Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Is your ad department feeling a little uninspired as of late? Have no fear, just turn to our Business Building Calendar! Our list of holidays, both traditional and non-traditional, offer opportunities for you to create events to meet the needs of your clients and community, but also boost revenue.

Twitter is a common topic of discussion here at AtF, as we often explore the marketing and PR potential it holds for your newspaper and your advertisers. However, as any businessperson knows, any kind of advertising or marketing tool doesn’t mean much if you can’t measure its effectiveness and value. If you’re using Twitter at all, you most likely know a thing or two about followers, mentions and retweets. Of course, they serve their key communication functions in the Twitterverse, but these tools are also how users can gauge the effectives or their Twitter as a business mechanism. All of these Twitter metrics mean different things, and unfortunately, they all have their advantages and disadvantages when determining the successfulness of your Twitter account. We break down the pros and cons of each of these Twitter metrics so you use it to guide your own approach to the social network, but also when instructing your advertisers in using the site.

With the help of our Business Building Calendar, you can create unique and thoughtful events and advertising all year long. Our calendar offers you both traditional as well as unexpected holidays that can kick up your department's revenue when things get slow, while offering your community entertaining and educational opportunities. Read below to get your creative juices flowing for February 2013.

Create unique events with your advertisers that celebrate both popular and the obscure holidays this month using our Business Building Calendar! These “special days” can produce limitless revenue, that in the past may have been overlooked. Here's a look the holidays in January 2013. 

We are in a day and age when communication is constant and doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. This continual flow of information has pros, but also cons. On the one hand, things like on-the-go email and social media allow us to respond to problems when they require a reaction right then and there. On the other hand, now that news travels faster, many professionals, especially managers and execs, feel as though everything is in dire need of an immediate response. However, attempting to keep up with the minute-by-minute flow of information can put a great deal of pressure on your staff and cause larger problems in the long run. As Steve Tobak wrote in his CBS Money Watch article, “Don’t Micromanage Marketing and Sales,” running a business based on up-to-the-minute developments can significantly injure a company’s ability to organize and manage workflow, ultimately hurting revenue and sales, even if that’s what you were trying to avoid in the first place. He offered some key ways managers hurt the office when trying to troubleshoot daily issues:

Newspapers are a business, yes, but do they serve a greater purpose? We at Above the Fold think so. We believe that it is in the newspaper’s best interest to offer breaking news related to the safety and security of its community members free of charge as to ensure that everyone has access to safety information whether they are subscribers or not. So, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that a number of papers have dropped their paywalls to accommodate subscribers and non-subscribers alike for safety information regarding Hurricane Sandy. The most prominent of these papers are the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

It’s common knowledge that the majority of salespeople are extroverts. They’re confident, personable and extremely social beings. However, in his Huffington Post article, “The Gregarious Salesman: Death of a Stereotype,” Wray Herbert brings this common knowledge into question. Do extroverts truly make for the best salespeople? Instead of fact, Herbert believes this notion is actually a myth. 

There is a notion that in relationships, you are supposed to model your behavior toward your partner based on the way he or she understands love. There are several different love “languages” ranging from positive reinforcement to physical contact. Although this philosophy applies to romantic relationships, it can also be applied to work relationships. In work situations, you may, however, want to lay off the physical contact.

Facebook has already proven itself to be an integral component of modern businesses, both small and large. It plays a key role in marketing, public relations and promotion for all types of companies. But with the development of a new “Want” button, Facebook is solidifying itself as an even larger player in the e-commerce game.

Jason Taylor closed the 2012 WCAA Conference in Las Vegas with an exciting presentation on creative ideas to boost event marketing revenue for your newspaper. He used his first-hand experiences creating beloved community events as the President of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. His speech, “From $0 to $2 Million: How to increase your event marketing revenue,” discussed the importance of creating a diverse menu of events for your town and offered examples of some of the great events he and the newspaper have organized in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Your newspaper likely has great SEO. However, if social media marketing and SEO are something you want to offer your clients, you’ll want to understand the inner workings of SEO to help them garner optimal results. One of the major tenants of a good SEO plan is back linking or link building. This process is a means of building web presence and reach without using funds to advertise or promote.

We are in full election mode: the debates are in full swing and the voting centers will be open very soon. Although you, as an individual, have your own political opinions, you expect that your work environment is likely neutral and that your newspaper have avoided endorsing a candidate. A non-endorsement is what we, at Above the Fold, advocate since endorsing a political candidate is likely to alienate voters in your locale from reading your paper. However, we found a chart on editorandpublisher.com that shows a good percentages of newspapers nation-wide are, in fact, endorsing a presidential candidate. 

Before Christmas or New Year’s sales even register on the minds of consumers, they gear up for Black Friday in order to get the best deals on gifts for their loved ones in preparation for the holiday season. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when more than half of Americans wake up before dawn to stand in long lines to get jaw-dropping sales at their favorite stores. According to a 2010 study, customers spend an average of $350 per person on Black Friday. In fact, the consumer holiday has become so popular that it has expanded into an entire weekend, including Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday has become such a staple of the American consumer experience that it is essential for businesses to create separate advertising campaigns designed specifically for the day, and that includes car dealerships. Not only are cars a more common holiday gift than you may think, dealerships across the country offer some of the best deals on Black Friday. Therefore, it’s crucial that you equip your transportation advertisers with the best strategies possible for this holiday. We’ll help you get started below with a few Black Friday ideas to boost not only your clients’ revenue, but your paper’s too.

When it comes to products and services, options are king. People look for variety and choice when searching for what to buy, and your clients aren’t any different. So, when deciding on your pricing structure for your products and services, err on the side of choice and variety, not rigid rules. 

