Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

In a Brainworks webinar on Aug. 21, 2012, Janet DeGeorge brought legal ads to the forefront of the newspaper advertising conversation. We will take a look at DeGeorge’s thoughts and advice for legal advertising and explore the best practices and ways to generate revenue in your department. DeGeorge discussed a few scenarios your department may currently be facing when it comes to legal advertising. She suggested that after several years of strong, consistent legal revenue, it is now decreasing and you don’t know why or how to prevent it. She suggested that one reason legal revenue is on a decline is because you might just not know everything you need to know about legal advertising, the process and current state laws. She took all of these scenarios and then broke down everything you do need to know in order to make the most out of your legal ads. Read on to learn everything DeGeorge had to say during her webinar, “Increasing Legal Revenue.”

The Zeitgeist, a movement whose name has been re-appropriated to discuss issues of cultural importance and contemporary sensibilities, has become a technological concept. With the personalized news aggregation application Zite, available on most tablets and smartphones, users can create their own personalized magazine that shows articles about the topics they care about most. With continual use, Zite also learns user preferences, making the presented information truly customized to the sensibilities of the reader. 

When looking to boost revenue, readership and advertising in your newspaper, special interest and niche events may just be the answer! The 2012 WCAA Conference will be setting aside time to discuss the best ways to create profitable and successful events for your community. So, to find out more, we discussed special interest and niche event marketing with the session’s presenter, Leslie Aubé Nagy. Throughout her 18-year career with the Clovis News Journal (CNJ) in Clovis, N.M., Nagy has worked in a variety capacities, including bookkeeping, retail, niche product sales, and of course, classifieds. This experience has given her a greater understanding of the many shapes and forms of newspaper sales. For the last 10 years, Nagy has enjoyed creating beloved special and niche events in Clovis, including the Taste of Home, the Holiday Bazaar arts and crafts fair in the winter and another arts and crafts fair in the spring. She discussed her love for creating and marketing these special events and the connections she builds with local businesses while organizing them.

Following the excitement of Halloween, November marks the transition from fall to winter, not to mention the beginning of the holiday season. Newspaper ad departments are certainly not strangers to planning Thanksgiving and Black Friday-themed advertising, and we are not suggesting that you stray from these holidays in your advertising. However, we have set aside a few other holidays that you may not have considered before, but offer just as many opportunities to generate revenue in your department!

Everybody in the advertising industry is looking for the next big thing to get their clients noticed. Attracting new customers while keeping the old is the name of the game, and those who come up with the cleverest innovations will likely do the best. While print advertising may still be a good investment, if everyone else is searching for new ways to get their message out there, you should too. Don’t limit yourself to two-dimensional advertising and expand into different ways of seeing your and your clients’ messages integrated into the world. 

We at Above the Fold are big proponents of social media and the great things it can do for your newspaper and classifieds. As a result, we have offered many tips and tricks for building your business strategy. Much of this has to do with who should manage your social media, what they should post and how often. However, there is more to social media than content. Steve Nichols said the widespread focus on content is too narrow a view of social media. So instead, he offers his more holistic approach that he calls “The Three C’s” in an article for The Huffington Post called, “Why Most Companies Fail at Social Media – Understanding the Three C’s”. Nichols explained that “The Three C’s” not only include content, but also context and conditions. Below, we have synthesized the steps your ad department needs to take in order to implement Nichols’ approach to social media.

With high unemployment, jobseekers look to your newspaper’s recruitment section to meet all of their needs. At this year’s WCAA Conference, we will offer attendees all of the best practices in recruitment. We caught up with Chelle Bize, who will be heading the conversation on the second day of the conference. She has a distinguished career in recruitment advertising in several markets, including Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. In some of those, she even had to start a recruitment division from the ground-up. Bize has been working at  the Las Vegas Review Journal for eight years, focusing on national recruitment, digital and niche products. Recently, she even got her Human Resource Certification to better understand the workload of professionals in that aspect of recruitment, saying, “If you walk the walk, you can sell better and train others better.”

