Best Advice (Part V): Classified’s Successor, Revenue Ideas, Power of Pictures, Working Remotely, Playing It Smart

We’re back with the fifth installment in the Relevant Advice Series. Who is in the house today?

Up first is Bill Ostendorf of Creative Circle Media Solutions. He tells an audience of online publishers that self-service text ads are “by far the fastest growing type of advertising on the web. They are the classified of the web.”

Ostendorf says his firm asked 200 small and medium-size businesses how they expected to spend their marketing dollars.

“The most common answers were Google, Facebook and LinkedIn,” he added.

But don’t get down. Get even.

“In our market research, fewer than 30% of the SMBs have tried Google, Facebook or LinkedIn and many of those didn’t like the process or didn’t get results,” Ostendorf adds. “Understanding these flaws is essential in learning to compete with these giants.”

That’s where the next two slides come in — convert these identified shortcomings into your gains.

Slide 1:

Slide 2  from the Lion Publishers event adds more flaws of the giants.

I count myself as one of Ostendorf’s fans having hired him for a newspaper redesign years ago. This third slide offers a design tip when upgrading your text ads. Boo to tiny type.

Next is one of my favorite opening slides by a presenter.

Peter W. Wagner, founder and publisher of the N’West Iowa REVIEW, is a super-sharer of revenue ideas. Here are two examples of how to group small ads on a ganged page using themes that are all about the local community. 

In this slide, he shows you can pull in two pages of advertising just by recognizing local employers celebrating their years in business. Note that this milestone effort starts at 144 years and doesn’t wait for a magic number like  25, 50 or 100.

In the right format, newspapers can be cheerleaders. Here, Wagner demonstrates the community feature of combining an essay or article about the positive sides of a locality with small ads from advertisers adding to the applause.

At the virtual ArkLaMiss Marketing and Audience Development Conference, Wagner was loud and clear about the importance of photographs and artwork. Here’s his snapshot.

Working remotely became a major topic in 2020. We all know why. 

At America’s Newspapers’ PIVOT 2020, two panelists provided an overview on the challenges and opportunities. 

Nancy Meyer, president of the Miami Herald, notes these benefits, according to employees who want leaders to be more visible, focused on over-communicating, and open to embracing new workforce tools to meet challenges while advancing careers. 

Susan Davidson Talmadge, president and owner of HR Catalyst Consulting, acknowledges how the seemingly endless pandemic is causing employers to struggle with when to return to the office or use some sort of hybrid approach of working remote and gathering in person at appropriate times. Not everything is changing, however. She also  documents expectations that remain universal — note how rapid change collides with bedrock needs among colleagues.

Let’s end smartly.

Thanks to Neil Brown, president of The Poynter Institute, for reminding us about the importance of using S.M.A.R.T. goals. Stick to the discipline and don’t forget to thoroughly inform all of your people.

My apologizes for the glare on the screen. It was a sunny day in Richmond.  Already working on the next batch of words of wisdom.

Back soon.

–Tom Silvestri

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