Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

It may seem like a lofty feat to navigate the growing world of social media, especially when there seems to be a new network going viral every day. However, a few appear to have staying power, and your ad department should take notice and incorporate them into your marketing and revenue strategies. We’ve discussed Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest before, so now it’s time to talk about Instagram. Newspapers may more readily see the necessity in incorporating active and present Facebook and Twitter accounts into their day-to-day work schedule, while remaining more hesitant about this photo-sharing mobile app. Yes, Instagram is growing in rapid popularity since its inception in 2010, opening registration to Android users and not to mention the recent $1 billion buyout from Facebook. But there has also been substantial proof of other brands having success with establishing a presence on the app that may just change your mind. Below we break down the what, how and why of Instagram, so you will be prepared if you decide to take the plunge into this social network.

Newspaper ad departments know that conversational skills and social prowess are crucial to closing a sale. Positive social interactions are the foundation of any company, as they build good rapport between sales reps and clients, relationships between co-workers, as well as positive manager-employee relationships. Behind any good working relationship is an open flow of communication. If clients, employees and managers feel comfortable enough to air their grievances or discuss when things are going well, companies will begin to see it reflected in their public image. Although you may know the importance of social interactions, the next step is managing the conversations between staff and clients and within the office as well in order to play a more involved role in your brand image. Below we break down the communication between these three relationships and how you should be managing and maintaining them.

It’s no secret that conferences and events not only allow the people in our industry to get together and reconnect, they also help us educate each other on new ideas and developments occurring at local and corporate papers. While conferences are great for many reasons, sometimes departments tighten purse strings and bottom-line budgets, causing attendance to be lack luster. In the most recent issue of Successful Meetings, a publication devoted entirely to the coordination and success of events, an article called “The Battle for Attendees: Four strategies to set your event apart from the competition,” discusses how to bolster attendance and amp up the excitement. 

On June 19, we attended an informative webinar hosted by Brainworks on how to revitalize your classified ads. Janet DeGeorge, the President of Classified Executive Training and Consulting, made the presentation, entitled “Getting Back Your Classifieds: Creating new revenues with print and online combos.” With over 20 years in the industry, DeGeorge is well versed in classifieds and revenue generation. She broke down six qualities that would make the most successful classifieds possible, including great design, an abundance of ads, revenue generation, results for your advertisers, accessible to readers and great customer service. DeGeorge pointed out that this seems like a large feat for most ad departments, but that it’s attainable if you commit to making significant changes within your department by taking her advice and running with it. 

This article may seem like a divergence from our usual advice, but hear me out. Your day is stressful and hectic, and I’m willing to bet that you aren’t getting the proper nutrition to help your brain work at full capacity. Often, people with a lot on their figurative plate don’t take the time to put enough of the right foods on their literal plate. Below are some brain-friendly foods to help give your mind the boost it needs to power through your day. 

As we gear up for another WCAA conference, we checked in with Diane Bobiak, last year’s recipient of the Charles Horn award, to hear her thoughts on receiving the award and the newspaper industry.

School’s out, and kids everywhere are thanking their lucky stars that they won’t have homework for another couple of months. While school-aged kids may not see the value in doing their homework, you most certainly understand that doing the necessary research and organization can help you make that clutch sale. Now is the time to do a little extra work and show your clients not only how much they mean to you, but also how much you can help them.

It’s no secret that job boards are among the top resources available for both recruiters and job seekers. And while the overwhelming prevalence of sites that are available for recruitment purposes is great, the need for a local asset is invaluable to your community. Currently, national sites, and even some of your recruitment partners, are scooping up all the available revenue potential in your local area. If you’re contracted to a partner site, like Careerbuilder or Monster, you must abide by certain guidelines established between your advertising department and the national site; however, it’s unnecessary to allow them to take all of your revenue potential just because they’re available on your website. I’m not, by any means, suggesting you disregard your set guidelines, but review them carefully, and find a way to profit by supplementing the national recruiter with an exclusive local job board.

