Posts Tagged ‘community newspapers’

New Study Reveals the Effectiveness of Local Digital Marketing

A February 2013 report by the CMO Council and Balihoo found that investing in local digital marketing was  an extremely effective way to connect with customers.One of the biggest challenges all marketers reportedly faced is effectively targeting their digital efforts to specific regions. To illustrate, while  15% of those surveyed felt that they were under performing in their local marketing efforts, only 7% considered themselves to be ahead of the curve in their local digital strategies.

Many marketers still placed priority on creating across-the-board marketing strategies, with 81% saying that a brands’ overall message was top priority. Also telling, 64% of respondents said they wanted to eliminate  customer confusion caused by conflicting branding messages.

Regarding local marketing platforms, the results revealed that most respondents still rely on corporate websites. From the study:

“Websites remain the primary means brand marketers have to engage customers locally, with 86% citing the corporate site as part of their local engagement strategy. About half of those surveyed also used corporate social media outreach to engage consumers at the local level. By contrast, only one-third of brand marketers reported maintaining a local website, and even fewer, 27%, operated local social pages.”

The following chart lists – by popularity – the different methods marketers reach out to a local audience:

While these numbers may suggest a lack of new strategies, it is important to note that the majority of those questioned stated that they were able to localize any campaign within 20 days. Further, out of those who rolled out a national and local campaign simultaneously (only 3% of respondents) 90% of those said it had a positive effect on their marketing campaign. These figures suggest that more marketing campaigns should and will incorporate a national and local strategy from the beginning.

OCNA Digital Media Study…Continued

Yesterday we wrote about the OCNA’s findings from a digital media study (read it here if you haven’t yet). Today we’d like to highlight an extremely valuable spreadsheet that the OCNA published that should be required of any business owner. The spreadsheet asks you to evaluate your business operations, to see what yor strenghts are, and more importantly, where you have room to grow.

Click here to download the spreadsheet.

OCNA releases findings from community newspaper study!

The Ontario Community Newspaper Association recently commissioned Borrell Associates  to study community newspaper publishing in the U.S. and Canada. The purpose of the study, which can be read in its entirety here, was to help community newspapers develop an online strategy. The key findings are listed below:

▶ 74% of community and smaller-circulation newspapers expect to sell more (online?) advertising in 2013
than in 2012, with 19% predicting no change and 7% budgeting for a decline.
▶ Every newspaper had a website, with an average of 3.5 page views per visit.
▶ Online revenue accounted for an average of 7% of total revenue, while mobile was just under 0.6% and
concentrated at the higher-circulation end of the participants.
▶ Flat-rate agreements or sponsorships are sold by 92% of newspapers, while only 59% are offering CPM
▶ Almost all (98%) of publishers say that print advertising yields the best ROI for media companies.
▶ Almost all (98%) of community newspapers offer banner ads/ROS/untargeted display, with 84% offering
sponsorships and 83% selling business directory listings.
▶ Auto is the vertical likely to have the highest online growth, with 63% of newspapers projecting increased
revenue in 2013.
▶ Content management system satisfaction levels are mediocre. Although 10% said that they were “very
satisfied”, 52% were only “somewhat satisfied and 24% registered varying levels of dissatisfaction.
▶ BLOX-TownNews is the most widely Used system (35%)
▶ Although DoubleClick is (at 19%) the most common ad serving platform – followed by Blox (14%), Yahoo
(9%) and DTI (9%) – there are at least 15 other platforms used by community newspapers.

Tune in tomorrow, where we will be going over more of the findings!

Legislative Assembly of BC – Speech from the Throne

Yesterday was Legislative Assembly of BC’s Speech from the Throne. Spoken by The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC
Lieutenant-Governor, the speech covered many topics relevant to BC voters, including:

  • The strength of the BC economy and its relationship to the Asian market. By 2030, well over three billion people in Asia will be part of the middle class, with China and India accounting for about two billion of those citizens. The speech stressed the importance of new endeavours– to be soon undertaken by the BC Government– in order to strengthen business and trade relations with the Asian market.
  • BC natural gas. The speech highlighted how natural gas can trigger a possible $1 trillion in cumulative GDP benefit to the province over the next 30 years. Further, an estimated 39,000 new full time jobs, on average, will be created during a 9 year construction period. Once all facilities reach full production, there could be over 75,000 new annual full time jobs
  • BC skills training. The speech stressed that the  growing economy will create one million job openings across our province between now and 2020 – 43 per cent of which will require people with trades and technical training.

