Automotive advertising has traditionally been a financial backbone for community papers, but it's no exaggeration to say this source of revenue has slipped over the years. The recession and Internet advertising are the primary culprits.
Community newspapers remain the medium automobile dealerships need, but newspapers need to offer creative approaches and competitive pricing.
In this Black Inkling, Barry Merrill who operates a group of hometown papers in North Carolina sent a successful strategy along. If you have a creative way to attract auto ads, or real estate ads, please share it with 2,800 appreciative readers of this newsletter.
All my best, Ken
Readers Helping Readers Increase Revenue from Auto Dealers From Barry Merrill, publisher, the Princeton (NC) News-Leader
Some other community newspapers may find some increased revenue during these hard times in the same way we did, and from a place they haven't had much from lately - car dealers.
One of the regional dailies in our area began a substantial discount program to car dealers, selling at less than the weeklies were charging. We tried to figure a way to get some of their business back, but kept coming up substantially empty, particularly in this tough automotive market.
A few months ago we decided to try an auto tab. We decided to target the auto dealers with a full color product, no editorial content, giving the participating dealers a logo on the cover, along with a Sizzling Summer Deals theme (or whatever is appropriate for the season).
As it is a solid advertising product, not lifting any editorial content, we basically cut our rate in half and threw in the color, quite an incentive for our auto dealers to participate. They know it is a tab page, but it still sounds impressive when we say you can buy the back page in full color for $600.
We price the inside pages slightly less, have tried to sell the double truck (full broadsheet page turned sideways) but we have sold a number of fulls and halfs inside. We get more per inch on halves and quarters, and have sold a few quarters to help fill the tabs out. We did run a four page, but have sold six pages of most of the eight page tabs we run, usually one every six to eight weeks.
It's helped get our foot in the door with some dealers and we have picked up some business in the regular paper, on our auto recession rate there. Challenging times call for some creative thinking, and sometimes you can stumble across an idea that actually pays off.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Merrill.
Creative Approach for Posed Pix From Paul Price, publisher, The Guide, Everett, PA
Years ago, the Everett Area Better Business Association sponsored "Last Blast of Summer" immediately before Labor Day. One part of the promo was selling a hot dog and Pepsi for a dime to add to the picnic atmosphere of the event that featured sack races and other old-fashioned family games.
That money was given equally to the volunteer fire company and the ambulance service. Rather than a check, the treasurers got together and split the heap of dimes between the two organizations, resulting in a donation photo without a check. The photo we took focused on the sharp pile of dimes with three soft-focused faces in the background. It was a big hit.
We in the print media need to look at new ways, different ways, exciting ways to say the same old things in order to compete with the immediately available electronic media.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Price.
Quotable From Jim Stasiowski, writing coach, The Dolan Co.
"No one knows what newspapers will look like in the future. But what we do know is that a huge number of people always will hunger for the fearless exploring, explaining and exposing we always have done. Yes, countless websites and cable-TV outlets attract millions with sloppy, albeit entertaining, collages of news-opinion-self-promotion, but only newspapers consistently adhere to the principle of serious public service."
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Stasiowski.
More Unique Newspaper Names
The County Line Connection - Pittsfield, IL
Straight to the point: The Paper, Escondido, CA
My Advising Service
I've helped more than 150 papers realize their potential as businesses and with the challenges and opportunities unique to every hometown paper, be it mom and pop weekly or midsize daily. I'm here for you as your personal advisor and permanent friend in this wonderful business. Are you curious about the details and cost? Just drop me a note to email@example.com.
From a Fan "Very Thorough . . ."
Warren Dorrance, The Rice Lake (WI) Chronotype - "I felt that because we are an independent family owned company, it would be helpful to have someone with publishing experience evaluate our business.. Ken was very thorough and looked at all aspects of our newspaper. He provided many ideas that improved our newspaper and grew our revenue base for the future."
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. Dorrance.
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