ROAS. Accountability is paramount.
Whether your analysis of future trends predicts the “death of print” or you have a more optimistic view, one thing we can all agree on is that newspapers will have to be adaptable to survive the ever-evolving media landscape. We generally try to shine a light on positive news in the industry since the pessimistic voices are often booming loud and clear around us, but that doesn’t mean newspapers should continue down the tunnel with blinders on.
Post by Darcy Mauke