Ad Sales Life

Getting back to resourceful content to help sales and revenue


I've spent a career doing my best to bridge the gap between generations of what has been and what’s to come in news media. There is a rich history of significant and reverent accomplishments in news media while its future remains bountiful with rapid technical and social advancements. Recently, I was reminded of the fantastic story news media has to tell and its impact on society as a reliable source of information, especially during turbulent times. Ironically, at this very same moment, I realized that the brand of news media and possibly the very state of its future wasn’t necessarily about a fight against reliability. Instead, it’s the inadequacy to further establish its value as a relevant resource for the coming generation.

Let me explain. Consider that a small outdoor fire can be reliable in producing heat. However, a furnace, theoretically, is a more suitable option and resource for our current generation providing value in comfort, consistency, peace of mind and, most importantly, convenience. Similarly, I think news media must address two complex problems to attain higher social valuation as a leveraged resource to ensure an enduring future and business model. The first is its ability to balance content with more resourceful information with higher cognitive fluency. Secondly, is its adeptness in delivering that same information through more consistent, timely and convenient platforms better suited for today's societal pace.

I know — eye roll and deep sigh. But before you dismiss this as a simple suggestion of adding more human interest content, or creating a section for general public appeasement, ask yourself just how much of your content is consumed or engaged with by readers of all age demographics. For the record, I firmly believe journalism is and should remain the deliverance of objective, sourced, factual and data-backed information to the general public, as this is the history and construct of reliability within news media. At the same time, I also believe that the mindset of consumerism is evolving, curating an environment in which readers are searching for more compelling content partners that help refine their day and enrich their mental health. Therefore, I think the opportunity for news media’s future is finding ways to fuse the brand reputation of reliability with the deliverance of convenient socially and culturally adept resources.

What are the most powerful and relevant resources and information that your news organization can conveniently deliver to the coming generation of readers outside of political or opinion news? Are you providing those resources and content where your readers are? These are a couple of the questions I would ask of my organization as I remember and appreciate at its height just how valuable the physical newspaper was in aiding so many past state affairs of modern society. Simply put, at one point, the newspaper acted as a reliable daily resource that informed the general public about the weather, national news, politics, houses for sale, available jobs and many other facets of life conveniently delivered to your front doorstep.

So, what do I suggest to address this gap for today’s generation? In short, better understand your readers’ lives and consumer behavior, so you can get creative, custom and aggressive in delivering those resources. Over time, alternative niche resources have been introduced to the news media market, eating away at the brand value one slice at a time and forcing higher intrigue into political or opinion-based content for survival. To reclaim brand authority, focus on a balanced approach of conveniently delivering resourceful information to your audience. For a starter example, can your organization facilitate an email or text alert to subscribers about traffic jams on major highways or alternative routes before 7 a.m.? How about school closings because of inclement weather? Each concept within this strategy, no matter how big or small, assists your subscriber in navigating their day and helps your content product revive its relevancy and reaffirm its value in each new generation.

Why is this important for revenue? Leading this charge is no easy feat. However, leveraging a strategy of resource and reliability provides a potential future for more advertiser-safe content. Additionally, balancing content with resourceful information combined with the tactic of convenient, consistent delivery through outlets better suited for today’s world enhances brand value and connectivity to your readers, ultimately leading to an increase in year-over-year ad sales and subscriber retention.

Platforms are constantly changing but being able to message effectively is an understanding of timing, frequency and consistency, which has been the superpower of news media for generations. Meet your readers where they are, find ways to tie reliability and resource together, be deliberate and convenient in your delivery, re-establish your value and revitalize the heart of your news media organization and community. 

Richard E. Brown is a News/Media Alliance Rising Star recipient, the former director of renewals and digital sales strategy at LPi, and the former director of digital operations and sales of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He recently served as the head of digital subscriber churn for Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK and is now the senior director of retention for The Daily Beast. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here