Effectively monetizing your local newspaper is critical for you and your community. Fair, balanced, and accurate reporting of local events and issues is critical to your community and other communities which rely on accurate reporting of big news that happens in your local region.
Without proper monetization, fair and honest journalism cannot happen. Newspapers cost money to publish, update, and maintain. Journalists cannot stay involved and current on local events if they are paid pennies as contractor to write specific articles. Acting as a local newspaper editor requires full time engagement in the community – the writing time is the smallest component of the time invested.
So monetize – and do it well.
The days of relying on annual display advertising contracts from local merchants who simply want to support the paper are long gone. Social media advertising is cheap and super effective. Newspaper display advertising is expensive and generally ineffective.
Do something new. Try everything. Learn analytics.
If you are relying only on one channel – display advertising – you have to try something new or risk losing your paper. Do not assume that your advertisers are in the dark when it comes to digital media advertising. Often they are more in tune with modern marketing channels than local newspaper publishers. Do not be afraid to meet with your advertisers and ask how they would like to see you diversify your offering.
Here are some alternative advertising offerings we’ve seen work for our clients:
- sponsored emails
- sponsored social posting
- sponsored content
- content creation packages
- branding and marketing offerings
News readers appreciate trusted news. Make an earnest appeal to your audience and be transparent about your newspaper operating costs. If you are barely scraping by – tell your audience. We’ve seen honest transparent appeals boost paid subscriptions enough to offset advertising losses and keep the paper running and in good condition.
Have a running total call to action
Ask your local newspaper publishing platform to create a running total call to action. Reminiscent of public broadcasting or member supported radio, local newspapers can rely on local support from the community – even if you are not a non-profit corporation. Regardless of your corporate structure, you can ask for support from the local community and make it clear what you need and what you are getting from different revenue streams. Honesty and transparency is always a trust building factor – use it.