Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Selling Sponsorships for Specialty Events

Offering sponsorships for student events and special sections increases readership and revenue.

Back when I was in high school, students didn’t get a lot of recognition in my community unless you were the football or basketball star. Yes I played sports, but I was no standout. But my local paper decided it was time for a change, and they began to introduce star students and homecoming sponsorships. Are you lost? How in the world does this relate to classifieds? Not only would the weekly newspaper feature students that would have otherwise flown under the radar, but they sold sponsorships for the specialty sections.

These specialty sections included graduation, honor students and the homecoming court, as well as many other sections that proved there were more students than the standout sports star. Not to say the athletes weren’t important; I appreciated any mention on the sports page, but it was important that students were recognized outside of their classroom for their intellect and philanthropic outlook as well as their 50-yard touchdown pass.

Specialty sections promote increased readership, and allowed for new ways to garner revenue. The section could be at a premium cost because of the high interest, especially in a small community. And, you could offer an advertiser to sponsor part or all of the section.

Work with the school to send out a photographer (it can be a sales rep with a camera, for all they care) to take photos of the students. You could even make it an “educational experience” by enlisting the help of a student with a passion for photography to showcase their talents in the newspaper. Of course require the proper release forms to be signed and submitted BEFORE you go to the school. If the section has a full sponsorship, find out if they’d like to be included in the photos. Say the advertiser is a car dealership; maybe they’d like the students to be featured in a vehicle from their lot. You can allow for group photos, individual photos, bios written by the students, really anything in the section.

Specialty sections promote increased readership, and allowed for new ways to garner revenue.

When it comes to actually selling the section to the advertiser, try creating a spec. If this is your first attempt at selling this type of section, create boxes of where the students will go, and include sample text for formatting. Decide before you meet with the advertiser whether you’re trying to sell them a full sponsorship or simply a part of it. That way, you can completely customize the section with their name and logo in the correct location and scale. Include colors, sizes and accompanying text. Get the advertiser talking about the section; allow them to gain a sense of ownership for the product. Generate new revenue and increase readership with community involvement with a little (and I stress little) effort, and a lot of ingenuity.