On Tuesday Sept. 25, three members of the newspaper industry took the stage at the WCAA Conference to discuss their own papers’ best practices in the three major verticals: recruitment, real estate and automotive. The panel included Chelle Bize and Bryan Nelson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Mike Rutigliano of Glacier Media Group. Andy Vogel, the VP of Emerging Technologies at the LA Times, moderated the discussion, titled “Relevant Classified Verticals in a Competing Market Today.” 

Golf magazine runs features that focus on problems and solutions in golf swings. It's a good way for duffers — as well as experienced golfers — to improve specific elements of their games.

In the spirit of improving our advertising swing, let's apply this concept to the ad business. Here's a look at two problem areas — one involving a sales presentation, and one involving a challenging creative situation.

On Monday, Sept. 24, the first full day of the 2012 WCAA Conference, Shannon Kinney gave an illuminating presentation called, “Revenue Opportunities: What Would Google Do?” Kinney, the GM and Client Success Officer at Dream Local Digital, Inc., discussed how newspapers and their ad departments must reinvent themselves in order to remain relevant and offer their clients and readers a valuable product. As her presentation title indicates, Kinney believes that newspapers should look to Google as a role model for adapting with the changing advertising industry. 

It seems more often than not, no meeting is complete without food. Whether it is because we are all so busy and the two-birds-one-stone approach allows us to eat and work, or because meetings are always more fun when you can score a free muffin, food is essential. We found an article on Inc.com that highlights some of the ways to have a successful business lunch so that your attempts to multitask or feed your employees and guests run smoothly. This article, called “7 Rules of a Successful Business Lunch” by Matthew Swyers, details the (you guessed it!) seven best ways to ensure productivity while your members are filling their stomachs.

As I was driving to work today, I heard an interesting bit that, although over audio, could be implemented in you community with your newspaper to increase awareness. This advertisement, which was actually more of a conversation, used the partnership of a local housing non-profit with a seasonal attraction. Proceeds from the attraction (a haunted house that I would totally visit were it not for the subsequent and guaranteed nightmares) went to the housing non-profit, to both bolster their funds as well as raise awareness for their organization. This partnership — to promote both the attraction and the organization through the news media — is a great way kill three birds with one stone, so to speak.

On Tuesday at the 2012 WCAA Conference, Jamie Naughton, the Speaker of the House at Zappos.com, discussed the importance of building a company brand that makes employees proud members of a team, rather than cogs in a machine. Zappos.com is an online shoe and apparel store founded in 1999 based in Henderson, Nev., not far from this year’s conference in Las Vegas. Amazon.com acquired the site in July 2009 for approximately $1.2 billion. Zappos.com has earned a reputation based on dedicated customer service and a unique company culture. In her presentation, “Managing the Change: Building a Brand That Matters,” Naughton explored how these two facets of customer service and company culture are not mutually exclusive, and that in reality, one is necessary for the other to exist. She broke down her presentation into the various aspects of the company’s vision that have helped Zappos.com achieve a defined and recognizable brand as well as customer and employee happiness.

Last week, we posted an article that introduced our readers to augmented reality. Since augmented reality is such a new concept, we decided to contact a newspaper that has started to use augmented reality as part of their advertising and news strategy. So we reached out to the Hoosier Times, more specifically, the Times Herald in Bloomington, Ind., to ask them about augmented reality and how they implemented it. We talked to Shaylan Owen who is their resident expert on augmented reality and the application they use to deliver it, Aurasma. The Herald Times began using Aurasma, Aug. 27, 2012, and have reached 1,500 Android and iPhone downloads since its launch. 

After Thanksgiving, it means one thing for advertisers and consumers alike: the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are only a few of the holidays celebrated during this month. This means big advertising dollar signs in the eyes of your department and your advertisers. After all, this time of year means consumers will be doing even more shopping than usual, trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Therefore, it only makes sense that you and the rest of your department are right there, making sure your clients are meeting the needs of local consumers, while also increasing their revenue. While end-of-the-year sales and Christmas Eve discounts are a great way to guarantee those profits, why not break away from the traditional holiday advertising techniques? Or, you could at least create additional advertising solutions that not only offer great revenue opportunities for your department and your clients, but also an ample amount of opportunities for your community to celebrate the holiday season. Create community-wide events and newspaper special sections to really get the newspaper and the whole community in the holiday spirit!

Your recruitment section has probably taken a hit by the recruitment pure plays, like CareerBuilder® or Monster, but there are some ways to change the game and increase your revenue for this section. Since most businesses post job openings on the pure plays, which are then linked to your newspaper website’s recruitment section, why not allow local businesses to view possible candidates on your website as well? By creating a local, social recruitment network, you can allow users to upload videos answering possible interview questions. By doing so, you can once again be the necessary medium between local businesses and their prospective employees. Creating this network will not only reconnect jobseekers to businesses, it will also add a step to the recruitment process that will inevitably make hiring more efficient and less of a financial burden on both the jobseekers who travel to interviews and companies that use precious resources during the interview process. Taking the steps to become a local hub of new media recruitment will be a lot of work, but can allow you to bring in tons of revenue as well. Here are some possible steps to making this plan a reality.

It can be a hard thing to hear that the majority of you success can be mental, but it’s true. Having and maintaining a positive attitude is one of the keys to success, especially in sales, because it allows you to keep going, even when times are tough and the road ahead looks hard. In “Three Mindsets of Long-Run Sales People,” an article by Ted Haro found in the Huffington Post’s Business Section, the author discusses some keys to having and keeping a positive attitude.