Newspaper – A story of trust and loyalty

Nathan Fuller - The future of newspaper

There’s no denying that Newspapers have been in decline for the past 20 years.
The digital age is blamed for killing off the print versions on a daily basis and working on the digital side within a Newspaper Publishing company has been a grind in recent years as publishers scramble to find a way to replace their dwindling ad revenues in paper.

You see convincing an editor that the future is digital isn’t easy when they are responsible for ensuring that print survives. Convincing them that we should use each one to support the other is even harder. “Print is where our revenues come from!” echoes through the corridors and makes it as far as the sales teams who push that message out to customers.

The truth is that these days we are not and absolutely SHOULD NOT be a newspaper publisher, we are a News Publisher, a truly Multi Media Business.

When i say this a lot of people turn to me and say “So you’re taking people from paper to digital I get that!”

Actually no, we’re not taking anyone from paper to digital I want them to use both and within a regional model as opposed to a national one, newspaper still has an important part to play.

Readers are very loyal to a newspaper. More so than a website in fact.

If your friend shares a link on facebook and says “Read this!” you’ll click the link, read the article and not even notice what site it took you off to. If a friend passes you a national newspaper and says “Read this!”, you’ll usually look at what paper it is and then either read it or not based on what paper they passed you. For example if a colleague passes you a copy of the Sun and says read this article, you are more likely to dismiss it than if it was in the Times even though they are sister titles and preach the same message.

Newspaper readership has a trust in it’s brand. Regional newspapers in particular have a readership that knows the brand and trusts it ahead of most National publishers. This trust is something that regional newspapers have long used to help in its sales and marketing, and rightly so.

In these uncertain times for the newspaper industry it is imperative that we get back in front of our customers and enforce the message that we still have the trust of the local people and that we can push their message out now, more so than ever.

How can we say that with falling readership?
Easily! We stop talking as a newspaper and start talking as a News Publisher!
Our readership is not dropping, perhaps our print circulation is, but certainly not readership.
We show them our true figures and reach, which is now higher than it has ever been and growing month on month!
We show them the customers they can reach via print, the customers they will reach via display advertising online. The very people they want to target by age, sex and location can be reached by our social media platforms. We show them that we ARE still the best chance they have of promoting their products and services locally to the people they want to hit.

I’d still argue that Newspaper and Internet Advertising is more effective than tv and radio advertising, unless you have the multi-million pound budget of the big players

You see when a customer places a tv or radio advert, it plays whether there is someone watching or listening or not, that budget is getting eaten away even if nobody is paying attention. Our internet adverts ONLY get displayed when there is someone sat in front of the device browsing. Our print ads stand out from a page when a reader is flicking through a newspaper.

Digital advertising can be tailored to the clients requests. I don’t just mean message and visual, I mean that if our customer is wanting to target Females between the age of 25 and 35 in a 5 mile radius of their premises we can do that these days.

Some sales staff complain that there are too many different things to sell these days?
When did that become a problem? Does that not raise the opportunity?
Can we not view a digital ad as just another sized advert? An all singing all dancing advert that can display only when our desired audience is sat in front of a device?

In my experience it is not the products that are a problem it is the sales teams confidence in their own ability to understand and sell those products. Largely due to reductions in training and concise marketing material.

In the newspaper industry our sales teams are the keystone to success. Educate them, train them and reward them for bringing in the business and they are more likely to give you the results you desire.

Newsprint is not dead, it is in decline. It is down to us in the industry and our sales teams to identify new opportunities. Print revenues for many regionals still outweigh digital but there will come a time when those revenues cross over, this shouldn’t frighten our newsrooms and directors it should excite them. We can now provide solutions that fit every part of our Advertisers requirements. Packaging print and digital will see them get their best results ever and we can now gauge response better than ever.

There will be news long after newsprint and all we have to do is continue producing great news in order to maintain our reach. Remember we are in the business of news not just newspapers, our audiences are growing and our ad solutions improving . . . . . tell your sales teams and tell your customers.

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