New Media Notes

notes on news, advertising and social media shared by ben smith

Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

Growing Significance of Social Networks

Posted by benasmith on November 23, 2008

Short but interesting article in the November 10 2008, Advertising Age giving some statistics on social media usage. Focus of the article is how social networks are impacting TV viewership, which of course has implications for advertising dollars.

According to research by Magid Advisors:

More than 38% of all 12 to 64 year olds online in the US indicate they regularly use social networks.

And it’s not just the younger population using them.

One third of women ages 35 to 44, for example, report they regularly use social networking sites.

With all the time spent on social networking sites, time spent on other activities is being reduced.

Over 25% of those using social networking sites stated specifically that it was their TV viewing habits that were being cannibalized.

This is another example of the growing impact of social networks and something the television networks, and all other “traditional” media, need to be very aware of. Ignore social media at your peril.


Posted in Newspapers, Online, Online Revenue, Social Media, Television | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Count Out Big Media

Posted by benasmith on November 18, 2008

Another very positive blog on the future of news media. This time by Chris Brogan on his time spent at Gannett. Great to see yet more examples of innovation and forward thinking by a large, traditional, news organization. This time also with a real emphasis on “local”.

Posted in Community News, Newspapers, Online | Leave a Comment »

The Future of Newspapers: Moving Beyond Dead Trees

Posted by benasmith on November 17, 2008

Great story in the Washington Post on Rupert Murdoch and how he sees the future of the newspaper business.

Great to see someone with such traditional roots having such a forward thinking and positive outlook.

Particularly appreciated his comments on newspapers having to evolve from the physical item to “news brands” that are delivered in a variety of ways and are flexible for readers.

Posted in Newspapers, Online | Leave a Comment »

The Future of Direct Mail

Posted by benasmith on October 10, 2008

Many advertisers still consider direct mail a “premium” means of distributing information. Direct delivery to a consumers mailbox has an appeal, of course. But it’s time to move on. If an advertiser wants direct distribution to a targeted consumer why not look at one of the many opt-in email opportunities. “Opt-In” is the key phrase. So much quicker, cost effective, and targeted. Surely it makes more sense for an advertiser to reach 500 people that have requested to receive information about specific categories of products or services than even 5,000 that haven’t requested anything and likely don’t want junk clogging up their mailbox.

Interesting article in Newsweek:

It’s amazing to read that direct mailings now constitute some 52% of mail volume, up from 38% in 1990. Yet at the same time the consumer polls referred to in the article state that some 89% of consumers say they would prefer not to receive direct mail and some 44% of direct mail is never even opened.

Working in the newspaper industry, I see this as a great opportunity for newspapers in particular. Despite trends in circulation decline, newspaper is still a highly effective media. Especially at a suburban / community level where newspapers provide unique hyper-local news and advertising, less so in metros where they traditionally provide information that’s now available on countless websites and cable TV. Where newspaper have traditionally lost a certain amount of advertising revenue to direct mail, it’s a great time to go after those advertisers. Use readers to build targeted email lists. Build lists that can be targeted by zip code, that have opt-ins for different categories of information. Seek email sign-ups at every opportunity. Run reader contests that prompt for email sign-up when they enter, make it part of the subscription or renewal process. Keep building the email lists and make sure when advertisers use them to send information they include decent offers, coupons or promotions. Make the emails something people want to receive – strong offers, limited to the categories of information they have requested and relevant to the local market. Don’t abuse their trust in your product by sending information they didn’t request. Soon people will want to be part of the list and sign-ups will keep growing. It’s a great opportunity for any newspaper and thanks to services such as Constant Contact it’s easy to deal with spam regulations and to send quality HTML email without any technical knowledge required.

Posted in Direct Mail, Email, Newspapers | Leave a Comment »

Newspapers That Twitter

Posted by benasmith on September 14, 2008

Comprehensive list of nearly 400 newspaper Twitter accounts, plus analysis of increase or decrease in followers and how each newspaper posts updates.

Posted in Newspapers, Twitter | Leave a Comment »

A No-Paper Newspaper

Posted by benasmith on September 14, 2008

Interesting take on the future of e-newspapers: paid vs free content; e-readers vs websites.

Posted in Newspapers, Online Revenue | Leave a Comment »

Ten Ways That Ad Sales People Can Save Newspapers

Posted by benasmith on September 5, 2008

In some ways I think the title of this blog is a little misleading. It’s really a blog concerning revenue opportunities on newspaper websites. It doesnt address print itself, and contrary to what many people think there are still plenty of print revenue opportunities for those newspapers with a strong product and the ability to forward think and get creative.

Also a couple of online opportunities I believe should really have been included but weren’t mentioned. First, local directories / “business hubs” such as Lawrence Marketplace. Make sure the site is of genuine value by being pro-active in getting every business in the particular market on the site with a free listing. And make sure that listing contains a decent, useful, amount of information. Offer businesses the opportunity for paid upgrades, but get them on their first with a decent free listing that makes people actually want to use the site as opposed to going to a typical yellow pages type site. Second, opt-in email services – advertisers paying to be part of daily, weekly or even monthly email newsletter to readers that opt-in to receive local offers. Give readers good reason to opt-in by providing local offers and content that’s of value. And give them opportunities to opt-in at any time they are interacting with the paper – part of the subscription process, an additional check box in reader contests or promotions. Give readers local offers and information that isn’t perceived as spam. Give them something of genuine value. My personal experience has been a very favorable opt-in rate. To make life even easier use a third party service such as Constant Contact to manage email lists and provide very easy to use email templates.

Having said that, this is still a good list of ten basic principles every newspaper should follow in generating online revenue:

Posted in Email, Newspapers, Online Revenue | Leave a Comment »

Where Newspapers Are Thriving

Posted by benasmith on August 27, 2008

Germany’s papers are doing fine despite the ad flight to the web. What’s their secret?

Interesting story, forward thinking that lead to great results, and a nice positive read compared to the usual doom and gloom here in the States.

Posted in Advertising, Newspapers, Web Strategy | Leave a Comment »

Community Newspapers – Sweet Spot of the Industry

Posted by benasmith on August 16, 2008

With so much doom and gloom talk in the newspaper industry its nice to read some positive news. Some people talk about “the death of newspapers”. My personal opinion is that’s not the case at all. Yes, newspaper advertising revenues are suffering and subscribers are migrating to the web. But two things I feel strongly about. First, it’s not the “death” of newspapers, but a time for newspapers to re-invent themselves. Those that don’t may well die, those that do open the door to many new opportunities. Second, it’s national and metro publications that are most vulnerable, community newspapers have a certain degree of immunity to the general trend. Who wants to read national and regional news that is already available on 101 different websites and is generally dated by the time it hits print editions. Community newspapers on the other hand offer something more unique. They offer true hyper-local news and advertising that has a much more immediate impact on a reader and that isn’t available on every other news website like national or regional news would be.

The following release from Suburban Newspapers of America provides a very positive take on community newspapers and was great to read.

Posted in Community News, Newspapers | Leave a Comment »

A few links to get going

Posted by benasmith on August 12, 2008

To start things off, just sharing links to a few websites I’ve found to be good resources: – Everything social media – Great in-depth blog on web strategy, full of very thoroughly presented ideas and information – The evolution of media, great blog with a focus on news media – Great site for anyone involved with community newspapers – Extensive directory of corporations and organizations with active Twitter feeds, fully categorized – Directory of individual Twitter users, sorted by areas of professional or personal interest, and some by geographic location – Great site for anyone needing creative inspiration

Posted in Community News, Newspapers, Publishing, Social Media, Twitter, Web Strategy | Leave a Comment »