Other topics included: Natural resources, First Nations relations, Investments in infrastructures, healthcare, budget control and affordability.  To read the entire speech, go to:

Glacier Media Group Announces Enterprise-wide Augmented Reality Launch with Layar

Glacier Media Group has announced that it has partnered with software developer, Layer, to create an entirely new experience for reading and advertising online newspapers. Layer, which specializes in advancing mobile reading, has developed technology that allows links, MP3 and MP4 files to be accessible on tablets, phone and screens. This new technology does more than mimic the reading experience, it enhances it. This new technology will also enhance the effectiveness of advertisements, allowing readers to access websites and purchase products by clicking on an ad placed in the newspaper. Read below for the full press release.

Glacier Media Group Announces Enterprise-wide Augmented Reality Launch with Layar

First company worldwide to build augmented reality into its digital sales platform

VANCOUVER, Feb 7, 2013 – Glacier Media Group.,(GVC:CA: TSX), Western Canada’s largest local
media company is pleased to announce the enterprise wide launch of augmented reality throughout its Lower Mainland, British Columbia properties.

Glacier Media Group has teamed up with Layar to enhance the newspaper experience for its readers.
Every edition will feature extensive use of augmented reality (AR) through editorial and advertisements.
This cutting edge technology used while reading the newspapers will allow Glacier to eliminate the gap
between print and digital.

The technology is the innovative Layar application which can be downloaded on your iOS or Android
smartphone or tablet. Layar operates as image recognition software invisibly tagging images, logos and
icons with codes to allow the augmented reality components to appear instantly on a readers phone or
tablet while scanning the AR content. Rather than QR codes in print, Layar provides the ability to link to
multiple assets; watch video/ listen to audio / share the content on social networks and even buy a product
– right from the page.

“This will allow print to come to life,” said Alvin Brouwer, president of Lower Mainland Publishing, a division
of Glacier Media. “Our plan is to increase engagement between our newspapers and our readers, increase
the time they spend with us, improve the utility of the product, and seamlessly integrate our customers’
digital assets into our newspapers,” said Brouwer, “It adds many different dimensions to a print advertising
campaign or to the stories and photos that appear in our papers.”

“Newsprint is very effective in creating desire, and the Layar technology provides us the opportunity to
increase newsprint’s utility to our readers and advertisers enabling immediate action. This is a game
changer, and we are proud to be the first to take this to market enterprise-wide.”

With over 28 million downloads worldwide, Layar is an exceptional complement to Glacier Media’s
newspaper network. Layar’s CEO Quintin Schevernels is delighted. “This partnership marks an important
milestone for Interactive Print in the Canadian market. With Glacier Media we found a partner that is very
dedicated to innovation and serving the needs of its readers and advertisers. We are confident that we will
help Glacier Media to further empower its print products.”

Take Inventory of your Newsmakers

Jim Pumario was kind enough to pass along an excellent article he wrote about knowing your local newsmakers. We have decided to re-publish the article in full:

Here’s an action item for your next newsroom meeting: Ask reporters to identify the community newsmakers. Better yet, bring a stack of newspapers from the last couple of months and circle the newsmakers receiving attention in words and photos.

Several individuals are likely to be on the list, no matter the community: for example, the mayor and city council president; the superintendent and school board chair; the county’s chief administrator and the county board chair; local legislators; the heads of key local commissions and task forces. And these folks probably appear with some regularity.

You get the drift. Newsrooms by and large do a commendable job of writing for the source, especially when it comes to public affairs reporting. Public officials speak, and their statements are recorded. Their comments should be given proper notice.

At the same time, newspapers are shortchanging their readers – their customers – if they do not expand their definition of and explore the range of newsmakers. In other words, spend time to identify the players at the core of community conversations.

