Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Using social media as a way to host scavenger hunts is gaining popularity, especially with the use of Foursquare. Best when coupled with your clients’ other social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, a scavenger hunt is a fun and innovative way to prepare for garage sale season and get consumers to visit multiple sales.

Dealerships tend to be part of the late majority in adopting new social media trends. Because the automotive industry is a “need” industry (people can only keep their current vehicles for so long before needing a replacement or additional vehicles), using social media to engage with customers is an extremely viable marketing plan for dealerships. They have mostly relied on direct advertising to convey their messages, but the nature of social media is a little bit different — it focuses on communication and engagement, and these two concepts can make or break social media marketing. By teaching and supporting your clients on what social media is really all about, you can help them avoid the pitfalls of social media that occur when there is no definitive strategy, which results in not properly engaging the audience and often unintentionally harassing instead of informing consumers.

Facebook is an obvious asset for marketers when working to advertise products and services throughout your community. The instant connectivity to a local demographic that is available through the newsfeed and convenience of posting and sharing only scrapes the surface of the benefits Facebook has for your department. Beyond having the ability to upsell services to advertisers that may be less technically savvy or may simply not have time to deal with general upkeep of their social site, your sales reps can use Facebook to create or enhance working relationships with local marketers and community members to strengthen their reputation and increase their sales potential.

If we think about what globalization means, especially in the context of the information age, one must come to some consensus that the sharing of information has become much more democratic with a combination of anonymity and intimacy. People can agree, disagree, argue, commiserate and bond from multiple places on the planet all at the same time. Information is instantaneous, and people — younger generations in particular — rely much more on information they receive on the Internet, than they do their peers, or even their parents. Although this can be bad news for the newspaper industry, because it has the possibility of leaving the news establishment in the dust, you have the ability to wield the power of the Internet to develop new strategies that will allow you to reinvent the functions and reach of the paper to include newly accepted ways of receiving information and selling advertising space.

The time has come for newspapers to start thinking of new revenue sources that extend beyond the scope of traditional marketing and sales strategies. The Internet is formidable competitor, and is uniting the public with the ability to be in constant and ever-changing contact with each other.  Although the newspaper a symbol of our personal and community histories, it, as an industry, will fall if the digital era is met with a staunch opposition to take risks. This is not to say that the structure of the newspaper cannot remain the same, or that the paper can no longer be the community’s source for local news. But the newspaper must be as adaptable as any other surviving industry to remain as such. 

Press releases and newspapers have long had a relationship with each other, but the process of getting a press release in the paper was — and still can be — arduous, often times producing little to no results. Recently, a new product has come out of Creative Circle Media Consulting that, when newspapers partner with it, not only makes it easier to submit and see press releases for the paper and clients alike, but also makes your clients’ events or achievements all the more visible. The idea for this product, called PressReleaseQ, came from Bill Ostendorf. Ostendorf, a veteran of newspapers, noticed the enormous amount of press releases coming into the newsroom, and the unorganized way they were handled. 

As the social medium has added a plethora of platforms for advertisers and consumers alike, the necessity to constantly communicate has also risen. Companies that use social media as a primary source of connecting with their consumers have found that while the need to respond in real time across multiple medias may feel time consuming, the benefits of using the technology far outweigh the hassle of finding the time to do it. But, some of your clients have yet to figure that out, and are opting to avoid the social media arena. Help them out by making them more social. Offer an upsell to capitalize on the socialization of your advertisers, and to help consumers connect with local businesses with the click of a (Like) button.

Foursquare is a location-based social media network that uses smartphones to check-in using GPS coordinates. It allows consumers to share insider info for their favorite hangouts. With the rise in popularity, Foursquare has begun to shift into the world of real estate. Foursquare can help Realtors® establish a brand presence, connecting them to potential buyers and the community. Setting up a Foursquare account and using the ideas listed below will offer your clients a well-rounded, comprehensive social media presence.

Everyone loves free stuff, and everyone loves to snag a deal. The use of coupons and deals as incentives in businesses is not a novel idea, but incorporating these incentives into clients’ social media platforms is. As social media impacts the way we do business more and more, it’s imperative to integrate social media into your clients’ marketing strategies. One way to do that is offering deals on Facebook. Since the Facebook Fan Page has already proven to be a great “landing site” for businesses, take it one step further by using Apps to create coupons for these Pages.

Tumblr, an up-and-coming social media network, has made its mark on the business world. There are a couple of industries that have really taken a liking to Tumblr, like fashion, art and photography — but recently, media companies and news companies have shifted into using Tumblr. Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and Huffington Post use Tumblr as a teaser microsite to shift traffic to their main websites. Among other benefits, this is the easiest use of Tumblr. Tumblr can be a powerful tool for newspapers to sell to local advertisers to help create microsites or “landing pages” for those who either dislike or don’t even have their own websites. Tumblr can be used to post content relevant to a company’s merchandise or be used to showcase coupons, deals or other beneficial content for your customer base.

There’s this nifty gadget that Facebook offers for Page administrators called Facebook Insights. Best of all, it is free to use. It’s a strong analytics tool that allows Page administrators to track demographics and trends within the Page. The Page has to have at least 30 fans in order for Facebook Insights to work. Whether you’re administering your clients’ Pages or the paper’s, this tool allows you to offer in-depth analytics for any Facebook marketing campaign.