On June 14, campaign strategist David Axelrod held a Twitter town hall on the @BarackObama Twitter page following the President’s economic speech in Ohio. This is certainly not the first attempt at a Twitter town hall Q&A forum, but Mashable made the argument that it was the best effort to date. Although President Obama’s Twitter page is far from the average account (it has over 6.5 million followers), there are still lessons that can be learned from this social media event. As a newspaper ad department, it’s important to establish a strong Twitter presence for your newspaper, but you can also relay this advice to your advertisers. Occasional Q&A sessions are a great way to do this. Get the conversation rolling with your followers by answering any questions they may have about your paper, or in your client’s case, questions about their brand. Below we have expanded on five of these lessons that you could take with you when doing Q&A sessions on Twitter.

Sale reps know that holidays and themed celebrations are the perfect marketing tools for their advertisers. In fact, there are holidays dedicated solely to shoppSale reps know that holidays and themed celebrations are the perfect marketing tools for their advertisers. In fact, there are holidays dedicated solely to shopping. For instance, Christmas shopping essentially jump-starts the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday — and stores design massive advertising campaigns to make the most of these consumer mega holidays. Teen Vogue is taking note of the success of these other consumer holidays in order to create a new one: Back-to-School Saturday. 

Randy Lopez, the Director of Account Services at Johnson Gray Advertising, will be joining us at the WCAA Conference in Las Vegas as one of our session presenters. He will be leading the discussion, “Social Mobility: Why you and your clients need to play in the social and mobile products.”

You may be getting sick of hearing about social media. Frankly, if you are, it’s understandable; social media has been in the news a lot lately, and people promoting the wonders of it have probably talked off all of your individual and collective ears. Of course, social media is a huge field, and can be leveraged in many ways to help both your and your clients’ brands. Well, a country — yes, and entire country — has decided to use social media to help boost their tourism. Sweden is passing off their Twitter account to a different citizen each week, to allow said citizen to say whatever it is that they want. 

As summer is coming to a close, parents and children are preparing to head back to school. Which means, new clothes, new books, school supplies and more. The back-to-school season is a lucrative time of year for retailers, and advertisers shouldn’t be difficult to come by. Though many of the traditional ads fall into the retail realm, embrace this theme and apply it to the verticals. For instance, college kids are going back to school as well — and what better way to celebrate than a new car to get them from their dorms to classes. In real estate, last-minute rentals are important. Beef up the recruitment section with an afterschool-job section or a job fair for incoming college students.

It’s a common perception that all sales reps are extroverts. In order to sell newspaper ads, you have to be talkative and personable. However, this is a misconception that, if assumed, will do you a disservice as a manager. Although your employees may appear to be extroverts, chances are there are some introverts-at-heart on your staff who turn it on for the job. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to effectively manage different personality types, which is exactly what Butch Ward and Jill Geisler discussed on a recent live chat hosted by Poynter.org. 

So this one time… I’m only kidding, I don’t have a story for you. However, I am here to tell you that a story, especially one about your service, product or capabilities, can help you make a sale. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, a story can help build a relationship of trust between two people. Secondly, a good story can help eliminate the selling aspect of a sales relationship and gives the product or service an added value that statistics and discounts can’t provide. 

As you no doubt already know, Facebook went IPO recently, making it possible for the public to buy stock in the company. It appears to have been a bad idea; Facebook’s stocks are tanking and there have been multiple lawsuits brought against the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Many believe that Facebook will fail, and I’m sure just as many people hope it does. However, the question does remain: Will the success or failure of Facebook merely be the result of financial difficulty, or will its fate be determined by much more — an indication that we no longer need it?