In order to keep your classifieds up-to-date, competitive and efficient, it is crucial to ensure that your newspaper is equipped with the right technology and software so you can offer the best advertising solutions possible to both your advertisers and consumers. News & Record Advertising in Greensboro, N.C. seems to have accomplished just that by implementing EZAdsPro’s Connect and Social components to their automotive offerings. Now, News & Record Advertising’s automotive magazine, Triad Cars Weekly, boasts its ability to reach a wider audience, boost brand awareness and increase revenue for their advertisers.


For this issue’s paper spotlight, and in addition to our classified retrospective, we are examining the affect adding a pay-wall can have on your subscription revenue. Although we wont be examining a specific paper to discuss their innovative ideas, we will be taking a critical look at a common move many newspapers are making that intend to replace the lost revenue from adding a full and free version of the paper online. In the past, people would have had to pay for a single issue or monthly subscription to take advantage of your newspaper’s content, however, with information being widely available, people are using their pennies elsewhere and getting their news for free. 

This October, your ad department will undoubtedly offer some spooky, Halloween-themed advertising. While Halloween events, deals and discounts are a surefire way to boost revenue, why not think outside of the box this year? In addition to your traditional Halloween advertising, we have gathered a couple of October holidays that could also provide some new revenue opportunities for you ad department and spur some lively events for your community.

If you are going to offer comprehensive and reputable advertising solutions to your advertisers, it’s necessary to go above and beyond printing their ads. You should be a resource through and through by offering tips, strategies and data to back up all of their advertising decisions. Case in point: search engine optimization (SEO). For your advertisers to really start seeing results and response from customers, they not only have to advertise (in your paper!), they also need to have an active, well-designed website with great online “searchability” — also known as SEO. Yes, this little piece of jargon gets thrown around a lot, but it carries a lot of weight. SEO refers to the search engine results for a website, depending on the effectiveness of its headlines, content and the keywords used. To make sure your advertisers’ websites have the impact they want and need in order to boost revenue, they need to format them in a way that will heighten its chance of showing up in popular search engines.

Facebook, the eight-year-old social network that has made its creators some of the youngest billionaires in the world, reportedly will be opening a job board. According to The Wall Street Journal’s, in early July, a source linked to the social network said that Facebook hopes to launch the job board later this summer.

Most of the businesses in your town are locally owned and operated "Mom and Pop" establishments. That means that most of the advertisers — and and prospective advertisers — in your market are small businesses. 

In the wake of a struggling economy, and consequently, a hurting housing market, there has been an influx of renters. Chances are there has been an increase of landlords renting out single properties in your area. Moreover, if you live in a college town, chances are there’s a significant number of college students looking to rent in your area. Make certain your real estate section is adapting in order to meet these needs by reaching out to these small-time landlords to advertise in your paper. Since these landlords may not own multiple properties or have years of experience in renting, you can demonstrate your value as an advertising resource by making sure they’re fully informed in the rules and regulations of renting out properties. We have gathered some of the renting knowledge your advertisers will need, so you will be ready to meet their needs.

It’s the harvest season. The leaves are beginning to change color and farmers are beginning to reap the benefits of their bountiful harvests. Embrace the harvest theme this month and you’ll reap the benefits as well. Food, feasts and farmers markets all come to mind this month as fresh vegetables abound. Since this is a month for food, remember to embrace the foodie in your community and offer cooking schools and events. It’s also National Farm Safety and Health Month, so draw on that and honor the agricultural businesses that are the cornerstone of your community. Consider highlighting a special section in your automotive vertical that specifically features farm equipment. 

The most successful sales reps tend to be great talkers. Therefore, in order to close the deal you need to have great interpersonal, social and — perhaps most importantly — communication skills.  However, there are a lot of things that can get in the way of communicating effectively, whether it’s with a co-worker, a manager or a client. For instance, communicating too hastily and not truly listening are common pitfalls. Below, we offer some quick advice to carry with you, ensuring you are communicating to the best of your ability.

