Ad Sales Life

Synergy in sales through discipline and creativity


I'm excited about the current state of our industry! Initially, I anticipated a heightened focus on discipline in 2024. However, upon reflection, addressing challenges in this dynamic landscape shaped by technology and artificial intelligence will require a balanced blend of discipline and creativity this year. Discipline serves as the foundation for creativity to thrive. The key is consistently maintaining focus on creating vibrant communities through insightful reporting while having the creativity to celebrate the positivity within the community. This ensures the development of resourceful content and attracting revenue sponsorship opportunities. By virtue, the symbiotic relationship between discipline and creativity is crucial in sales, communication and civic leadership, creating an atmosphere ripe for prosperity and revenue success throughout the year.


Combining discipline and a creative environment strengthens our commitment as civil servants. This dedication empowers us to deliver impactful information, advocate for change and celebrate achievements that foster blissful cohesion, hope and connectivity. The significance of these efforts becomes apparent in our industry's unparalleled sales and revenue opportunities, especially when partnering with advertisers and sponsors committed to serving their communities while supporting our organization's advocacy for community growth and change. Utilizing sponsors, advertisers and community-based resources to fund advocacy or niche-branded content creates an environment where everyone has a stake in building healthy, dynamic communities and cities — shedding light on an enhanced universal mission and sales strategy for 2024.


To establish successful partnerships in the upcoming year, it’s crucial to understand how financial support aligns with reciprocal benefits for sponsors and the community. This alignment with your organization's mission lays the foundation for future prosperity. For example, if a community has higher unemployment, consider developing branded content opportunities focusing on in-depth local job openings, skills or interview tips. Seek advertising support from relevant sponsors, like a local college providing classes or special training for working adults. Focusing on specific, targeted advertising opportunities for content, brands, emails, newsletters and products is essential. This approach boosts advertiser growth and retention, advocates for lower unemployment rates and enhances the overall user experience through a transparent and justifiable basis for sponsorship support.

Think of discipline and creativity as muscle memory — much like the practice and exercises athletes undergo to prepare for game time so that they can identify and pull off highlight plays naturally when the time comes. Consider creating an environment where revenue and editorial teams can explore unique sponsorship opportunities by consistently meeting to discuss storytelling formats and implementing editorial calendars, or at least planning content, themes and posting schedules. This approach proves crucial, especially as we enter an Olympic and political season, as it has the potential to impact the bottom line significantly.

Taking this a step further, once established, it becomes imperative to actively assess the compelling sponsorship revenue opportunities to present to local organizations and community businesses throughout your city. Identifying sponsors that align with upcoming high-traffic periods and potential opportunities for branded content or specific niche sections aligns with the overarching value proposition — delivering special, unique and resourceful content to a community while providing advertisers with similar interests a high potential return on investment.

It's also important to note that, in this context, discipline and creativity also play a crucial role in the practices leading to revenue generation, encompassing market research, messaging and communication. It is essential to consistently stay attuned to your demographics, understanding your audience and advertisers' interests and engagement patterns. Recognizing the communication touchpoints and sales funnels and discerning the opportune or optimal times to enhance deals or bolster your bottom line is where creativity can flourish.

By understanding your demographic and market, you can make informed, data-driven decisions on which content or niche products may be most compelling for your current or potential readers. Similarly, recognizing when and where communication breakdowns or slowdowns within your sales funnel occur can present reasonable times to implement targeted email or informational campaigns, reiterating the value of advertising with your organization, providing potential sponsors or advertisers with further credible and rational mission alignment or financial appeal for their support.

Ironically, one of the more unexpected revelations, especially when engaging with other revenue leadership, is that amid the abundance of available information, some of the most creative revenue-driving ideas often stem from examining obvious metrics and information developed through disciplined practices.

As we embark on this journey throughout the year, maintain the discipline to actively engage with tools, networks and events to cultivate meaningful partnerships. Harness the current industry momentum and proactively seek creative collaboration opportunities with advertisers, sponsors and community organizations. In a year teeming with prospects for innovative revenue streams, carry forward the wealth of knowledge, growth and understanding of news organizations' role in communities. A transformative power and inherent value emerge when we infuse creativity into our disciplined approach and align with sponsors and advertisers who share our civic duties and leadership values. This pivotal time holds the promise of a win-win for our industry, contributing not only to our prosperity but, more importantly, to the well-being of our communities, shaping a prosperous path for 2024.

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 senior director of retention for The Daily Beast. He is a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation and is the owner of RE Media Holdings, LLC. Richard is available for consulting and can be reached at


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