Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

When we take on new technologies to help us market to our clients, we often look to tech journals or blogs to research how the technology should be leveraged. While it is always a good idea to research marketing and promotional methods before implementing them, perhaps tech blogs aren’t the only way to go. Of course, it is always good to have an understanding of how tech innovations can be used for business, but perhaps one of the best ways to determine if a new app or gadget is hot is to ask teenagers how they feel about it. For example, teens are apparently turning away from some of the social media giants; simply put, Facebook is going out of style. While Facebook has the potential to re-invigorate itself, it is likely that once the driving force behind the platform falls away, the ability to leverage it for business will as well.  


Last week, we discussed some ways to keep from becoming overwhelmed by work, and we’re always looking for more. With that in mind, we searched for the best apps out there to help you keep track of all your meetings, tasks and contacts. Smartphones are becoming almost ubiquitous with the average businessperson and they offer apps to simplify and organize your work life. No matter what your position is in the ad department, chances are you are constantly organizing and reprioritizing your daily, weekly and monthly tasks, meetings and leads. Wrapping your mind around everything that needs to get done can become a task in itself. However, we found eight apps that will help you manage your work and the stress it can incur. Read on below to discover the benefits and specs of these great apps that will help you keep your work life on track even when you’re on the go!


Smartphones are an increasing trend in our society. In 2012, Nielsen, a leading information and measurement company, conducted research that found that an astonishing 50.4 percent of U.S. citizens are using smartphones. This statistic is evidence that emerging technologies and innovations are making a strong presence in our society, and changing the ways we are conducting business and daily life. Smartphones are very convenient and useful in that they contain such features as the Internet and having applications, better known as “apps.” Apps are beneficial because they can simplify and increase efficiency in conducting tasks, such as researching, looking up information and many more. 

There is no denying that the passage of information through digital means is the way of the future. We adapt to new technologies on a daily basis it seems, and are constantly learning new ways to express ourselves. However, our digital lives, so far, are comparable to human life on this planet; we are newborns. In my lifetime alone, the technologies have changed drastically, as many of the dominating forces in technology and web development are now things of the past. 


When considering using social media for recruitment, LinkedIn is usually the first social network to come to mind, and you wouldn’t be incorrect to go there first. According to CBS Money Watch’s Suzanne Lucas, 97 percent of recruiters turn to LinkedIn when searching for eligible candidates. However, her article, “Twitter and Facebook Also Key Sites for Recruiters,” argues just what you might think it would. She reported that in 2012, 98 percent of recruiters used social media during the hiring process. Therefore, LinkedIn is certainly not the only social network at play when it comes to recruiters leveraging social media for hiring purposes. Don’t rule out Twitter and Facebook when trying to make your recruitment vertical the best it can be, whether that means offering this valuable information to your advertisers to improve their hiring process, or creating and sponsoring events to help local jobseekers find their next jobs. 

“What is the one thing we don’t leave home without?” asked Marki Lemons-Ryhal as she opened the “Raise Your Social Media Marketing to the Next Level” forum at the 2012 NAR® conference in Orlando, Fla. The answer, unsurprisingly, was our cell phones.

In a digital age, newspapers and their ad departments are always looking for the latest methods of promoting their content and reaching out to their readers and clients. Blogging has become a well-loved and very profitable avenue for many industries, and the newspaper industry can certainly leverage this revenue-generator as well.

The prevailing opinion of the entrepreneurial world is that you have to create something big to make a difference. Like Mark Zuckerburg or Steve Jobs, you must change the landscape of human and technological interaction for the foreseeable future to make it big. Although the prospect of making billions of dollars or being able to rock a black turtle neck is endlessly exciting, sometimes all it takes is small acts of innovation to be successful. 


The newspaper sales industry is certainly not exempt from the power of professional networking. When building a career in this industry, you must reach out of your comfort zone to make contacts with other professionals in your industry as well as existing and potential clients. Reverence and diligence will both maintain and build your professional network, equipping you to make your next move, or sale, as the case may be. With that in mind, we’re always looking at the latest in social networking in order to help you find new, quick and easy ways to stay connected with your network. Of course, sites like Facebook and Twitter fall into this category, but we were particularly excited to hear about Newsle.

The sales industry — especially newspaper sales and ad departments — needs to be on the edge of technology in order to stay in the game. Anyone who still denies the advertising capacity of Craigslist or the prevalence of mobile and social media will undoubtedly have difficulty staying relevant next to their tech-savvy competitors. With this and the New Year on the forefront of minds in the sales field, Geoffrey James wrote the Inc. article, “The Future of Sales Technology,” to address what lies ahead for sales technology, which will be focused on in a chapter of his upcoming book about the future of sales. We believe his assessments could be very valuable to you and your ad department, as you look for new ways to offer readers and advertisers the best product possible.