Facebook has become a crucial aspect of marketing for all kinds of businesses across the spectrum, and real estate is no exception. However, it’s important to approach Facebook and other social media tools with an organized strategy, rather than winging it. While personal Facebook profiles are up to your discretion, when using it for business purposes there are both legal and social rules that you should know, understand and abide by. We want to share some do’s and don’ts for using Facebook to promote real estate listings. By having this knowledge at your disposal, you will be able to offer your real estate clients the best advertising solutions possible, and they will see your newspaper as a valuable advertising resource.

A newspaper is theoretically an unbiased news source for the local community. Of course, there are biased news outlets, but all in all, community papers should report the news in all of its unfettered and unbiased glory. Most papers stay away from activism, as it alienates readers and is a slippery slope that can hurt revenue.  For example, a newspaper in North Dakota is taking some heat for pulling a paid marriage announcement from their Weddings section. The Fargo Forum recently removed the marriage announcement of Allison Johnson and Kelsey Smith citing that they do not allow announcements for same-sex couples. While same-sex marriage is not recognized is North Dakota, the couple wanted to publicize their union for family and friends. 

Although fall is prime time for hiring — schools need teachers and retail stores are gearing up for the holiday season — sometimes your recruitment section just won’t make the cut. While there are many different solutions for beefing up this section of your classifieds, one you may not have tried is marketing your own openings. Just because you won’t necessarily gain immediate revenue from printing these positions, there are multiple reasons why you can gain much more than you thought from this recruitment section move. 

The next time you’re driving down the street, take a look around. Have you noticed an increase in two-wheeled vehicles on the road? Your eyes are not deceiving you. It seems more and more people are turning to bikes and mopeds to get from point A to point B. Whether it’s the price of gas, the difficult search for parking in crowded metro areas or people who want to “green” up their lifestyle — there’s no denying the appeal of bikes and mopeds as a suitable substitute for pricey gas guzzlers. Why not reflect that in your transportation section? It’s a good way to meet the needs of consumers in your area and either break up the monotony of cars or fill out the section if there’s still open space. Below, we offer some ideas to get your ad department started. 

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Sara Arnell, the CEO of Arnell Group, discussed her new concept for brands looking to change their image and marketing campaigns. She calls it “freshing,” a play on the notion of refreshing a company’s brand image. Arnell explained that, typically, companies spend years and a great deal of money to change their public image, with new ad campaigns, logos and products. In contrast, freshing is the practice of changing up a brand’s image more frequently on a smaller scale. She argues this is a more foolproof marketing solution at a time when advertising staffs across the country have to trim their budgets and make it work with fewer resources at their disposal. This is valuable information for your sales reps to pass on to the newspaper’s advertisers, who probably are already working with smaller budgets than the major corporations Arnell works with. Ensure your advertisers are constantly innovating their image and offering small changes for their customers. Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket — a large-scale, expensive ad campaign, which customers may not like — they can make small incremental changes. This way, marketing teams can monitor customers’ reactions to these changes, and if they’re not working, it’s easier to return to the drawing board than if they had spent precious time and money on one campaign that failed.

Oftentimes, your advertisers need a helping hand and some direction when it comes to planning their marketing. Go above and beyond simply running ads in the newspaper; offer advice, metrics and creative direction that prove to your advertisers that you are more than an advertising platform. Going the extra mile in your customer service will surely keep your clients happy and loyal and demonstrate that your paper is an invaluable advertising resource. 

Some years ago, I met with a foreign car dealer to learn about his advertising. In the showroom, there was a beautiful red sports car — a new model that had just arrived that week. When I commented on the car, the dealer said, “Yeah, and we didn’t even find a Black Widow spider in this one.”

Since the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, something has been happening across the Arab world that the media has deemed the “Arab Spring.” Much can be learned from the discontent that boiled over and mobilized thousands of people across these countries, taking the form of protests that sparked revolutions and even the overthrow of entire governments. It began in Tunisia in December 2010 and has since had a ripple effect on neighboring countries, including Libya, Egypt and Syria, but that’s only a few of the almost 20 countries that have held what ranges from small protests to entire governmental overhauls. Perhaps most interestingly is the use of social media during The Arab Spring as a catalyst and mobilization tool for many of these revolutions. These revolutionary uses of social networks can certainly teach your ad department about implementing a successful social media strategy.