Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The latest of social networks to join forces with advertising are photo-sharing apps like Instagram. While we’ve spoken of such apps before, their role in advertising has become even clearer recently, as they have proven to hold a pragmatic function for retail advertisers.

At the end of January, the location check-in app Foursquare announced a new partnership with food delivery company GrubHub Seamless. Now, both iPhone and Android smartphone owners can place orders for delivery from local restaurants directly through the Foursquare app. This merger is not only great news for hungry customers who don’t want to leave the comfort of their homes, it’s also great news for local restaurants and your ad department!

Mobile has been on the rise, quickly becoming a major force in our everyday communication. An increase in affordable smartphone options — especially in comparison to laptop and desktop prices — has transformed mobile into a primary source of Internet and means of communication for many phone owners. One industry greatly affected by the surge in mobile technology is recruitment. Make sure your recruitment advertisers know how mobile can improve the hiring process. 

Another company, that was once a leader in its market, has bitten the dust due to its unwillingness to adapt with the changing times. This time, it’s Blockbuster. Last week, the movie rental retailer announced it would be shuttering its remaining 300 stores, leaving only 50 individual stores run as independent franchises. Blockbuster’s demise comes after years of losing customers to its online competitors — namely Netflix. In the wake of Blockbuster’s announcement, many have noted that it was a long time coming, and other businesses — especially media companies — should take Blockbuster’s story as a cautionary tale.

The New York Times’ Michael Moss asked Victors & Spoils, a Boulder, Colo., creative advertising agency, to create a hypothetical campaign that would overhaul the image of broccoli in the U.S. Of course, the challenge presented the advertising firm — which has worked with the likes of Coca-Cola and General Mills — with several obstacles. First and foremost, agencies like Victors & Spoils don’t typically take on campaigns for fresh produce, nor are they asked to. If such healthy foods are seeking advertising, it usually comes in the form of a government-funded campaign to promote healthy lifestyles across the country, which hasn’t been wildly successful in the past. Simply put, healthy foods like broccoli struggle to compete with their high-sugar, high-fat, high-everything junk food rivals. As a result, campaigns promoting produce and other healthy foods have been reduced to highlighting their nutritional benefits, which — again — haven’t worked in the past. The Victors & Spoils team was quick to decide that wasn’t the best path for broccoli’s future. 

With the constant growth in technology, it’s perfectly understandable that we want to leverage it to simplify our personal and professional lives. Tech and advertising are a natural pairing, and as a result, there are many options out there to simplify your department’s and your clients’ strategies. Case in point: automated advertising. Automated ads are pre-made ads created with certain mediums, like social media; times of day; or locations in mind. Coupled with circumstantial data, these ads are prompted to run without you having to lift another finger. However, automated advertising can lead to some issues for your clients’ brands.

Advertisers — like the rest of us — often struggle with “fit in or stand out” decisions. While we all want to share an identity with our chosen group or groups, at the same time, we want to be recognized for our unique qualities.

The Flaw: An advertiser is concerned because her ad seems to blend in with the others on the page. She says, “There’s a lot of information in the ad, but it gets lost on the page.” 

With all the talk of the power and importance of digital and businesses’ transitions into the digital era, it can be more than a little disheartening to hear for print media. While we at AtF agree (and have written time and time again) that digital is essential and newspapers must adapt with it, that isn’t to say you should ignore your print product and its still-viable advertising offerings in the meantime. Gordon Borrell, the CEO of the advertising firm Borrell Associates Inc., even warned Realtors® against ignoring the potential of newspaper advertising and investing solely in online.


According to a 2008 study, there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the U.S. After nearly five years, the number is continuing to rise, thus proving that blogs are a major trend. They have taken the Internet by storm and are highly influential, which is why they are the perfect place to turn when you’re creating a special section, website or event. Utilizing the skills of bloggers will both add a hyperlocal element to your work and save you money. Furthermore, it creates reciprocal advertising for both the blogger and the newspaper. 


Groupon, a well-known daily deals website, made headlines at the end of February when its CEO and founder, Andrew Mason, wrote a company memo regarding his departure from the company. The memo read, “I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding — I was fired today.” The casual tone he took regarding his ouster unsurprisingly raised some eyebrows, as did a few of the other decisions he made during his time at Groupon. However, some have interpreted Mason’s departure as a writing-on-the-wall moment for the daily deals industry. 

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.  


While April offers opportunities for some funny, light-hearted April Fools-themed advertising, think outside of the box this year! When trying to come up with new and thoughtful campaign and event marketing ideas, find some inspiration by targeting your industry-specific advertisers. We’ll help you get started below with some suggestions that will help you reach out to your real estate, recruitment and retail clients.


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. 

This year’s WCAA conference put event marketing in the spotlight. Along with a keynote presentation by Jason Taylor, the President of The Chattanooga Times Free Press, three well-known WCAA members took the stage to talk about their event experiences. Last issue, we focused on Taylor’s presentation and real estate events with Colorado Springs Gazette’s Michelle Ackerman. This issue, we’ll first take a look at Leslie Aubé Nagy’s, Clovis Media Inc.’s Classified Advertising Manager, presentation on niche events. Then, we’ll explore how U-T San Diego embraces virtual events, with their Classified Sales Manager, Carla Royter.

Everyone has their individual perspective on Valentine's Day, to some it is a commercialized day to catalyze Hallmark sales, and to others, it is a day to love your sweetie more than the other 364 days of the year. However, in recent times, there has been a societal shift toward celebrating Valentine's Day in a different, more inclusive fashion. Valentine's Day has largely changed toward being a holiday where friends can do something special as a large or small group. Girls can have a girls’ night out, and guys can have a few extra beers while watching the game. Essentially, Valentine's Day is now not just a day for the taken, but rather a day for everyone to indulge a little more than normal.

“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.


We attended a webinar lead by Janet DeGeorge, the President of Classified Executive Training. The presentation, “What to Expect in Classifieds: 2013 (And How to Monetize It!),” addressed what classified reps and managers should be doing in the New Year to improve their revenue. She broke the discussion down into the three major verticals: auto, real estate and recruitment. We brought back what you need to take away from DeGeorge’s presentation to adapt in your own office this year!

Reviews are vital to a business’ success nowadays, which puts those who review businesses in a unique and important position. Consumers have the ability to trump up or derail a business’ public appearance significantly, yet some consumers still receive substandard service. Self-proclaimed, “lifelong entrepreneur” Brad Newman, has developed something that can help tell a business that you mean business — the ReviewerCard. 

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. 

Often, our articles discuss sales techniques or your newspaper’s design in order to create the best consumer response. There is one thing that we don’t often discuss at Above the Fold and that is image construction. Since your advertisers value your advice, you may want to take some time to talk with them about the powerful impact images can have. Imagery is powerful because it is sensory, like touch and smell, and therefore more visceral than using words to convince a consumer of your client’s value. While an explanation of value is an inherently good attribute of your client’s advertising, you may want to guide them toward image-heavy ads that touch on their consumer’s senses rather than sensibilities. 

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 March comes the beginning of spring, which means the melting of snow and the beginning of new life — and that includes your department! Rejuvenate your department this March with some of our suggestions below. Start planning great events for your community, great advertising opportunities for your clients and even better revenue potential for the newspaper. While typical March holidays like St. Patrick’s Day may already be on your horizons and an integral part of your advertising plans, we have some other holidays that might offer just as much revenue potential, if not more. Now’s the time to get creative in your advertising campaigns and event marketing so you can think of the next big revenue-maker for your newspaper.

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!