Category Archives: community newspapers

Labor Day Weekend Sales

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  Chances are, if you’re still in the office reading this, you’re dreaming of taking off for a long weekend of beach, barbecue, and…shopping of course.

According to a recent CBS MoneyWatch article, LDW is the best time to get great deals on seasonal summer items retailers are trying to unload to make room for fall and winter goods.  Stock up on summer clothes for next season, a new grill, or if your mattress needs to be replaced, holiday weekends often tend to offer good deals.  Skip fall clothing, toys, and consumer electronics like Apple products – these types of items will be more heavily discounted in the Black Friday/holiday shopping timeframe.

Check your local newspaper for inserts with coupons and local promotions.  According to a research study for the NAA (Newspaper Association of America), 39% of US adult internet users favored newspapers for receiving ad inserts and fliers, compared with just 21% who preferred the web and 27% who wanted them sent via mail.  In fact 70% of US newspaper consumers said they checked the inserts to find out about sales and savings.

Post by Darcy Mauke

New Study Shows Newspapers are Still the Top Source of Local News

Local NewsA recent article on MediaPost provided data from a new study that focused on newspapers and their important role as a trusted source of local news.

The study, commissioned by AMG/Parade and researched by Coda Ventures, surveyed 1,000 local media users and found that :

  • 47% of local media users cited newspapers as the best source of deals
  • 49% said newspapers did the “best job” providing local news and information
  • 32% of local news consumers had visited a newspaper’s social-media channels in the last month
  • 40% of local news consumers said they had visited a newspaper web site in the past 30 days

Local newspapers continue to be a vital source of information to communities nationwide. Here at MediaBids, we place ads in local papers all across the country, and these ads get thousands of phone calls each month. Local papers are well read, and the ads placed in them provide great ROI for local and national advertisers alike. People pay attention to what’s going on in their towns, and there’s no more trusted source of information than the local paper.

As a side note, Coda Ventures, via their Triad Service, provides additional insights into newspaper ad and insert effectiveness. Below is a sample of the type of info they gather. We’d encourage you to take a look at their most recent full report: Click Here

Triad

Post by Jess Greiner

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

Ezra.jpg

I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.

Top Marketers to Follow @Twitter

I started using Twitter, somewhat, back in 2011. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to be more of a daily user and started to publish tweets on a regular basis. Twitter launched in 2006 so I was a relatively late adopter -perhaps I should have little to say- but it’s 2016 and especially if you’re a salesperson for a digital and/or print publisher, you really need to be using Twitter by now.

Twitter

It really is an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news of the day, especially in both the publishing and marketing industries. For one thing, your publication’s editorial department is using Twitter. Second, many of your clients are likely using Twitter and the advertising agency buyers you call on are for sure using Twitter. Why aren’t you?

In a less than scientific survey of media reps, these are the three most frequent reasons for not using Twitter:

  1. Why would I use it if I don’t know who to follow?
  2. I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet so why bother?
  3. I already get plenty of industry email newsletters…I don’t have time for Twitter!

Let’s start with #3.

Are you reading those industry email newsletters? If you’re following the knowledgeable people that actually aim to offer their audience valuable insights and support, then it’s relatively easy to glance at Twitter -here and there throughout the day- without it taking too much time or being disruptive to your workflow.

Regarding the second objection to Twitter (”I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet.”), you may be surprised at your own value to others in your industry so don’t hesitate to tweet out if you have an original thought or something to say. But also, no one is forcing you to tweet. You can use Twitter, and it is still valuable to you, even if you never ever respond or share anything on Twitter.

Now #1 is indeed a valid objection and I can relate. Twitter is a little intimidating at first, because after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. But for those of you ready to try something new and you’d appreciate a little help in taking the leap, here’s a few leading voices in marketing to consider following, be inspired by and perhaps learn from on Twitter:

@jeffbullas

@kimgarst

@jaybaer

@dharmesh

@JoePulizzi

Of course, there are at least forty other thought leaders one could follow. But once you get started you’ll learn quickly how to curate your own list.

Be well and good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks (@JimJinksCT and @Mediabids)

 

 

Winning In Local Elections: Three Steps to More ”Political” Sales for Local Print Sellers

2016

This Presidential election season is proving to be one of the most contentious (not to mention utterly bizarre) since perhaps the 1960s. But even in 2016, newspapers continue to be very important and an influential media channel. In the past week, for example, the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle have made headlines by endorsing Hillary Clinton very early in the general election campaign. They both cited their primary reason as the ”danger” that Trump poses to our country. But while Hillary and Trump get most of the big media attention, as an ad salesperson for a local daily or weekly community paper there are plenty of sales opportunities in races for state and/or local municipal positions and issue campaigns.

