Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Celebrate September

Newspapers and advertisers need to look at alternative ways to get the consumer's attention.

Easing the transition between summer and fall, September can easily get lost in the shuffle. Typically, advertisers try to capitalize on Labor Day and back to school, but let’s face it — those events are over at the beginning of the month. By the first or second week of September, students are already well into school and Labor Day comes the first Monday of September. So newspapers and advertisers need to look at alternative ways to get the consumer’s attention.

What are buyers most concerned with in September? Savings. As you’ll see in the coming pages, September is National Coupon Month — so we’re bringing you ideas for implementing your own deals program, hosting coupon classes and integrating mobile into your coupons. It’s a great idea to encourage your advertisers to use coupons and make quality offers (people are still reeling from summer vacation and thinking ahead to the holidays, they need a good incentive to buy).

What else does September have to offer? In the U.S., 9/11 is still a far-too-vivid memory. It may be a good idea to commemorate the event with somber and sober patriotic advertising that doesn’t boisterously shout buy, save or bargain. And then, you can lighten it up on September 19 with International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Personally, I can see auto dealers having a lot of fun with this one — but it can work well for any business looking to offer a special or coupons. Treasure hunts, finding a good deal and scavenger hunts would be a great way to celebrate this holiday; and you can make it a weekend-long event. Consider using short codes to “unlock your treasure” and “find booty.”

Also, September is the month to celebrate literacy. Maybe it’s because it’s so closely associated with the beginning of school, but September plays host to a variety of reading-related holidays. Along with being Library Card Sign-Up Month, September 8 is the United Nations: International Literacy Day and September 24 is R.E.A.D. in America Day. So you should take advantage of this and market it to libraries and local bookstores.

Work together to promote literacy (which benefits both papers and libraries) with sponsored events, library sales, book readings, bring in local authors or celebrity authors for talks and readings, book clubs, etc.

How can newspapers help libraries? Everyone knows that public library funding is dismal, so I’m not suggesting they’re an untapped cash cow. Instead, work together to promote literacy (which benefits both papers and libraries) with sponsored events, library sales, book readings, bring in local authors or celebrity authors for talks and readings, book clubs, etc. Being that it is the beginning of school, libraries should also advertise to university students and encourage them to rent instead of buy (and save them a lot of money!). Libraries could contact university professors and obtain their reading list ahead of time, so they can be in the know for what students will be looking for.

Chains have chased away many local bookstores. However, with the news of Borders shutting their doors, we may just start to see a re-emergence of the local and used variety. Help these local bookstores survive and encourage them to advertise with you. Similar to libraries, this market may not have a lot of money, so offer them incentives on advertisements. New and fledgling stores need to get their names out there if they hope to survive, so it’s imperative they develop a marketing campaign. Keep in mind that these stores often target a unique, niche demographic, like sci-fi, fantasy, used, coffee house atmosphere, esoteric, etc. Keep this in mind when selling advertising to them, they may belong in one of your niche publications.

And, of course, get a jump on October. Turn the page for some fun, revenue-generating ideas that will scare you silly.