Big Ideas For Smaller Papers p. 29

By: JODI B. COHEN EVERY YEAR, THE Newspaper Association of America asks newspapers to submit moneymaking ideas that proved successful, to be included in the "Big Ideas for Smaller Market Newspapers" session at the organization's convention.
This year, the theme could have been "Back to the Basics," since the overall revenue winner by a wide margin was the 75,000-circulation daily newspaper Macon (Ga.) Telegraph. The Telegraph's simple, no-nonsense coupon book generated $230,000 in plus revenue.
"Nothing new or rocket science here," said Carol Hudler, president and publisher. "Just a program that benefits both the newspaper and the advertiser."
The coupon book included 17 coupons sold to the advertisers for $100. The book contained offers such as receiving a full-page ad for half price, or run an ad in a special section and get a pickup for half price. Forty-seven advertisers purchased books and took advantage of the assorted ad discounts.
"What it accomplished for us besides increasing revenue was to allow advertisers the chance to run size, frequency and color at discounted prices," she said. "Several of our advertisers have increased the size of their ads or have added additional frequency to their schedule."
Other creative and successful ideas included the Sacramento Bee's Hula Home Hunt. This promotion was the first ever for open houses combining the Association of Realtors (resale) and the Building Industry Association (new homes), encouraging consumers to visit open houses.
The Bee offered a trip to Hawaii and $1,000 cash as a reader contest. Realtors and builders were required to advertise two days during the promotion and to include a "hula" logo in all ads. For their participation, Realtors received yard signs, contest entry forms and directional signs.
"In excess of 6,000 consumers visited more than 1,000 open homes during the one weekend event," said Gene Grant, advertising director for the 281,202-circulation newspaper, in his entry. "It is estimated the Bee generated $45,000 in incremental revenue for the event."
Other notable entries were:
? The Examiner, Independence, Mo., circulation 19,553: The newspaper sponsors three expos a year, Bridal Celebration, Health Fair and the Prime Time Expo. Each expo attracts about 400-500 people, generating revenue of about $42,700.
? Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, circulation 39,000: Nonduplicated distribution of a stuffed coupon envelope. The envelope was distributed to subscribers via the newspaper, and to nonsubscribers via the mail. The effort yielded 10 paid coupons, generating over $10,000 in revenue.
? Grand Island (Neb.) Independent, circulation 24,600: A bridal section, 32-page tab of old wedding photos called Weddings of Yesteryear. Although financially it was not very successful, participation was high ? 180 photos were sent in. Next year, the paper will charge $10 per photo.
? Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun, circulation 15,289: Advertorial stories were sold to businesses to run on the business page, plus extra copies printed on enamel paper for them to use as marketing pieces, with optional business cards designed and printed for a package price. Too early to tell what the revenue will be.
? Midland (Mich.) Daily News, circulation 18,000: This daily had two successful promotions.
(1) Have the newspaper become the organizer and promoter of the local Festival of Trees. A special section on the festival was sold as a package, with a black tie reception. The promotion generated $28,000 in new revenue through advertising alone. An additional $11,600 was generated from ticket sales, tree auction and gifts.
(2) The telemarketing department sold 24 restaurants into the paper's Dining Club Card. The restaurants were asked to provide two for one or comparable meal values. The paper agreed to promote their participation by running a full-page Dining Club Card ad at least once a month. Over 1,600 cards were sold at $20 each.
? Mississippi Press, Pascagoula, Miss., circulation 24,873: An Easter promotion called Bunny Babies parlayed itself into a Christmas promotion called Babies First Christmas. House ads were run for the promotion. The only requirement was that the baby be less than one year old prior to Christmas. Parents were asked to mail their favorite pictures of their child to be printed Christmas morning. The promotion generated $4,500 in revenue.


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