As a media buyer by training and as someone active in local politics, here’s my advice to local print ad sellers who want to be rock stars in selling to local political campaigns:

  1. Make Sure They Know You – Contact the local town or county committee chairperson in your area -often these folks may know reporters or editorial personnel at your paper but they’re not likely to know you. Call them -email will likely get ignored- and ask them about the upcoming elections. Committee chairpersons will likely know, and have the direct contact info, for the campaign managers and other key people involved in any and all local races. Elections at the local level are not big ”organizations.” Other than the candidate, there are usually only one to two other people in the inner circle.
  2. Know Your Value To The Campaign – While there are billions being spent on national and statewide elections –see AdAge– campaigns at the local level (even races for the state assembly) are usually on a shoestring. There’s also generally limits to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign and at the local level this amount can be very low. Among the largest line items in a local campaign’s budget are for campaign signage, events and direct mail. You have an opportunity to grab some of the direct mail budget but you have to show how you can reach households at a very cost-effective and competitive price point. Also, be sure the powers that be in the campaign know that your newspaper can do the graphic design and ad production work at little to no cost. Don’t let the campaign think they can’t ”do print” simply because they don’t have the ad design expertise.
  3. Run a Special Local Election Supplement – Voters look to newspapers for guidance and information. In reading your pages, voters are actively thinking about the election and the issues that matter. If a campaign has an ad there, it’s not unlike having an AdWords text ad show up in search results on Google. A campaign ad in a local paper is an ideal placement but campaigns sometimes need to be sold on this reality – especially if the candidate is new politics and campaigns. One way to really entice a campaign to advertise in your paper is to run a special election supplement. My local weekly paper sends all the candidates the same set of questions and they use the responses as the main content for a local election supplement that runs the week before the election. Once you have one campaign advertiser….others will follow, believe me. The last thing a political campaign wants to have happen is to be absent when the opposition is present.

Generally speaking, local campaigns really begin in earnest after Labor Day. So forget about Hillary and Trump, now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for garnering a slice of the billions and billions spent in political campaigns in 2016. Good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

Open Letter to Media Buyers & Marketers

newspaper machine

Is this picture of newspaper boxes kind of how you think of print? …dreary, old, outdated?

C’mon. Be honest. This is a safe space here.

As a media buyer, agency exec or client-side marketer, the way you think about print media has an enormous impact on the newspaper and magazine industry.

There was yet another sour report today about print revenues. First quarter 2016 newspaper and magazine revenues were down another 3.5-4.5% YOY.

I know many of you have moved on to digital and probably haven’t given much thought to print advertising for some time. I know and it’s not entirely your fault. After all, it’s tough to not follow the herd when the stakes and demands are so high. It’s also especially tough, when you may not know better.

By largely turning our backs on print (and instead pouring dollars into digital display) we’ve missed a huge opportunity to be heroes.

Mediabids Conversion

This chart shows close rates and the average length of calls for a few of our advertisers that deliver the highest call volumes. To be clear, the decimal point is in the correct place. All of our conversion rates start with TWO numbers before the decimal point.

By comparison, here’s the latest conversion rates for digital display ads.

Digital Display Click Thru Rates

If you’ve been spending time in digital media, these conversion rates are very familiar and may be the norm. From my perspective, these conversion rates are just north of ”why bother?”

Print advertising is a huge opportunity to deliver real results and value to your clients. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to update your view of print media.

Sincerely,

Jim Jinks

Fact Checking ”Truthiness”

Trump PinochioStephen Colbert famously coined the term ”truthiness” to describe the way politicians often say things that are at best only half-true. Working in advertising, where we are held to a relatively high standard pertaining to ”truth” (not to mention subject to laws and official government oversight), the nature of advertising in politics -with its loose relationship to facts- has always been particularly frustrating to me, both as a voter and professional marketer. As a society, why do we demand more from our commercial advertisers than our politicians?

It’s a big question and I will not be attempting to answer it here. One thing is for sure, ”truth” isn’t exactly easy to define. Often it’s the case that our truth is simply what we choose to believe. But, of course, we can’t simply let politicians entirely off the hook.

Hillary 2016

While there isn’t an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looking over the shoulder of political campaigns and consultants, in recent years there has emerged a strong vein of fact checking (even an industry, really) including newspaper and non-profit organizations. The next time you’re curious about the facts behind statements and/or advertising from one of the major candidates, these are the four most widely noted fact checkers:

Factcheck.org

Politifact.com

Sunlightfoundation.com

Poynter.org

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Marketing Podcasts: Less Pain, More Gain.

Podcast image

If you’re a local media salesperson it’s important to not only know everything there is to know about what you’re selling but you also need to know what your customers may be thinking, in terms of their marketing options and ideas.

