I have the opportunity to sit in real estate continuing education classes and the message to the Realtors seems to be the same in all of them: Newspapers are dead. Period.
Case in point: One Realtor instructor told us how he, at the behest of his Seller, placed a one inch classified ad for an open house in the Star Tribune…and he got NO visitors to his open house. Conclusion: That was a waste of his money and newspapers don’t work. Everyone in the class nodded appropriately – I cringed.
Well, he was partly right – it was a waste of his money, but what if we look at this in a different way. We’ll come back to him in a moment…
Newspapers – the printed versions – have come under fire lately as a dinosaur gasping its last breath. People now are getting their news via digital sources and wouldn’t dream of sullying their fingers with ink. Newspapers have done themselves no favors at all, staunchly reporting the news of their own demise. The reality is that newspapers aren’t dying…they’re evolving - and in the most exciting ways.
When I walked thru the doors of the Brainerd Dispatch 5 years ago I thought that we sold NEWSPAPER advertising. After all, if you want a TV ad, you go to the TV Station. If you want a radio ad, you go to the radio station. It wasn’t until I was handed the training manual for the Brained Dispatch that I found out just how extensive our product list really is. This is the case industry-wide, from Jacksonville, FL to Augusta, GA to Juno, AK. Newspapers are more than just the newspaper. They’re multimedia.
A quick highlight of what most newspapers offer include: traditional newspaper print ads, magazines, special sections, inserts, direct mail, newspaper website ads, internet ads (on national platforms), email blasts, Daily Deals, social media expertise including Facebook & Twitter, custom mobile apps and other digital opportunities. Talk about your one-stop-shop!
Right now the Brainerd Dispatch printed paper has an average daily readership of around 29,000 and average Sunday readership of around 42,500 (based on average circulation numbers and 2.5 readers per paper). Online, www.brainerddispatch.com gets 1.575 million page views per month with over 225,000 unique visitors each month, 87% return within the week. 83% of our online readers do not subscribe to the Brainerd Dispatch. 67% are between the ages of 25-54. It is because of statistics like these that most of our products purposely cross platforms so that our advertisers get the best of both worlds.
Your local newspaper continues to be the leading source for local news and events and typically has the largest local website within the surrounding area. With that in mind let’s look at how Search Engine Optimization works.
Wikipedia describes Search Engine Optimization in part this way: The process of improving the visibility of a website or web page in search engines “natural” or unpaid (organic or algorithmic) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page) and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s user.
As an internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how a search engine works , what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their target audience.
To crudely bubble it down: The search engines are looking for relevancy to an area or product or business – and when you are tied in to your local newspaper’s website, it’s like typing in every relevant keyword without all the effort. It pushes your company’s website higher on search results without the expense of a pay-per-click or pay-per-view program. Is this light going on?
Most newspapers now offer a digital version of their print product. The Brainerd Dispatch is just launched an iPad optimized app. Again, going digital… and that is a direct benefit to our advertisers. We are reaching more people than ever using the newest technologies and platforms.
Back to our instructor from above. Was his money wasted? Yep. Was this proof that “newspapers don’t work”? Not at all. It was proof that his ad was too small, lost within the classified section of a huge publication, never to be seen again. It wasn’t the newspapers’ fault his marketing effort was insufficient and the message not heard. It was the wrong product in the wrong placement. Had he consulted his newspaper rep for suggestions, they would have offered him cost effective solutions that he hadn’t thought of or realized existed. Our instructor thought he was the expert on how newspapers work and, well, he was wrong. So his conclusion that newspapers don’t work was, lets all say it together, wrong.
Brainerd Dispatch has people in key positions watching trends and industries to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge of providing the best local content, news, and marketing options. We value our readers and the businesses that support us in putting out the news every day. We work hard to find marketing solutions to help our local businesses stay viable in an increasingly competitive market. It’s that long-standing partnership that drives us to stay current and relevant as technologies change and opportunities evolve. And there is that word again. Evolve.
The Brainerd Dispatch is far from dead. We’ve been here over 130 years and we’ll continue to evolve.