Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Resolving to Improve Your Department

Ad ideas for January
Keep the holiday spirit going by focusing on New Year’s resolutions this January.

After the ball drops at midnight on Jan. 1, we all look for new beginnings and make resolutions to become our best selves, in hopes that this year will be better than the previous one. While the holiday season virtually comes to an end after New Year’s Eve, that doesn’t mean there are less opportunities to boost revenue in your department and for your advertisers. In fact, the ringing in of the New Year could mean a whole year’s worth of new profits if you look in the right places. Keep the holiday spirit going by focusing on New Year’s resolutions this January. We’ve selected a few holidays that focus on both personal and business resolutions to get you started. These ideas will be sure to encourage you, your advertisers and your readers to get the year off right, all while increasing your revenue!

International New Year’s Resolutions Month for Businesses


What it is:

In the spirit of the New Year and making resolutions to bet your best self, this holiday seeks to spend the month of January creating smart resolutions for businesses, both big and small. Raleigh R. Pinskey, a marketing and public relations consultant, establish this month-long observation in order to encourage businesses to implement the best practices possible and adjust those practices accordingly every year. She created International New Year’s Resolutions Month for Businesses in hopes that businesses would spend this month getting the New Year off on the right foot by refocusing their PR and marketing efforts in order to successfully promote themselves to the public, and as a result, increase their revenue that year. Pinskey offers marketing and PR ideas and advice to get businesses started on her website,

How to make money:

It’s crucial that the ad department’s role change from merely taking ads to really providing consultation services to your clients. Offer your advertisers great ideas and solutions that could become their New Year’s business resolutions as well. Keep the focus on marketing and public relations by offering them special New Year deals for space in your classifieds with accompanying online ads throughout the month. Of course, you should go above and beyond by encouraging them to implement the best marketing practices this year by ramping up their social media use. Become the expert and tell them everything they need to know about using Facebook and Twitter and maybe even Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare! Encourage them to offer special discounts and deals through these platforms and really connect with their customers. On top of that, make sure your newspaper’s social media accounts are connected with your clients’ accounts. For instance, you could participate in “Follow Fridays” every Friday of the month of January. Follow Fridays on Twitter are spent tweeting and tagging your favorite users in order to encourage others to follow them. These tweets are categorized by including the hashtag, “#followfriday” or “#ff”. Take this opportunity to give your advertisers an extra bit of marketing, and they may just return the favor by tagging you! This way, social networking becomes mutually beneficial, because their followers will see that your paper is a great advertising resource.

Diet Resolution Week

January 1 – 7, 2013

What it is:

More often than not, when Jan. 1 comes around and people prepare to make their personal New Year’s resolutions, they tend to have to do with health and fitness, whether it is a promise to exercise more or lose a certain amount of weight. In that vein, the first week of January is dedicated to making dietary resolutions. The Vegetarian Awareness Network encourages individuals to spend this week making New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier in the upcoming year. They emphasize the importance of substituting meat with fruits, vegetables and less processed foods. By taking the first week of the year to refocus your diet on healthy alternatives, this week of resolutions guarantees that you will lose weight and improve your health if taken seriously.

How to make money:

Encourage members of your community to get healthy this year by partaking in Diet Resolution Week. Approach some of your advertisers about getting involved. Focus on gyms and health food stores and tell them about this great opportunity to get their name out there. Turn to doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers about hosting classes throughout the week in order to promote health and fitness awareness in your area. In the spirit of the foundation of Diet Resolution Week, make one of the classes focused on vegetarian diets and how to eat less meat. You could even include a special section in the paper that includes personal health journey stories of people in your town. Interview them and ask what diet and exercise routines they use and what kind of success they have seen. Reading other people’s real-life success stories will certainly encourage others to get involved and take control of their health!

Get to Know Your Customer Day

January 17, 2013

What it is:

Get to Know Your Customer Day is celebrated the third Thursday of every quarter — January, April, July and October. This day is set aside to turn the tables of your day-to-day business practices. Instead of selling, take some time to truly get to know your customer. The holiday’s creator, Shep Hyken of Shepard Presentations, LLC, suggests taking a customer out to lunch without the intention of selling them anything, just to learn about them, their needs and their opinions on your business relationship. This can serve as great reflection for your department and how you conduct business with your advertisers, and likewise how your advertisers do business with their clients.

How to make money:

While planning out your resolutions this year, take this third Thursday in the New Year to resolve to get to know your customers better. Call up your advertisers and set up lunch dates — not to sell them ad space or anything else, but just to get to know them and their business more. While this may seem like a free lunch, and consequently lost money, the knowledge you gain is invaluable. With it, you will be better equipped to serve your customers and thus more likely to be able to sell to them in the future. Encourage your advertisers to get involved in Get To Know Your Customer Day too. They could ask for customers to fill out surveys, telling them their thoughts about their business or service with the knowledge that feedback can truly shape and improve their practices. Make sure they give customers some incentive to answer surveys by offering discounts or coupons on their product or service.