Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Conflict is a reality of the workplace. Even in the most easygoing places of work, peers are going to have disagreements. Often, conflict is brought to management, as it should be for cases of harassment, discrimination or other serious accusations. However, many conflicts can be resolved between peers. Not only will cooperatively resolving differences in the workplace allow you to get back to work without institutional hassle, but might also foster a stronger bond of trust and respect between you and your co-workers. Below are five key rules to follow when trying to resolve conflict in your workplace.

“I believe it’s important to talk in terms of a prospect’s interests,” Tim told me. “So I’m always looking for ways to translate the principles of advertising into examples that my advertisers can easily understand. Sometimes it’s a matter of using something from an advertiser’s business or hobby. Just look at it from their perspective.

As the election approaches, it’s important to think of the ways you can get your newspaper involved as community members prepare to practice their civil duty by voting and electing their representatives. However, when planning events or advertising during election season, it’s important to do so without being polarizing or partisan. Create engaging, but not divisive, events that offer locals an opportunity to become more involved in the election process. This will demonstrate your newspaper’s commitment to political awareness without picking sides, as well as an investment in your community. Below are a few examples of possible events your newspaper could organize for election season.

Any sales person worth their salt is aware of the process of selling products to the demographic groups most likely to use them. You market baby products to new moms and fruit snacks to kids. However, there are certain events in everyone’s lives that foster a need for a product that they may need or want, but have not considered using before. This is a perfect time to target these consumers, as they have not established brand loyalty, nor will TOMA have any influence on their decisions. 

It’s time to re-think the questions that you ask during the interview process. If the goal is to find the best person fit for the job opening, then some of the stereotypical interview questions are no longer going to cut it, such as, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Some hypothetical questions are good, but they should be based in the reality of your industry. For instance, present interviewees with a possible conflict scenario and ask what their resolutions would be. Their answer will help you discover something tangible about them as a potential employee. Avoid asking the questions that always seem to be asked in interviews, but don’t really tell you anything about the applicant. Just because everyone else asks them, doesn’t mean you should. Instead, ask questions about their actual work experiences that are relevant to the position you are trying to fill. Below, we show the questions typically asked at interviews, and suggest what questions you should ask instead.

Many people have caught on to the fact that attractive people do well. This is not news. It may be evolution or it might be culture; the answer is unclear, but pretty people are definitely perceived to have an edge in our society. What is news, however, is that attractive people may have an easier time selling homes than unattractive people. This fact is both important for home sellers and real estate agents, and is also something that you, as an ad sales person, can use to show your agents how much they can benefit from investing in your paper. 

Tie-in arrangements help to alleviate marketing costs for promotional campaigns, and can also be extremely beneficial to your local advertisers. Providing your clients with this information is a way to strengthen your client relationships and improve your value as a knowledgeable sales rep. Tie-in arrangements involve partnerships, so not only are you offering a valuable business strategy to current clients, you may have the chance to work with new clients. An example of a beneficial tie-in arrangement would be a coffee shop and a bookstore working together to offer a discount on books with the purchase of coffee.

One of the sessions at the America East Conference spurred a lively discussion on the benefits of outsourcing or insourcing newspaper ad production. The panel included four presenters, three who advocated outsourcing ad production, and one who works for a company that does their ad production 100 percent in-house. The session, “Outsourcing Ads — The Pros, Cons and Requirements,” included speakers Toni Humphreys, the Director at Gannett Imaging and Ad Center, Lynn Banta, the CEO of Outsourcing USA, and Sherri Propis and Mike Johnson, Senior Director of Sales Operations and Customer Focus and Creative Services Manager, respectively, from The E.W. Scripps Company.

Summer is here, along with a great way to beef up your automotive vertical. Many families will be taking vacations this summer, and your automotive section is the perfect place to advertise vacation rentals that can take American families wherever they need to go. Go all out this time around and emphasize family road trips to the U.S.’ National Parks as a way for families to bond, as well as a chance to see these natural wonders. Whether there is a National Park in your area or not, RV and camper rentals are sure to make even those long drives to see Arches National Park or Old Faithful fun and comfortable. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on getting started with this summertime automotive venture, as well as highlights of some of the most popular National Parks in the United States. 

When looking for new ways to boost revenue for your newspaper, you may want to take a page from The Texas Tribune, an Austin-based digital newspaper. April Hinkle, the Chief Revenue Officer, said that the non-profit and non-partisan paper’s goal is to “educate Texans.” The paper strives to present informative and unbiased news on politics, government and policies to Texas citizens. Although their presence is strictly digital (, they make all of their content free-of-charge and open for redistribution by newspapers, radio and television stations. For instance, they publish some of their stories in The New York Times on Fridays and Sundays. As a non-profit, The Texas Tribune relies on funding from grants, donations and the like. However, as of August 2011, the paper began implementing an innovative revenue source that has proven to be very successful for them.

Branding is an opportunity to define, distinguish and market yourself. Your brand showcases your skills, knowledge and professionalism. One of the most effective ways to create a strong brand is to establish yourself as an expert in your field —you want your clients to see you as the most knowledgeable sales rep in the area; your brand is a way to do that. In the first half of this two-part series, we discussed how your professional brand is an intersection between your personal identity and your company’s brand. For the second half, we’ll be exploring how to create, implement and maintain your brand, as well as ways to achieve and retain brand loyalty and awareness.

It’s no secret that newspaper sales are down and the industry is hurting. In 2011, newspaper revenue decreased by 7.3 percent, which is equivalent to approximately $2 billion. Many attribute the decline of newspapers to its inability to adapt to the digital era. Although newspapers have put their products online, there isn’t a distinction between the print and online versions. While newspapers may claim that they have adapted (Look, it’s online! Look, we have a Facebook!), they’re not actually leveraging all of the capabilities and possibilities of new technologies by merely regurgitating a copy of the print newspaper online. Instead, newspapers need to emphasize the differences between print and online — and that should be reflected in their advertising as well.

