Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Fright Right in October

Revenue generating ideas for the month of October
Prepare for the chaos by clearly organizing the month as you are correlating your advertising initiatives to put enhancement on the predominate activities that will be taking place (or that you’re creating) in your community.

With fall well underway, October should be one of the busiest months for classified advertisers. It’s on the brink of the holiday season, and offers several celebrations on its own. Prepare for the chaos by clearly organizing the month as you are correlating your advertising initiatives to put enhancement on the predominate activities that will be taking place (or that you’re creating) in your community.

Here are some of the highlights for the month, and how you can capitalize on them with your advertising packages.

Oktoberfest:

What it is:

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival. It is held annually in Germany, but several other countries, including the U.S., partake in the festivities. Oktoberfest initially began in 1810 to celebrate the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (later becoming King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The main event of the pioneer Oktoberfest was a horse race. When the city began allowing beer on the fairgrounds, small beer stands began to appear on the scene. Their numbers steadily increased until beer halls replaced the stands in the 1890s. Just as the tents are today, the beer halls were sponsored by the local breweries, spreading both enjoyment and advertisements regarding their brewery to the hundreds of thousands of visitors and festival participants for the rest of the year.  

In years following the first, the royal family opted to continue with the horse race, allowing anniversary celebrations to be held annually thereafter. Today, the even has become a larger, longer and much more elaborate event. The festival has now been prolonged and moved forward into September, which allows for better weather conditions. The 16-day beer-fest now ends on the first Sunday in October. Last year, 2010, marked the 200th anniversary of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.

How to make money:

Classified departments can either host an Oktoberfest celebration or they can work out advertising deals for the festival. If your community does not already have an Oktoberfest, the first step to creating your own is to inform the local authorities of your intentions, and find out if they have any rules and regulations that you must abide by. Next check into a venue to host the event. Most cities have festivals in the summer; find out what it would take to host one in the favorite locations. Next, contact any and all local breweries. While they are competing for business during the normal business hours, they oft are more than delighted to work together to bring people out to enjoy a good local brew, plus it gets their name out! After connecting with the breweries, work with the local eateries. It’s definitely a smart idea to include food if ever there is alcohol involved. Require participants to pay a “venue fee” and provide their own tent and materials. Realize that there will be costs involved, but the payout can be enormous. Charging an entry fee from attendees would be a great way to supplement costs and bring in new revenue. The largest Oktoberfest in the U.S. is held in Ohio and brings in over a half a million visitors each year, producing classified advertising opportunities from hotels, restaurants and entertainment sources in the community and boosting the local economy.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

What it is:

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness and raise funds for research on the disease.

How to make money:

I won’t go into too much detail here, but check out our other stories coming soon to www.abovethefoldmag.com for a full feature supporting breast cancer awareness. Not only does it give you examples of how to help your community, but it shows ways to bring in advertisers to do the same.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Bringing Awareness to Breast Cancer
  • Creating Health Guides
  • Selling Hospital Ads
  • Recreating Recruitment with the Health Industry

Halloween:

What it is:

For those of you that live under a rock, Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated annually on the night of October 31. It’s also known as Samhain, which literally translates into “summer’s end,” and was originally the New Years Eve of the Celts. It was once believed that the dead spirits of all those that had died within the past year would come back in search of a living body to possess for the next year. The living, which feared being possessed, would dress up in wicked costumes and parade around town making as much noise as possible to scare away the spirits (making tricks of the spirits). Food and drinks, otherwise known as treats, would be left out for these costume-clad villagers.

Others believe Halloween to be the eve before All Hallows Day, a day commemorating the saints that rest in Heaven. Continuing in the three-day remembrance, All Souls’ Day is November 2, and memorializes the departed faithful that are waiting to reach Heaven.

Today we celebrate with trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, haunted houses, jack-o-lanterns and scary stories.

How to make money:

There are several ways to generate revenue with this holiday that go far beyond the inclusion of ghost, ghouls and pumpkins on an ad. Try hosting a pumpkin-carving contest. For this, allow the local businesses of your community enter (while charging an entrance fee of course) and create a one-of-a-kind pumpkin. Post photos online and have community members vote. Not only will this encourage readership and promote your website (allowing you to sell advertising on the page with the contest entries on it at a premium), but it will also bring notice to the businesses around town. Offer a grand prize to the winner, it doesn’t have to be huge, but enough to encourage entries even more than the potential for bringing awareness to the business without much cost to them.

Along the same concept, have a costume contest. You can post these on your website and advertise the contest on your Facebook page. Encourage community involvement and garner advertisers to make new money.

Appeal to the travel agencies in your market with ghost tours. Host a tour, sponsored by a travel agency, with ghouls and goblins on board a bus or as you’re walking through a field. Find folklore stories about your area and have a narrator spook the attendees. This tour can, of course, be held inside of a haunted house, leading tours of unsuspecting visitors through dark corridors adding to the spook value. Community members will pay a good amount to be scared this time of the year.

Gather a (or multiple) car dealership(s) in the area and host a trunk-or-treat event. This event provides a safe space for kids to go trick-or-treating in the community. Prop up the trunks of some of the vehicles and dump candy in them. Have a costumed adult at each vehicle to provide equal distribution of the candy, and to man the safety of the vehicles.