With increasing frequency, Google has been implementing changes to the search engine, which could affect your clients’ online marketing strategies. These changes, launched in late April 2012, are called Google Penguin and Google Panda. They modify the algorithm Google uses to produce the search results browsers get when using the search engine. The goal was to ensure that users are getting search results most relevant to their needs as opposed to websites that have stuffed their content full of SEO tricks to improve their rankings in search results even if they aren’t necessarily relevant. While this is a positive move for Internet browsers at large, it could mean that your clients’ websites might be out-of-date in terms of SEO. With that in mind, Mona Elessily took to The Huffington Post to offer some tricks to stay ahead of Google’s changes. The goal of Google's algorithm is to provide users with the most information possible. Since newspaper websites contain pages upon pages of news, and therefore information, they tend to get higher ranking in search results. However, that’s not necessarily the case for your clients, so make sure you pass this advice along! 

We at AtF have advocated for Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing app, as a great business-marketing tool. As of early November, the Facebook-owned app has broadened its horizons from mobile to the web, solidifying its place in your clients’ social media strategies. Previously, the app only had a landing page on the web for potential users to download the app to their cell phones, but now the app has expanded to include web-based profile pages. 

We have discussed at length the benefits of creating Pinterest accounts for both your newspaper and your clients, and there are countless examples of brands that have made a successful transition on to the image-sharing social network. However, until Wed., Nov. 14, commercial use of the website was technically prohibited. This is no longer the case, as Pinterest recently announced the introduction of business accounts on to the social network. 

More and more, consumers want to feel a deeper connection to their favorite brands. And more and more, straightforward one-dimensional ads are not cutting it. Of course, it’s crucial that both your newspaper and your clients get creative with the design and copy of both print and online ads, but if you’re not delving more deeply into multimedia marketing, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Specifically, it’s time to start considering a video marketing strategy if you and your advertisers aren’t already. Video is a proven way to more deeply resonate with consumers and it offers boundless opportunities to get innovative with your marketing — so don’t miss out! Make sure you are offering this advice to your clients that can use it, but you should also consider a video marketing strategy for the newspaper if one isn’t already in place.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

In terms of driving online traffic to your advertisers’ websites as well as your own newspaper’s website, social media presence and well-developed SEO play a huge role. Of course, traffic means more readers, more views per page and ideally, increased revenue. In the wake of new developments in technology, newsletters may seem like old news, but don’t let them get lost in the mix. Newsletters are still a proven way to drive traffic to websites, although they don’t garner the same results as search engines and SEO. However, according to a survey conducted by Ecommmerce Quarterly, newsletters do surpass search engines and social media when it comes to conversion rates by website traffic as well as “Add to Cart” rates. This means that there is a great likelihood that newsletters drive your readers not only to your site, but if you are selling products or services on that site, they are more likely to make those purchases as a result of subscribing to your newsletter. Newsletters are often seen as having low ROI, because of the time spent creating content and design, but the boost they offer to your advertisers’ website traffic is worth it. Plus if they follow some quick steps to monetize their newsletters, they might be more than what your advertisers originally thought — so let them know!

Although talks about social media and QR codes are still a buzz with new ways to harness their capabilities into increased revenue, there is a new technological innovation that can help you bring more information to the fingertips of clients and consumers in your area. Augmented reality, a way to make two-dimensional ads come to life on your smart device, is full of possibilities for your newspaper.The way augmented reality works is through the recognition of an image or code on a two-dimensional advertisement that then opens up a three dimensional or dynamic follow-up of your tablet or smartphone. This enables consumers to see 360-degree views of anything, as long as the user has the appropriate application installed on their smart device. 

In an article for The Huffington Post, Alex Palombo discussed the role social media and mobile ads are playing in the 2012 election for both campaigns. In the article, “Twitter, Facebook and Mobile Ads: Why They Matter,” Palombo discusses how the “viral-ness” and interactivity offered in both social and mobile make them very conducive to the messages of the political candidates. With a growing audience of smartphone users, these ads have actually proven to be as, if not more, successful than traditional advertising in receiving response actions from consumers. Therefore, Palombo’s argument transcends this year’s political campaigns and is relevant for your ad department and advertisers as well. It’s not a myth: Your ads need to be appropriately translated for both mobile and social media. And it can’t be a literal translation from print to the web, because these mediums are very different and need to be treated as such. 

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.