There’s been a lot of talk about branding in the business world, and it’s clear that branding is an essential component of a successful and rewarding career. For the sales rep, it’s vital to recognize the differences between your professional branding and the newspaper’s company brand. As a sales rep, you should know that your professional brand is formed by the intersection of your personal identity and the company’s image (think of the relationship between these three areas of branding as a Venn diagram personal identity and company branding are the two circles that overlap to help create the professional brand). By developing a strong professional brand, you can connect better with your clients and sell your products more efficiently, all while reinforcing your newspaper’s company brand. A sales rep’s professional brand is a way to deliver a strong first impression and display traits and skills to clients. Understanding the ins-and-outs of branding will help you in recognizing your client’s needs and help you help them with their branding advertisements.

One of the best concepts Jason Taylor from the Chattanooga Times Free Press told the America East Conference group in his “60 Ideas in 60 Minutes” was, “Circ is sales too.” Although this is not a groundbreaking concept, it did make us stop in out tracks and think for a bit. Many aspects of the newspaper industry involve sales, not just the ad department, so why are we so dead set on being insular? Maybe one of the best ways to produce some positive change in our industry is to start working with other departments to hone the skills that we hold most valuable. 

Things are going well. Things aren’t spectacular, but hey, things aren’t terrible either. Although you probably feel that you are doing just fine, and any discrepancy in your department can’t be chalked up to you managerial skills, take a look at these “8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Managers” from to either further solidify yourself as an exemplary manager or maybe learn something new that can help turn your department around.

In order to be a successful newspaper sales representative, it’s incredibly important to be aware of your relationship with your customers. Are they happy? Are they dissatisfied? Why or why not? It’s essential to create a strong foundation to build from, and then continue to develop it as long as they’re doing business with your ad department. Even if a customer decides to part ways, it’s critical that you learn why, and then take that knowledge to strengthen relationships with future clients. One of the goals of your position is to create customer loyalty — to make a customer happy enough with your product and service that they will continue to do business with you. By placing importance on building and maintaining customer relationships and loyalty, you increase the likelihood of new leads and clients. On the other hand, if customers are left unattended, it will instead give your ad department a bad reputation that will follow you everywhere you go.

Social media is here to stay and it’s time to join the party. A strategic and mindful approach to social media can allow you to reach your audience in new, more personable ways, maintain the business you currently have and, ideally, branch out and make new connections. Creating a strategic social media plan may sound like a difficult task, but it’s not as hard as you may think.

Rejuvenate sales this month with technology, color and graphics. Technology is advancing at astronomical rates, and it’s your job to be “in the know” for your community’s marketers. While some advertisers believe print is best for their demographic, a large majority see technology as the forefront of their marketing campaigns. Online strategies are useful, but are quickly becoming dated. Mobile is the hot new trend, and the most profitable to date. It is the here and now, allowing users instant access to their news, information and deals. By embracing mobile technology, classifieds can bring local advertising back as the front-runner in your community.

Memorial Day falls on May 28 this year, and it’s important you and your ad department do your part to show gratitude for the sacrifices made by veterans in your area. Get together and collaborate with local businesses and organizations to make the most of this Memorial Day weekend. It’s the perfect opportunity to host events for veterans and their families. Be sure to put a great amount of consideration and thought into your ads for this holiday, because it’s a day to remember those who have served and honor their dedication to the country. Ensure that your ads are both appropriate and respectful. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

For a while now we have been urging you to lay down your arms against your editorial department, and begin cooperating on one united front to save your paper. This is a hard task to accomplish, as individual departments all work hard to meet their own unique demands, and often feel as though other departments don’t understand the pressures single departments face. This scenario, not unique to newspapers, is commonplace in almost all institutions and organizations. It is unique, however, when institutions become more cohesive in order to contribute to the vested interests of the institution as a whole. 

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.

As a newspaper sales rep, you must always look for new networking opportunities to widen your pool of contacts. Broaden the spectrum of people you could possibly call upon in the future by joining a local professional organization or group. Attending meetings or even working your way up the ranks is a great way to build relationships with possible advertisers that you may not have otherwise met. We’ve provided a few tips to make the most of participating in a professional club. 

In the fall of 2011, Hurricane Irene hit the Jersey Shore, resulting in chaos and destruction. Although devastating, this natural disaster became the catalyst for a brand new news source, the Twitter and Facebook feed, @JSHurricaneNews (JSHN). This news feed, originally used to document the developments in evacuation and safety efforts of the community, has turned into something much more than a source for avoiding isolated natural disasters. ­­JSHN has become a to-the-minute community network dedicated to the news that most impacts community members; from traffic jams to amber alerts, JSHN is there. Today, JSHN has 262 Twitter followers, over 27,000 Facebook likes and almost 3,000 people talking about it. In its bio, it describes itself as a “A bottom-up, two-way news outlet, JSHN is news for the people, by the people. JSHN covers weather emergencies, major breaking news, traffic incidents, and Silver/Amber Alerts. JSHN is also a community resource (events, missing dogs, etc.).”

When it comes to newspaper advertising, you may think the goal is to reach as many readers as possible, and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, either. Of course, you want to create an effective ad campaign that persuades readers to buy that particular product or service, and frankly, the more the merrier. However, there is an argument to be had for niche marketing. An ad campaign that focuses on a select group of people with a common bond may be, in the end, more effective than ads directed toward the masses.