There's no doubt that strong reporting, feature writing, commentary and photos are keys to any community newspaper's success; but there's another key that's simple (some would say trite) but vital: getting lots and lots of names and faces in the paper. A tip in this issue is from a fine weekly that aims to run 1,000 local names and 100 local faces in every issue of the paper.
Also in this issue, check out the in-house promotion ads offered by readers of this newsletter.
All my best, Ken
1,000 Local Names, Every Week!
My good friend Jerry Bellune, co-publisher with wife MacLeod of the Lexington (SC) Chronicle, puts out one of the finest weeklies you'll read anywhere, and he realizes that local names are a vital part of the Chronicle's mix of content.
Here's a tip you might pass along to some of your more enlightened readers. Our goal is 1,000 names and 100 local faces in the paper each week. It means a lot of grip and grin and group shots that win us no prizes but lots of readers.
Several of our community correspondents write from their neighborhoods each week with 75-100 names in a 500-word column. One who is consistently a high performer will have 100 or more birthday names each week from his small town.
Local names DO make news ...
The columnist writes about his "secret" for gathering these birthday names:
"The churches send me their bulletins - most of which contain birthday lists of their parishioners. I also use a community birthday calendar that the Ruritan Club does as a fundraiser every year. Funny thing, I have discovered that older folks sometimes are more eager to see their birthdays noted than the kids are. And I've had a few husbands tell me, "Thank God, I had forgotten my wife's birthday until I saw it listed. You saved me!"
Do you have a tip about recruiting, paying and handling community correspondents? Please pass it along.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Bellune. (Note - Jerry is also one of the country's noted personal development specialists, and he puts out an excellent e-mail newsletter that will inspire and motivate. Go to www.jerrybellune.com)
No Advertising Medium is Better than a Local Newspaper
Here are more statements, slogans, testimonials, analogies, studies, etc., pointing out that community papers are indeed the #1 way for advertisers to reach their customers. Later, I'll put them all together in a master document that will be available to all you Black Inkling readers to use in your presentations and marketing kits.
So send your contribution along!
Proven readership helps sell advertising, and two readers graciously sent along PDFs of in-house ads promoting the readership their papers enjoy. Both ads are small but effective.
From Teresa Pullium, design director, The Cherokee Scout, Murphy, NC - an ad that shows readers waiting outside the Scout office on Tuesday because they can't wait for the paper to roll off the presses. Teresa says, "These are actual customers who really do wait on Tuesdays for the Cherokee Scout to be printed. They were good sports to do this ad."
From Jim McGauley, publisher, The Baker County Press, MacClenny, FL - an ad that shows how much content a reader receives for 50 cents. Jim comments, "The ad stresses "Value." It's geared more to readership, but indirectly it speaks to advertisers as well."
If you would like copies of these PDFs, just drop me an e-mail to email@example.com.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Ms. Pullium and Mr. McGauley.
Readers Helping Readers Topic: Training Resources Available on The Web
From Ron Kinzler, publisher, The Unionville (MO) Republican
For people learning Adobe Creative Suites, www.russellviers.com has some great videos and he makes it fun while learning.
A question from Barb Shepherd, co-publisher, The Deland-Deltona (FL) Beacon
A few community newspapers have national account advertising, like Walmart, McDonald's, Sears. Most of us do not. Could readers share specific sales tips about how they landed the national accounts?
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Kinzler and Ms. Shepherd. Just a reminder about the two books I offer to hometown papers.
- In 1998, I released "Black Ink/The Book" which is chock full of ways for hometown newspapers to improve their products and profits. Since that time more than 2,700 copies of the book have been sold, and it's likely the best-selling how-to book of all time for community papers.
The first two printings of the hardcover edition sold out, and now I offer a softcover version that's reprinted periodically.
Black Ink/The Book is 280 pages and includes133 chapters, nearly 200 illustrations from newspapers from all over the country and dozens of "Black Ink Tidbit" ideas. There are four sections including management, advertising, circulation and editorial.
- I also offer an e-book with 700 pages and 1,000 ways to build paid circulation.
Here's the scoop:
A quarterly publication called Publisher's Circulation Reference (published between 1997-2004) was a superb source of ideas for increasing the paid circulation of paid community papers.
I bought PCR, and put all the issues on a single CD - a great big bundle of practical techniques, including 30 issues and more than 700 pages. There are more than 1,000 ideas, including subscriptions sales promotions, management columns, in-paper ads, renowned circulation Expert Ron Anderson's "Circulation Ideas at a Glance" columns, tips for increasing single copy sales, and circulation marketing strategies.
The e-book is done in a PDF format that will work on almost any computer. I've set it up so all you have to do is click on any topic in the table of contents, and it goes right to the page. Print it out if you like. Click on the upper right hand corner of any page and it takes you right back to the table of contents. It's simple as 1-2-3 to navigate through this treasure of advice.
Also included is a printed copy of the table of contents that you can peruse away from the computer.
The cost is $95 for Black Ink/The Book and $129 for the circulation book. The cost includes shipping. A SPECIAL - BOTH BOOKS FOR $200. Just e-mail your name, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send the book(s) out with an invoice. If you would like to get payment out of the way, just ask me to give you a call for a credit card number.
Your Personal Advisor and Friend
I've worked with hundreds of hometown newspapers to help build revenue, profits and deal with any problem or opportunity specific to the paper and market. The process involves a 1.5-day visit to get to know you and your paper, a comprehensive report, and then I'm here for you at any time at no additional cost. A project is affordable for any paper and, if you prefer, we can use a payment plan that will allow plenty of time to recoup your investment many/many times over.
For complete details including the cost, just drop me an e-mail to email@example.com.
From A Fan:
"A new set of knowledgeable eyes . . ."
Steve Mores, publisher, the Harlan (IA) Tribune - "It's always good to have a new set of knowledgeable eyes looking at what you're doing. Ken gave us that. He offered suggestions, gave us input as to what "norms" were and where we might have varied from them. His closing report and notebook of ideas have been very helpful. Compared with what we've spent with other "consultants", he was the one who was well worth it."
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Steve Mores. Write at any time
2,800 community newspaper professionals receive Black Inklings. Feel free to send your comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know another person in the community newspaper field who may be interested in receiving this free newsletter, have them e-mail their name, job title, newspaper and e-mail address to email@example.com.