It’s no secret that social media is changing the way companies brand themselves and how consumers receive and respond to those brands. In the past 10 years, social networks, including, but not limited to, Facebook and Twitter, have put marketing through a complete metamorphosis. While companies used to only be able to present themselves and their products through a few, select vessels (i.e., newspapers, television and radio), now they have the expansive and never-ending Internet to deal with. Now everyone with an Internet browser has a voice — anyone can post a blog or comment either shouting their praises or screaming their dissatisfaction with a brand. These conversations are happening so fast that it may seem a bit daunting to keep up, but it’s necessary that companies monitor their online image and create their advertising based upon it.

While browsing the vast and never ending Internet to uncover interesting and juicy tidbits useful to Above the Fold readers, I came across and article called “Our Smartphones, Ourselves.” This article, written by Erika Morphy, a Forbes.com contributor discussed how out color choices when selecting smartphones is illustrative of our personality traits. Not only are 80% of these choices subconscious, but also they can help to describe much more that just behaviors. Apparently, users of different brands of phones smell differently too. Color me surprised, and also informed. Although, you, in the newspaper ad industry, cannot capitalize on the sale of smartphones, you can use this information to help your clients customize and tailor their ads to reflect consumer color choices and personality traits. 

The May 8, 2012 Advertising Research Foundation webinar, “Digital Influence on Purchase Decisions,” discussed three characteristics of modern consumers. The speakers — Todd Powers, Stacy Graiko, Jasper Snyder, Manila Austen and Dorothy Advincula — determined these three qualities are that the buyer is always on, buyers are emotional and the buyer is everywhere. In a previous article, we expanded on the notion of an emotional buyer, and below, we will discuss how and why the buyer is always on.

Let’s take a look at four important numbers in advertising.

One: The best ads make one point. The point can be made in several different ways, but the bottom line is that an ad should make only one point.

Director Wes Anderson is coming out with a new movie called “Moonrise Kingdom.” For those not familiar with Anderson or his movies, he has both directed and written, or co-written, movies such as “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” While each of these movies present a unique perspective and story, they all share a vision and idiosyncratic style specific to Anderson. When you sit down to watch one of his movies (which I recommend for those who have not!), you know it is an Anderson film almost instantly. Now, this may seem like a far reach for sales reps working in newspaper ad departments, but Anderson’s movies can teach us some helpful lessons when it comes to constructing and establishing a defined and recognizable brand.

On May 8, 2012, we listened to a webcast from The Advertising Research Foundation (The ARF). This webcast, titled “Digital Influence on Purchase Decisions,” examined the ways consumers go through the buying process, and how digital innovations can accommodate and influence this process. The ARF discussed three major states that play into the consumer’s purchasing process: the consumer is always on, the consumer is emotional and the consumer is everywhere. While digital implementation can accommodate these states, it can also improve the buying process for consumers by taking into account things that they want and also things they may not know they want. 

It’s no secret that newspaper classified sales have taken huge hits since the creation and popularization of Craigslist, but it’s time to reclaim your territory! One-up Craigslist and learn to beat them at their own game. For years the mentality at conferences, and even here, has been “if you can’t beat ‘em, join em,” advising you to stop looking at them as a competitor and start using them to upsell your services to advertisers. But, I’m daring you to challenge that. While uploading advertising to Craigslist for your clients may bring in some of the lost revenue, it does nothing to rebuild the confidence in your product for your readers or advertisers, and it takes a large chunk of time per listing. I think it’s time classified advertising defies the previously perceived inevitable and brings large amounts of listings back to the newspaper.

People are more connected than ever. Phrases like “Facebook me” or “Tweet me” are now common parts of everyday language. This shift to technological communication scares newspapers, and rightfully so. If readers are now communicating and consuming their news by way of these websites, then it seems like a reasonable deduction that newspapers will suffer as a result. However, in a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, researchers found that there is still a large percentage of adults who not only read local news sources, but are also very invested in that news. Although you should be aware of the increasing success and popularity of social networks, don’t sell your newspaper short. Instead, focus on what many readers want: content and ads oriented toward their local community.