Ex-Monster employees Tom Daly (C.E.O.) and Keith Douglas (Executive VP of Sales) founded AppVault in 2001. They both worked at Monster during the initial phases and helped develop it into what it is today. AppVault was created with a focus on helping traditional media print companies find new opportunities for revenue growth in previously unidentified areas. Relying on over 30 years of experience in all forms of media, its expertise and passion is building multi-platform solutions that extend the advertising offerings of their partners — ranging from newspapers and magazine partners to universities — and add new streams of income to their operations.

On October 10, 2011, Freedom Communications announced their partnership with Gabriels Technology Solutions and unveiled a new real estate iPhone app, which they plan to release across their portfolio of 27 daily newspaper markets. When I met Dave Hiebeler, Freedom’s National Real Estate Manager, at the 2011 Western Classified Advertising Association conference in San Diego, Calif., he excitedly pulled me aside to show off the new app that had just launched. We quickly set up a time when we could talk further.

Bridal shows and expos are an increasingly popular post-holiday season trend. With love in the air, and new rings on the fingers, January is becoming one of the most popular months for sponsors to host the shows. Whether you newspaper is garnering the sponsors to host the event, or you’re simply working with advertisers to create an expo worth remembering, the newspaper classified advertising department can aide in the development of unique marketing strategies that give vendors an edge above their competition.

In one of the most talked about sessions, Bob Birkentall, Real Estate Director for GateHouse Media, Inc., offered a new approach to Real Estate advertising that showcased ways to update this struggling vertical. In his presentation “Real Estate—Multimedia Packages and Partnerships That Work,” he opened with the three goals and initiatives that GateHouse is taking to embrace digital in 2012.

Video content is everywhere and interactivity is seemingly the new foreground for advertising. Now, auto marketers are beginning to clearly see the benefits of including the new media facet through a traditional marketplace — your newspaper. As the trusted source in advertising, incorporating video into your websites and mobile platforms allows you to increase revenue while appealing to viewers and marketers alike.

Couponing websites have become one of this year’s hottest trends. And, with the economy still stalling, the business of making deals is only looking to expand. DealChicken is one of the many social commerce sites available to help your company’s online couponing commission. However, the standout aspect of this site is not only the deals, but the localization of them too. DealChicken is ran and operated by the Gannett Newspaper Group and is published by the local Gannett newspaper or local television station. Unlike other social commerce sites, DealChicken brings valuable deals within reach to areas that are untouched by larger market competitors, benefitting your readers at a hyperlocal level.

Day one of the 61 Annual WCAA Conference concluded with Getting Social, a panel of industry experts sharing their strategies for monetizing social media. First and foremost, get on Facebook. There was unanimous agreement among the panelist and audience members that every sales rep should have a Facebook presence that is professional. Many encouraged having a separate Facebook account for strictly business purposes, even though this goes against Facebook regulations. The panel went on to showcase how to use social media as a sales tool as well as how advertisers should be using it and how newspapers can monetize it.

Commencing the recruitment breakout sessions, Joe Shaker Jr., Vice President of Shaker Recruitment Consultants, explained the ins and outs of virtual career fairs. Shaker Jr. gave audience members some hard and fast rules for holding their own virtual event.

The automotive advertising vertical has always been one of newspaper’s strongest revenue generating categories. But with today’s competitive landscape, automotive profits are dwindling and this once robust assemblage is becoming increasingly volatile. In one of the most intriguing break out sessions of the week, Bryan Gilbert explained tested methods to regain your market share and increase your newspaper’s automotive revenue.

At last spring’s Blinder/SNA Revenue Leadership Summit, Morris Newspapers’ former Vice President of Digital Sales Robert Granfeldt exclaimed: if you’re interested in offering a coupon or deals program, talk to Jodi! So that’s exactly what I did. I tracked down Jodi Bell immediately after her presentation on The Augusta Chronicle’s sales department and compensation structure and set up an appointment to talk. 

QR Codes are continuing to gain momentum. According to Deliver Magazine’s article “Codename: QR,” ScanLife, a New York- based research company, reported a 700-percent increase in QR code scans in 2010. Experts forecast that there will be a mobile barcode explosion in 2011. With the proliferation of QR codes, it has become necessary to have a mobile- optimized website. While they can be used to transmit a variety of variety of information, they are most commonly used for sending someone to a web page. In fact, this year’s SNA, SNPA, and Inland’s Mega Conference dedicated a presentation to optimizing your mobile website. In his speech “Ten Essential Steps to Launching Your Mobile Site,” executive chairman and co-founder of Verve Wireless, Art Howe outlined the steps to ensuring a good mobile presence.

According to the Borrell Associates, mobile couponing is “the fastest growing and most obvious mobile marketing application.” Mobile coupon spending is growing at an average cumulative rate of nearly 78 percent. So, how can you take advantage of this growing trend? The first step is to understand what mobile couponing is and whom it can benefit. Here is a brief introduction, but to learn more, look for an in-depth How-To Guide coming soon to Above the Fold online.

The newspaper industry has changed. No longer is today the day print products are regarded as the morning staple. Instead, readers turn to their computers to find their news faster, easier and over all, more efficiently. Because of this evolution, the classified marketplace has inevitably struggled to maintain the top spot for local classified advertising, becoming one of the chief catalysts in the erosion of the newspaper business model. By now, surely your newspaper has made some adjustments to attempt to compensate for the lost revenue, but the losses are still prevalent — primarily because, free online alternatives, like Craigslist or Skepter, have all but replaced local newspaper classifieds. And while the revenue from the competition doesn’t even begin to come close to what newspapers have lost, they are still growing as we watch newspapers remain stagnant — or in some cases deteriorate.