By: M.L. Stein
The Riverton (Wyo.) Ranger is out to show that you don’t have to go to the big city to be successful and happy.
And the 6,875-circulation daily did it in a 32-page tabloid advertorial that produced nearly $7,000 in revenue ? double that of a previous issue with a similar theme.
The recent tab was called “Putting Down Roots: Recognizing Modern Day Pioneers.”
The idea was launched last year with a section headed “Staying Home and Making Good”
For $195, a local business or professional person could buy a full-page profile in the section that highlighted their feelings about the community, told where they came from and provided personal data about themselves, while also advertising their business.
Hank Kusel, who runs a bedding store, said on his page: “This is the best place we have ever lived. In my business, people are important and Fremont County is the best.”
His wife, Ruth, who works with him, praises the area’s mountains and sunshine.
Both are pictured above information about their store, including when they put down roots in Riverton and the names of their children and grand-children.
Kirk Miller, proprietor of a music shop, is quoted as saying he moved to Riverton from Sacramento because, “I had become tired of big city hassles.”
Miller, who is shown playing a guitar, added that he was looking for a small town that needed a record store.
The 1994 edition concentrated on local business people, who grew up in Riverton (population 9,202), chose to stay there and became successful. The 1995 section focused on individuals who moved to the area and made good.
“Both sections were easy to sell,” recalled Ranger advertising manager Anita Ellis in an interview. “Our reps simply went out to local retailers with an information form and we did the rest.”
The news department’s only involvement was in shooting the candid photos, she added. The copy was written in the advertising department.
“The only restriction we made was that the picture had to be of the owner or the owner and family members,” Ellis said. “We felt that allowing a business to use more than one subject took away from the uniqueness of the section.”
She noted that the ads sold for half the newspaper’s regular rate.
“Your business is more than a sign, a product or a logo,” the locally-owned Ranger told prospective advertisers in a promotion piece. “Our strong community relies heavily on the contributions of forward-thinking people who have moved to our area to open their businesses, bring up their families, raise their crops, and provide their expert services.”
Ellis said the sections have drawn “positive responses from readers and sponsors alike” and last year won first prize in the Wyoming Press Association’s business promotion contest.
“People have been coming in and buying the leftover sections and sending them to their relatives or using them as coffee-table items,” she
The supplement was second only to the Ranger’s annual mining section in drawing revenue, Ellis said.
According to Ellis, the sections were initially proposed by co-publisher Steve Peck.
“He figured this was a way to do something nice for the community,” she said.