It's time for another guest post by Josh Williams, thrower of the kitchen sink. If you haven't heard about this series yet, it centers on how Josh, a publisher in West New York, is finding his way to profitability and sustainability by "throwing the kitchen sink" at his competition. Here are two previous posts:
As an overview, GeneseeSun.com's coverage area is on the outskirts of Rochester, New York. Its focus is on a rural community with a State University and the county seat at its center. Its advertising clients, like most local news publishers, are mostly small businesses.
Josh Speaks: Create Lasting Impressions on the Reader on Behalf of Your Clients
One of our major challenges in online publishing is our promise to deliver a successful ad campaign based on our business model of selling by the month or ad impression.
I want to deliver success to the small business owner who is spending their hard earned marketing dollars with the Genesee Sun. I can't bank on a magical formula where 10,000 impressions equals 1 customer walking through the door; it doesn't exist. And that's what it's about: customers walking in the door.
What I've decided to do, and had great success with, is packaging the features I have and no other competitor has with my standard billboard ads.
I drop video commercials in the loop that is mixed in with short news and sports clips. When we broadcast a game, I also offer them 15 second sound bites in between the action. Sprinkle that with Broadstreet's editable picture and text ads and bingo − we have a great marketing package.
One of my sales angles is that my viewers will walk away with a memorable experience and they are going to remember the business that sponsored the memory. Flipping through the Pennysaver doesn't do that, and 10,000 impressions on any other website doesn't do that either.
Newspapers had the philosophy that selling more newspapers justified an increase in ad prices. With falling subscription counts, that's not working out so well anymore. What happened to the print industry when X amount of advertising dollars no longer brought in the number of readers or customers that it once did? They lost advertisers.
Those that live in the online publishing world should take note that we do not make the same mistake as our print competitors.
We need to deliver results for the small business owners who spend their marketing dollars on us. I'm counting on finding innovative and creative means in which to capture readers for the long term, not the short term.
An example: I could write a story about Lady Gaga's purse, tweet it, and get 1,000 uniques − but what good is that for the sandwich shop on Main Street, Geneseo which is spending $200 a month to advertise with me?
I call my column the "Kitchen Sink" because I am throwing the whole kitchen sink at the competition. I have rolled that into a sales pitch − take a look at my rate card − I even offer a "Kitchen Sink" deal as a promotion. My goal is to sell one per month and I'm averaging two.
Best of luck and take pride in your product when you sell it. No one sells it better then you do.