For example:

  • A city council debates the merits of building a skateboard park. Reporters capture the flavor of the public hearings where proponents and opponents step to the microphone. The comments of the planning commission and city council members are recorded as they cast their final votes. But have you gone beyond the meetings? Have you taken the time to observe youths doing skateboard tricks on the downtown sidewalks, navigating their way among pedestrians? Have you asked business owners and pedestrians – some who may be annoyed by the youths, some who sympathize with the lack of a park – on the pluses and minuses of creating a park? Have you talked with the parents of the kids?
  • A county board considers a conditional-use permit for an expanded feedlot operation. Reporters attend the public hearing, noting the debate and recording commissioner votes.  But have you gone beyond the meetings? Have you toured the feedlot operation firsthand? Have you visited the neighbors to witness their concerns over odor and increased traffic?

Today’s challenging media landscape demands that editors and reporters thoroughly examine their coverage and ask the question: Are we relevant to our readers? Are our news columns dominated by the same set of newsmakers, or are we digging beneath the surface to identify the full cast of characters? Are we writing our stories for the individuals at the top, or tail end, of the news pyramid without giving proper attention to everyone else in the pyramid whose actions collectively represent the full dynamics of a story?

This exercise of scrutinizing coverage goes beyond examining the meetings of local governing bodies. Editors and reporters should regularly brainstorm all aspects of everyday coverage. It can be as easy as tracking down and inserting other voices beyond what is forwarded in a press release or presented at an event.

Consider a big-box retailer that opens as the anchor of a new strip mall on the edge of town. What’s the anticipated impact on the downtown shopping district? Will the discount store strengthen the city as a regional retail center? Gaining these perspectives is just as important as recording the welcoming comments of the mayor at the grand opening. In addition, the stories provide many new faces and names beyond the traditional newsmakers.

Here’s a challenge the next time your staff is brainstorming coverage for a story of community significance. Reporters are certain to rattle off the usual lineup of individuals to solicit perspectives. Some may be appropriate and, indeed, mandatory to contact. But don’t adjourn your session until you’ve come up with at least a handful of individuals who rarely, if ever, are mentioned in your newspaper. Make it a priority to seek their opinions.

Expanding your bucket of newsmakers is all about going beyond the story that is served on the platter. Make no mistake, digging beneath the surface takes legwork – and produces long-term benefits. The enriched coverage is more interesting, and you’ll likely pick up some new readers.

Jim Pumarlo writes, speaks and provides training on Community Newsroom Success Strategies. His newest book is “Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage for Beginning and Veteran Journalists.” He also is author of “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage” and “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper.” He can be contacted at and welcomes comments and questions at

The power of the right story

For those who follow our blog, you’ve likely come to recognize John Foust, who is a regular contributor. In this week’s article, John highlights the power of storytelling in your advertisements:

Thomas knows the power of storytelling. “I’ve found that the right stories help me sell more advertising,” he said. “After all, prospects are like everyone else. They like to hear stories and examples of things that have happened to other people.

Thomas is right. Every sales person should have an arsenal of stories for a variety of purposes – to establish credibility, illustrate product benefits and answer objections.

“Sales stories shouldn’t go on and on forever,” he said. “They must be focused and to-the-point, with a clear beginning, middle and end. And I’ve learned that it shouldn’t take long to get to the end. There are a lot of approaches, but the formula I like best is known as SPAR – Situation, Problem, Action and Result.”

John Foust then discusses different types of storytelling, breaking it down into a Situation, Problem and Result. The purpose of any advertising storytelling is to have a specific story arch that highlights a cause and effect. Don’t speak in generalities and don’t leave a story unfinished:

Let’s take a look at Thomas’ storytelling technique:

Situation: “In this step, take a moment to set the stage,” Thomas explained, “For example, you could say, ‘Three months ago, I was working with the Ace Widget Company on a new ad campaign. They had advertised with our paper on occasion, but most of their budget had been spent in other areas.’ In just a couple of sentences, this gives your listener a snapshot of Ace Widget’s situation.”

Problem: “This is where you isolate a specific problem or challenge. Don’t use generalities like, ‘Their advertising wasn’t working.’ Narrow the problem to a challenge that can be easily visualized by your prospect, something like, ‘The main problem with Ace Widget’s advertising was that they were not running ads that generated measurable results. Their ads described their products, but there was no compelling reason for readers to respond immediately.’