As professional marketers, it’s tough for us to keep up with all the new technology and marketing opportunities that arrive on the scene at an ever increasing pace. Imagine how your small business customers feel? In addition to running their business, they get bombarded by media salespeople in their local market as well as emails and online offers from all the social media and digital channels. The options, opportunities and trends are likely to be overwhelming to most small business owners and managers…or at least make them feel like it’s tough to keep up and make an informed decision on where to best invest marketing dollars.

One thing a local media salesperson can do is attempt to be THE authoritative voice for their small business customers. I know what you’re thinking. Who could possibly have the time to read marketing books or spend valuable prospecting time following ”thought-leaders” on social media or participating in webinars. I get it! Especially as a salesperson, your time is valuable and you’re judged by closing sales (not how smart you are about marketing.)

Recently I’ve been thinking, how can I get smarter about marketing without committing time I don’t really have in the first place? Then I thought…what about a podcast (or two?) There are very few podcasts that are household names. Check that, with the possible exception of Serial (https://serialpodcast.org/) there are no podcasts that are household names. So how or where to get started?

Admittedly, this wasn’t exactly scientific:

  1. I did a Google search of ”top marketing podcasts.”
  2. Based on seven different rankings from people that purportedly listened to all (or most) of the podcasts in the marketing podcast universe, there were five marketing podcasts that appeared in ALL of the rankings.
  3. If you’re looking to become a smarter marketer in less time (and be your customer’s marketing guru) then these would likely be a great place to start:

#AskGaryVee

Beancast Marketing

Six Pixels of Separation

Marketing Over Coffee

Social Media Marketing Podcast

Have a listen and please let us know what you think in the comments section below. I hope you find these enjoyable and valuable.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

4 Ways Newspapers Can Stay in the Game

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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

Local PI (per inquiry) – Top 5 Reasons to Start Today

Digital Print pic

Local PI (per inquiry) is a program for community-based publications that are looking to meet the changing needs of advertisers in their local market. Every community has local market advertisers that want to buy newspaper ads but will only buy the ads on a performance basis (meaning pay-per-call.) In other words, local PI is a way for local publications to generate revenue from local advertisers that are otherwise more likely to continue spending their entire budget on search marketing and social media. Local PI offers community publications a way to stay relevant to the majority of local market advertisers.

At Mediabids, we have local PI already figured out for you. We handle all the paperwork, rate negotiations, ad traffic, call tracking/reporting and accounts work. Your publication runs the advertising and is paid a fixed amount per call generated. It’s that simple!

Whether or not  you’re struggling to replace lost print revenue with digital or alternative sources, here’s the top FIVE reasons to be considering local PI.

It’s Easy

Under any circumstances, it’s tough enough to sell advertising space. But now you’re also battling against several damaging mis-perceptions -namely, print is dying and too expensive. Local PI is entirely response-based (e.g. phone calls) so it’s easily more measurable and cost-effective for advertisers than most other local advertising options.

Also, Mediabids handles everything so local PI doesn’t cost you or your sales staff time or money. Your ad reps continue to focus on selling ROP and digital to their book of business.

New Print Revenue

Local PI is an alternative revenue source but it’s also new print revenues. To put it another way, it’s a new opportunity for you and for select advertisers in your market. The ideal local PI advertisers:

a)  May have tried print before but didn’t stick with it.

b) Were consistent customers for many years but are now reluctant to return your calls.

c) New businesses or advertisers that have always avoided print for one reason or another.

Phones Are Driving Everything

Local PI provides local advertisers a way to tap into the increasing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers. It just makes good business sense.

Mobile phones use has exploded over the past 4-5 years and people love to pick up the phone and call, rather than fill out an online form or email. In fact, roughly two-thirds of customers prefer to call versus other ways to contact a business. BIA/Kelsey recently reported that by 2019 businesses will get 162 billion more customer calls than they received in 2014. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Clearly, consumers are increasingly wired to call.

Bridge the Digital-Print Divide

Mobile phones are the proving to be the missing link between advertising and the customer. Seventy-nine percent of people ”switch devices during a single activity” – meaning consumers today move from one media channel to another and move from online to offline media channels quickly and with ease. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Local PI drives calls from print ads to local advertisers and print calls are by far the highest quality calls. The average call from a newspaper ad is over 3 minutes longer than an average call from TV and 2 minutes longer than an average call from an online display ad.

Home Services pic

Local Advertisers Get Results

According to the Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index 2016, the industries with the highest increases in call volumes are those with high value purchases or services where customers generally need a lot of personal service. The kinds of local businesses in these categories include home repair, financial services, insurance, health and wellness and travel. What does this mean? It means you likely already have a long list of potential local PI advertisers in your backyard.

Rolling all this up – you have advertisers that want measurable response and customers that are increasingly prone to respond to advertising via their phones. As a print publication, you want more print revenue but you need a way to overcome the usual objections to print – ”high” cost and a less competitive ROI. Local PI by Mediabids checks all the boxes.

Post by Jim Jinks.