In an effort to expand its roster of over 200,000 business customers across the country, GateHouse Media will hire up to 100 digital sales executives. GateHouse currently owns newspapers in 36 states, including more than 125 newspapers in 520 markets.
“Although industry wide data shows traditional advertising spend declining, digital marketing spent by companies is increasing significantly,” said GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis. “Hiring additional digital sales reps is another step in our evolution to take advantage of this trend.”
If all 100 positions are filled, it would represent about an 8 percent increase to GateHouse’s present staff of approximately 1,300 digital ad reps.
According to Davis, the vast majority of sales executives at GateHouse will continue to sell across all its platforms—print, digital, digital marketing services, promotions and experiential marketing.
“Most of the sales staff will continue to sell all these opportunities to local advertisers,” Davis said. “These new digital reps will be focused on marketing our digital offerings to national, regional and local advertisers.”
The news of the major hiring initiative comes at the tail end of another one of the company’s significant digital projects—the complete redesign of all 500-plus websites in its portfolio. All GateHouse sites now use a single CMS—Newscycle Solutions—and a single ad server. There was also a reduction in the number of advertisements per page and improvements made in the viewability and impact of the remaining ads.
“The feedback to our redesign has been very positive from both readers and advertisers. Readers have told us they love the cleaner, more contemporary look as well as the mobile-friendly responsive design,” Davis said. “The redesign has already led to a 100 percent increase in ad viewability and coupled with GateHouse’s access to first-party data, has led to significantly improved ad engagement.”
Davis alluded to the success of Propel Marketing, the company’s digital marketing services agency, as another sign of the potential for continued growth in digital sales. Last year, Propel was selected as one of only 50 Google AdWords Premier Partners and the only new partner chosen in 2016.
“The success Propel has enjoyed can be traced back to providing small businesses with innovative digital solutions and the highest level of customer service,” Davis said. “The opportunity to offer advertisers the digital marketing services Propel provides coupled with the high-quality content our websites and newspapers deliver is a unique combination that will continue to play a big role in the success of GateHouse Media.”