My production team and I attended the Tennessee Press Association’s summer convention in Memphis last week – our first – and we took a lot of great information away from the sessions we attended.
Most sessions were targeted to the daily papers with their large budgets and staffs, but there were some points that can be applied to community-based papers as well. Here are five free things you can do to help your bottom line:
- Monetize Social Media – FREE
Many publishers, like mine, have a love-hate relationship with social media: it’s great to have a platform to share breaking news with thousands of people, but we don’t make any money from our Facebook page (or have no way to measure and correlative data suggesting otherwise). Facebook has pretty strict rules about businesses monetizing their pages, because they’re provided at no cost to users, but there’s a work-around. One of the presenters, Ryan Dohrn, suggested using Facebook to link to sponsored content that appears on your website:
A. Sell link based on number of engaged users – Dohrn suggested $75-125 per 1,000 engaged users (per post). Find a price point that works for your paper and your Facebook fan base. Make sure your status update is preceded by something that lets readers know you’re being paid to promote the content (to keep in line with FTC disclosure guidelines); he suggested using [Sponsored Content].
B. Link to sponsored content from your Facebook page – Following this, you need a catchy web headline that will encourage your readers to click on the link. The link should be to the content, which appears on your website; don’t post the content directly on Facebook because, while it’s great for the advertiser, it does nothing to help drive traffic to your site.
C. Content should have reader benefit – Today’s consumers want to know what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for the advertiser.
D. Only 1 in 10 posts should be commercial – You don’t get on Facebook for the ads and neither does anyone else, so limit your sponsored content.
- Sell digital on purpose – FREE
We’re already in the middle of the digital revolution, so begin to sell web ads and banners on purpose.
- Make advertising work for clients – FREE
This is nothing new, just a reminder that sales reps shouldn’t take orders but rather they should help build a partnership with clients and help make advertising work for the products and services offered and the business owners’ goals.
- Make it look good – FREE
Kevin Slimp, who most people know as the TPA’s tech guy, gave a great presentation with a lot of Photoshop and InDesign tips and tricks. Did you know changing ONE SETTING in Photoshop can make your photos print clearer? It’s a simple change to make – it’d take about a minute or two – and costs nothing.
- Find unconventional ways to market your paper – COST VARIES
Maybe you slap a sticker that says “Congrats! You just made the paper!” on the phone at the jail that inmates use to make their one call to help promote the arrest reports you run every week, maybe you begin running a “Most Interesting Man in the World” style campaign starring community members, maybe you create a stunt marketing campaign. Find something that goes beyond the traditional house ad and do it.
Why not work to do what you can to help boost your paper’s profits? What are other free ways to bring in revenue?