Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Recruiting With Surveys

Surveys give your paper ample opportunities for advertising and revenue generation.

The 2012 SCAMA conference was filled to the brim with Southern newspapers’ best practices for increasing revenue and improving ad departments throughout the verticals. But one vertical stood out from the rest: recruitment. This once-vibrant section has taken a hit over the years from a depressed economy that boasted record-high unemployment rates. Now, as things are showing signs of recovery, newspapers are looking for ways to breathe life back into this ailing section, and SCAMA attendees were all ears on how they can improve their own recruitment sections. Out of the many ideas thrown on the table and discussed, one idea drew more attention and instigated a lively round of dialogue: using surveys.

Surveys give your paper ample opportunities for advertising and revenue generation. Papers have been long used surveys to publish city-best compilations that included reader-rated restaurants and service locations, e.g., the best place for brunch or the best pizza joint. These polls offer customers local, identifiable content and give advertisers an additional way to see their names in the paper. As we’ve mentioned before, consumer reviews and editorial endorsements help build an advertiser’s brand identity and create top of mind awareness. This coupled with well-placed advertisements ensure readers will notice.

Many SCAMA attendees have taken this idea and adapted it specifically for the recruitment vertical by publishing a “Best Places to Work Within the City” special section. One paper reported that they made “a ton of cash” from their survey. These surveys can be an invaluable sales tool for finding prospective clients. With this market research, you can tune into the company’s culture, which allows you to better craft an ad campaign that would attract desirable candidates. Printing a special section with the survey results also gives you more advertising opportunities for both hiring and non-hiring companies. “The Highest-Rated Company Now Hiring” is sure to get a lot of response.

Attendees were in complete agreement: the best way to conduct these surveys is to partner with someone else. Surveys are a lot of work and it’s imperative that the newspaper remains impartial in the collection and reporting of the survey results. Hiring a third party puts the responsibility on the partner, and the paper is just left with the results. However, finding a partner is not as easy as you may think. While some papers boasted a partnership with the acclaimed SHRM association, others, like Chattanooga’s Times Free-Press, were told that their cities were too small for the partnership and had to look elsewhere. Don’t be deterred by this, there are plenty of ready and willing partners out there. Here are just a few:

The Society for Human Resources Management, or SHRM, partnered with many of the papers in the room. This well-known organization is the largest human resources association in the U.S. Its goal is for organizations to succeed by implementing a winning combination of employee fulfillment and business success. Partnering newspapers said that their revenue-share model was very successful.

Workplace Dynamics
Founded in 2006, Workplace Dynamics primary goal is to help businesses create a better working environment. They recognize that happier employees mean more successful businesses. They’ve partnered with over 25 leading U.S. publishers to produce a regional “Top Workplaces” list, which is based purely on the opinions of the employees.

HR-Survey, LLC is a web-based service that facilitates employee surveys. From feedback, employee opinion to training needs analysis; they will create, deploy, administrate and analyze your custom-made surveys.

Chamber of Commerce
When The Huntsville Times decided to do their “Best Places to Work” section, they contacted their local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber did all the work, conducting the employee-based surveys, analyzing the results and awarding recognitions, like most kid friendly, most fun place to work, etc. The Chamber can even provide content for the special section. As SCAMA put it, this is a win-win scenario — great for the Chamber, and great for the newspaper.