“See the difference?” Thomas asked. Now your prospect has a clear picture of what the Ace Widget Company was facing. Of course, that problem should relate to the problem you want to solve for the person who is listening to your story. That’s why it’s important to have a range of stories for different types of challenges faced by advertisers.”
Action: “Here’s the solution,” Thomas said. “Describe – briefly and without exaggerating – the action you took to solve Ace Widget’s specific problem. You might say, ‘After analyzing the problem, I recommended a series of ads promoting discounts on several key products. We tested various discount techniques (for example: half-price, then two-for-the-price-of-one – which is essentially the same offer).’”

Result: “This is the payoff, the point where you show how well the action worked. Your result statement could be something like, ‘During the first month of the campaign, the sales of Ace Widgets’ advertised products increased by 20 percent. By creating measurable results, they have been able to tweak their overall strategy and get more mileage from their marketing budget. This is a big change, because now they have a good feel for what works.’

“There’s the happy ending,” Thomas said.

This technique can add depth to your sales presentations. Every story has a hero. And with a SPAR story, the hero is your newspaper.


(c) Copyright 2012 by John Foust. All rights reserved.


John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information:

Newspaper excellence? You be the judge!

Newspapers Canada is looking for experienced industry professionals to serve as judges for its 2013 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards (CCNAwards) and Great Idea Awards. Both programs honour excellence and innovation among our community and daily newspaper members.

The Canadian Community Newspaper Awards feature awards categories focused on editorial work, photography and multimedia projects. The Great Idea Awards–open to both community and daily newspapers–honour outstanding advertising and marketing initiatives.

We are looking for experienced industry professionals to serve as judges for categories in both awards programs. We encourage our members to nominate their peers and colleagues for a chance to serve in this prestigious role. If you or someone you know would be interested in judging, click here to download the nomination form and fax your completed form to the Newspapers Canada office at 416-923-7206 by Friday, November 30th, 2012.

For more information please visit, or contact Magda Mroz at

Leverage your Advertising to Build Readership

Suzanne Raitt posted a valuable article about the perceived value of print advertising. In the piece, which I have posted below, Raitt argued that instead of viewing advertisements as an encumbrance for readers, we start seeing it as part of the creative content in advertising.

Most newspapers are interested in building readership across all their platforms. And given the pace of change today, it is difficult to continue with the strategies that used to work, as some are no longer effective.

For example, it is harder and harder to get people on the phone to build a subscription base. And it is challenging to compete with free news (from less reliable sources, in some cases), which some treat as good enough.

Our newsrooms have content covered. They are integrating systems and people that allow them to deliver vibrant news across multiple platforms.

This is good.

But we have overlooked another piece of our content: the advertisements. A newspaper is not a newspaper without them. It is why studies show we are the most acceptable source for ads; readers expect there to be ads, as they are part of content.

So how can we leverage ads to be a readership builder?

What if we recognised that people like ads? Actually, they like good ads. They will pay to see a reel of the best TV ads from around the world. So how can this apply to newspapers?

Let’s turn the current model on its head.

Right now, if advertisers want to do something innovative in your newspaper or on your site, they are asked to pay more for that privilege. In turn, this discourages advertisers and we garner fewer creative ads.

What if we encouraged and rewarded creativity?

USA Today just announced a competition for creative ads, and the winner will receive US$1 million in free advertising space!

Or, on a more feasible everyday basis, what if we provided more frequency, free of charge, to those running creative ads? This benefits the advertiser because we know frequency works. And it enhances our newspapers at a minimal cost. And I am sure we can devise other ways to reward our innovative advertisers.

Imagine the water-cooler conversation being about the cool ad that ran in your newspaper or on your site.

Need some creative ad inspiration? Well, that’s another article. But what is shown (above) is a well-crafted local retail ad that uses nothing more than a good idea to break through.

The editorial surprises and delights readers, and the ads, can too, making your newspaper an even more enjoyable read.

You can read the original article here.


A recent study by Newspapers Canada reveals the efficacy of newspapers as a medium for government advertising. The case study analyzed the advertising campaign of the Royal Canadian Mint and their launch of new one-dollar and two-dollar coins. The objectives of the Royal Canadian Mint were to a) explain the benefits of the new coinage and b) to increase the public’s perception of The Royal Canadian Mint. The study revealed that those who were exposed to the Royal Canadian Mint’s newspaper advertisements over three times had the most positive perception of the organization and its campaign. Further, those who were only exposed to the advertisement’s 1-3 times also stated as having a more positive opinion (albiet less than those exposed over three times).

To read the entire study click here