Tag Archives: newspapers

Content Marketing Via Newspapers

SF HousesAt Mediabids we recently became aware of a somewhat unique insert program at the San Francisco Chronicle. They call it the ”slim jim.” It’s essentially a multi-page, double-sided pamphlet (full-color, 6 wide x 10.5 tall.) In fact, you may have seen a similar ”insert” from American Express or another lux brand in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Anyway, this got us thinking about inserts and newspapers in a slightly different way.

One unique aspect of the slim jim product is the personalization feature; the inserts are going to San Francisco Chronicle subscribers only. As such, the advertiser prints ”Exclusively For San Francisco Chronicle Subscribers” on the front and back cover. This tactic isn’t necessarily cutting-edge but it is more often used in direct mail than newspaper inserts. Furthermore, the advertiser is using a unique phone number specifically assigned for the slim jim. The calls (both inquiries and sales/reservations) are then tracked back to the paper’s subscriber list. The tracking/reporting allows the advertiser to precisely measure ROI.

A top travel brand has been running the slim jim consistently for the past year. By all accounts it has been a very successful effort. Relative to a simple newspaper display ad, the slim jim really plays to the strengths of the advertiser and newspapers. Indeed, for advertisers and publications, there’s a lot to like about this type of insert product because it is essentially ”content marketing via newspapers.”


There are several reasons why newspapers are ideal content marketing distributors – targeting and context to name two. Affluent households are readers and print is a proven, high-conversion media channel. Insert products, like the slim jim in particular, allow for engaging graphics and copy -qualities that tend to be more appreciated by affluent, print media consumers. Perhaps most important though, good content can further the duo marketing goals of brand and sales. Print display ads, on the other hand, tend to struggle to further more than one objective at a time at a time.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of newspapers as content marketing distributors is not new. Advertorials have been a part of print publishing for generations and we are only a couple of years removed from the ”native ad” craze of the early 2010s.


We are well into the era of digital publishers being content marketers themselves and offering content marketing services to clients. Content is ”king” and print publishers are beginning to catch-up to the idea. Nevertheless, beyond the largest metro dailies, the idea that newspapers (and inserts) are a great way to distribute marketing content may not be top-of-mind in print ad sales departments around the country.

Increasingly, advertisers want marketing campaigns that are cost-effective, measureable, ideally allow for the right amount of personalization and reach qualified consumers or purchasers efficiently.  The San Francisco Chronicle’s slim jim (and similar insert products) check off many of these ”must haves” of smart marketers in 2016.

Post by Jim Jinks




Gannett bids for Tribune


All newspaper industry eyes are watching to see what will happen next with Gannett and Tribune.  On vacation or taking a digital hiatus and miss the news of Gannett’s bid to buy Tribune earlier this week?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s a roundup of articles on the potential acquisition:

  • USA Today provided a good overview of the news of the deal in which Gannett has offered $815 million to buy Tribune just weeks after acquiring Journal Media Group for $280 million.


  • The Tribune chairman Michael Ferro Jr. reportedly missed the email from Gannett CEO Robert Dickey offering to buy the company, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:


  • The WSJ details that the offer has not been without drama:


  • Poynter provides interesting commentary and speculation that the takeover is likely to go through, though not without the blessing of the DOJ:


  • Predictions from Poynter on what the deal would mean for Tribune, should it go through:


  • Media Life Magazine taps newspaper merger and acquisitions authority Sara April to provide expert analysis of the deal and what it means in the context of industry trends, pointing to a recent surge in newspaper deals.


  • For more analysis from Media Life, particularly through the lens of what it means for Tribune, see here:


The acquisition would certainly have effects for media buyers and advertisers – even though Gannett claims editorial staff is valued and journalists would not be affected, it is very likely many administrative functions (ad sales, billing, etc.) will be centralized or “streamlined” to maximize cost savings ($50 million in “synergies”).  Now that we’re all caught up, stay tuned.  The uncertainty is undoubtedly shaking things up at papers held by both media companies.  More to come.

Post by Darcy Mauke

Newspaper Readers Don’t Use Mobile Phones

Did I get your attention?

Conventional wisdom, at least from not long ago, would say that older Americans are not that ”digital.” In 2014, Pew Research showed that people 65+ were still about 18% less likely to use a mobile phone and they’re only about half as likely to go online and/or have broadband access. In other words, people 65+ are kind of like the ”settlers” in the latest (and very funny) series of DIRECTV commercials.

For sure, older Americans are still doing some things at a higher rate than the generations coming up behind them; like watching TV (when the show airs rather than time shifting), using the landline to make calls, ”going online” using their desktop PC and reading newspapers (the kind that will occasionally leave black ink on your fingers.) However, if our first-quarter call data is any indication, the conventional wisdom about older Americans and newspaper readers may be quickly becoming more conventional than wisdom.

Mobile vs Landline Chart

Our chart shows the percentage difference between the number of mobile calls versus landline calls; meaning in Texas, for example, there were over 300% more mobile calls than landline calls during the first three months of this year. New York State, at the other end of this scale, had a small difference between the number of mobile and landline calls. Of course, without weighing the types of publications and the specific advertisers that drove the calls, we’re not suggesting anyone jump to conclusions. Although, the advertiser mix is likely similar across these states. Also, for this comparison we only looked at the ten highest population states. The total sample, for all ten states, is tens of thousands of qualified calls.

The point is that with so much change in media devices and technology and so much change in our habits over the past several years, it’s likely we don’t know as much about ”seniors,” ”millennials,” ”adults 25-54” or any demographic set for that matter. If newspaper and print readers are reaching for their mobile phones first (often at a much higher rate than landlines) then it’s time to update the popular view of newspaper/print readers…if it’s possible.

Post by Jim Jinks