Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

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.

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.

When February rolls around, there might be a certain amount of listlessness in the air now that the holiday season has concluded. Make sure you keep spirits high in your community by creating lively and exciting events for your town while offering great advertising opportunities to your clients. Just because the budget-busting holidays have passed doesn’t meant that there aren’t any more revenue generation opportunities for your department. When we think of February, Valentine’s Day comes to mind without fail. You may think this is the only go-to February holiday for advertising campaigns and event marketing, but you’d be wrong. While you would be amiss to ignore Valentine’s Day this year, we’re here to offer you a few other holidays you might not have considered to make sure you keep your revenue stream active and lucrative during this relatively quiet month.

As the ground begins to dry from the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, people’s power is restored, prospective marathoners help clean up and commuters are beginning to be able to get back to work. While the relief effort continues, some businesses are being criticized for their marketing efforts during the storm. These stores offered discounts or free shipping, causing many affected by the storm to cry out in anger, accusing the stores of trying to turn a disaster into a business opportunity. I would agree that the tone of many of the ads is both inappropriate and insensitive, however, there are ways to use natural disasters as part of marketing approach to both help the relief and get the local economy going again. Because a storm can stop people in their tracks, local businesses and customers alike risk losing their livelihoods. 

After Thanksgiving, it means one thing for advertisers and consumers alike: the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are only a few of the holidays celebrated during this month. This means big advertising dollar signs in the eyes of your department and your advertisers. After all, this time of year means consumers will be doing even more shopping than usual, trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Therefore, it only makes sense that you and the rest of your department are right there, making sure your clients are meeting the needs of local consumers, while also increasing their revenue. While end-of-the-year sales and Christmas Eve discounts are a great way to guarantee those profits, why not break away from the traditional holiday advertising techniques? Or, you could at least create additional advertising solutions that not only offer great revenue opportunities for your department and your clients, but also an ample amount of opportunities for your community to celebrate the holiday season. Create community-wide events and newspaper special sections to really get the newspaper and the whole community in the holiday spirit!

When looking to boost revenue, readership and advertising in your newspaper, special interest and niche events may just be the answer! The 2012 WCAA Conference will be setting aside time to discuss the best ways to create profitable and successful events for your community. So, to find out more, we discussed special interest and niche event marketing with the session’s presenter, Leslie Aubé Nagy. Throughout her 18-year career with the Clovis News Journal (CNJ) in Clovis, N.M., Nagy has worked in a variety capacities, including bookkeeping, retail, niche product sales, and of course, classifieds. This experience has given her a greater understanding of the many shapes and forms of newspaper sales. For the last 10 years, Nagy has enjoyed creating beloved special and niche events in Clovis, including the Taste of Home, the Holiday Bazaar arts and crafts fair in the winter and another arts and crafts fair in the spring. She discussed her love for creating and marketing these special events and the connections she builds with local businesses while organizing them.

Following the excitement of Halloween, November marks the transition from fall to winter, not to mention the beginning of the holiday season. Newspaper ad departments are certainly not strangers to planning Thanksgiving and Black Friday-themed advertising, and we are not suggesting that you stray from these holidays in your advertising. However, we have set aside a few other holidays that you may not have considered before, but offer just as many opportunities to generate revenue in your department!

This October, your ad department will undoubtedly offer some spooky, Halloween-themed advertising. While Halloween events, deals and discounts are a surefire way to boost revenue, why not think outside of the box this year? In addition to your traditional Halloween advertising, we have gathered a couple of October holidays that could also provide some new revenue opportunities for you ad department and spur some lively events for your community.

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. 

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.

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.

Every year, across the country, local chapters of the Home Builders Association (HBA) and the Building Industry Association (BIA) host the Parade of Homes. This is a prime opportunity to boost ad sales in your real estate section by suggesting that agents become involved in this beloved community event. The Parade of Homes allows community members to tour a group of newly built homes in the area. It’s a great time for both prospective home-buyers and home-builders to discover the latest in building, design and decorating techniques.

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.

The annual National Networking Week is just around the corner (April 8–14), which gives you the perfect opportunity to network with prospective clients in the area. As summer approaches and the temperature slowly rises, local business owners will begin looking for new ways to attract customers that are out and about during these warm days. You can offer a solution to their problem. Consider throwing a mixer for local businesses to meet and mingle with the community. This gives those companies the ideal chance to promote their products and services, build relationships with community members and prospective customers, as well as connect with other local businesses in the area, which is the very essence of networking.

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.

As we acclimate ourselves to the changing weather, changes in men’s faces are also occurring — but this month it’s for a cause. During the month of November every year, men around the globe are seen sprouting moustaches and beards as a part of Movember. With their Mo’s, these men are raising both funds and awareness for men’s health, with particular attention paid to prostate cancer and other cancers that deter a man’s lifetime well-being. This month, in honor of Movember, have your classified advertising sales department host an online contest that promotes health and wellness for men.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in the foodie demographic. From the growing popularity of cooking shows like Top Chef, celebrity chefs, specialty dining (gourmet restaurants, farm-to-table, food trucks, buy local, etc.), it’s hard to deny — everyone is a bit epicurious these days. And let’s face it — everyone has to eat! We’ve decided to focus on foodies this month because it’s almost November, a month focused on one big meal. So to get your mouth watering, let’s talk about food.

Easing the transition between summer and fall, September can easily get lost in the shuffle. Typically, advertisers try to capitalize on Labor Day and back to school, but let’s face it — those events are over at the beginning of the month. By the first or second week of September, students are already well into school and Labor Day comes the first Monday of September. So newspapers and advertisers need to look at alternative ways to get the consumer’s attention.

The current economic downturn that began in 2008 has brought together citizens from every walk of life in their attempts to become the savviest saver. Using tactics that began during the Great Depression, communities have recently watched as the 1940s have been revived with intense use of coupons. Couponing—now referred to as a verb—has become a national phenomenon, with the most exceptional cases even being featured on TLC’s Extreme Couponing television show. With hard work, patience and a lot of planning, people are whittling down their weekly grocery bills from $400 to $4. Not only are these families saving thousands of dollars each year, but they’re also bringing more value to the coupons featured in the newspaper. This helps classifieds increase the merit of offering coupons in a coveted spot; and it gives them the opportunity to find new ways to monetize couponing.

The Colorado Springs Gazette launched the SpringsMilitaryLife.com in late 2010. This niche website is aimed at the Springs’ military audience — primarily the spouses of the enlisted men and women of the army.

Communication tools unite as SCVNGR, Prudential Georgia Reality and HomeFinder.com host an Atlanta-based Amazing Race-type event on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Race for the Home is inviting Atlanta home-buyers to participate in a one-day, action-packed scavenger hunt to win a grand prize of $20,000. The event will also help raise funds for breast cancer awareness with the Susan G. Komen foundation.