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.

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. 

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.

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 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. 

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.

When it comes to recruitment advertising, there are many avenues your advertisers can take. Your clients could go with the most popular and common choice, the want ad. A want ad is your classic "help wanted" liner or display ad. This is beneficial to companies that have a job opening they need to fill and need to attract applicants. But there are other options as well, including branded and image ads, each with a distinct purpose. As a sales rep, it's important to understand these types of recruitment ads, the needs associated with them and the varying results they get. With this knowledge, you will be able to offer your advertisers the best recruitment advertising solutions to fit their needs. The three main categories of recruitment ads are explained below, along with advice on how to create and implement them. To demonstrate these differences, we have also created example ads for each of these three categories for a fictional hospital looking to advertise in the recruitment section.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.