Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Idea Exchange

Struggles and Solutions
This session gave people the chance to discuss their struggles, provide advice and share motivating success stories.

During the Idea Exchange Session at SNA, SNPA, and Inland’s mega conference, newspaper professionals discussed the issues they face day in and day out. The workshop touched on struggles with online revenue, training and the ongoing predicament of the legacy attitude and digital sales. This session gave people the chance to discuss their struggles, provide advice and share motivating success stories.

SPECIAL SECTIONS AND EVENTS

Special sections were a hot topic in the idea exchange, with people boasting new, revenue-generating ideas for sections, events and an integration of both. The most successful sections were ones that had strong content, appeared online and were interactive. Session attendees encouraged partnering with local businesses and organizations, and to expand special sections into an event.

Ideas:

  • Veterans Day—treat as an historical document. Include veterans photo and brief information
  • Themed local magazines
  • Celebrating the community—works best for smaller communities. Include positive profiles and featured businesses
  • Readers’ choice of “Best of ”—vote online, and link section to an event
  • Include a content provider, like Relish, for a cooking event
  • All-night scrapbooking event

KNOWING WHEN TO CUT YOUR LOSSES

If something is failing, don’t keep doing it. Before you start a project, set up a time frame to know when to cut your losses and move on. Don’t spend extra time on something that doesn’t work, but don’t ignore a new opportunity because of the fear of failure. Great risk is the only way to receive great rewards—this goes for staff, as well, not just projects.

DEALING WITH LEGACY REPS

Take the time to set-up performance reviews. Develop an outline of your overall expectations for your sales reps and go over it with your entire staff. You can fill out the evaluation yourself, or assign a sales manager to do it—but, it’s usually a good idea to do it yourself for the first few weeks. If your staff is not up to par, have a process in place to provide necessary assistance, but also set up a three- strikes-you’re-out policy. Though it can be time-consuming, a negative, legacy attitude is best combatted with a training and evaluation process—followed by the necessary evil of removing the bad eggs. Do we need to remind you of how many eager, young, tech-savvy individuals there are out there begging for jobs? Do yourself a favor and take the time to develop and implement a strategy to have the most effective and revenue-generating sales staff.

PRINT TO WEB

When making the transition from print to web, be sure to thoroughly train your sales staff on all online and mobile initiatives—they can’t sell what they don’t know. While the jury is still out if it’s is better to have a separate digital and print team, or if you should integrate it, but the consensus is that you need to include at least one online- savvy individual on your sales staff. Hire someone new or do in-depth training with just a few people to help encourage the rest of your staff to familiarize themselves with the new technology and sales strategy. If your sales staff isn’t comfortable with selling mobile/online, develop scripts for them to become comfortable with selling mobile and web packaging. These should keep to the basics and NOT include tech jargon.

If your sales staff isn’t comfortable with selling mobile/online, develop scripts for them to become comfortable with selling mobile and web packaging. These should keep to the basics and NOT include tech jargon. 

Use your legacy reps as guides. If they don’t understand it, neither will your potential clients. Make sure everyone is aware of the benefits of online advertising and how this can work in their favor.

Also, a new price packaging must be developed and conveniently available to all staff. This is not an overwhelming, multiple-page documents. A simple one-page sheet with the basics for easy referencing is essential. If you still have a price structure completely focused on print, take the time to develop one with the main focus on mobile and web with an add-on of print.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

It was clear that the newspapers with the most success stories were the ones that embraced mobile/web advertising, which corroborated the message we heard throughout the conference. The struggle is that speakers often reinforce the concept —that mobile is the next step—but how do you implement it? Particularly, for smaller newspapers that have less resources at hand. We encourage you to engage in an open conversation and idea exchange with your peers—much like this session. But how do you continue to do that after the conference is over? That is what EZAdsPro is here for. We want to provide you with stories and to connect you with people to provide advice, ideas and support. Below is a list of concerns mentioned during the session that they didn’t have time to not address. If you are having the same struggles with your newspaper, we invite you to log onto www.ezadspro.com and engage in one of our many forums. Or simply email us at editorial@ezadspro.com and tell us any and all topics you would like featured in our upcoming issues.

  • Social media
  • How to make money on Facebook         
  • How to make money online        
  • Multitasking with a small staff    
  • Developing a staff as a one-stop-shop
  • Broader advertising categories  
  • Training
  • Legacy vs digital
  • Encouraging print sales staff to sell mobile       
  • Motivating sales staff
  • Website Struggles
  • Getting pasted the homepage       
  • Keep engagement and encourage audience participation
  • Growing audience   
  • Publishing online with fewer print publications