More Revenue From Your Special Sections

More Revenue From Your Special Sections


As weekly and daily papers are looking for additional ways to increase revenues in their publications they are becoming more creative. They are beginning to look “outside of the box” to find new ways to generate sales from their special sections.


Special Sections On-Line


As the Internet captures more viewers everyday it has become a resource for finding information about almost any topic. Weekly and daily papers are beginning to use the Internet as a source to publish topical information using their special sections. It is quickly becoming a valuable add-on source to the printed version of the special section.


Many papers publish a bridal section once or twice a year. This has broad appeal to families who are preparing for a wedding in their family. The bride-to-be and her family gather ideas from the printed section to help plan the wedding. It is a great source of ideas for people who are currently planning a wedding.


However, the section holds little interest to someone who has no plans to be married anytime soon. They discard the section with the paper at the end of the week, but things change. Two months later that young woman is asked to marry the love of her life and they plan to be married in six months. She is now a bride-to-be and must begin planning her special day. If you have published your bridal section on-line and have promoted it as a continuing resource she will refer to the local on-line source to help her plan the most important day of her life. Your special bridal section continues to be a valuable source of information months after it appeared in your paper. The information in the section is now relevant to her and the local advertising on your web site becomes a resource for her to find everything she needs to plan her wedding. You are continuing to provide value to your advertisers.


This is a relatively easy “add-on” sale for your display advertising salespeople. They can sell an ad in the print version for $300 and an ad on-line for $10 or $20 a month. If the section is on-line for a year you have improved your revenue from the section by 40% to 80% using these sample rates. This provides a continuing source of revenue for as long as you decide to post the section on-line. Publishing the special section on-line is similar to publishing the Yellow pages. You publish it once and generate revenue for a year for the continued exposure to the consumer.


How long you post the section on-line depends upon the type of section and how often you publish it in your paper. If you publish a Bridal section once a year in your paper you can post the section on-line for a full year for continued exposure. A Lawn & Garden section you may only want to post for 4 – 6 months. The value wears out after the snow begins to fall. A Spring Home Improvement section is only good for 4 to 6 months if you are publishing another Home Improvement section in the fall. A Christmas Gift Guide section doesn’t hold much value after December 26th. A section you publish just once a year like Bridal, Investing, Family, Pets or Health & Fitness you can keep on-line for a full year as long as you continue to promote the on-line link in your paper and on your web site. You have to continue to drive web viewers to the special section site.


Develop a 4-Week Package in Print


I doubled and tripled the revenues from some of my special sections by adding additional weeks to the package. Instead of asking for a one-time run you can design a package price for multiple weeks. The salesperson can make one sale for multiple weeks and substantially increase revenues from the section.


After publishing the separate section once I added three additional weeks as pages within the paper with a common header and editorial about the topic throughout the pages. Of course, the additional weeks were discounted. Usually, the advertiser will run the same ad as in the separate special section reducing the composition cost.


This program works with sections that are not tied to an event with a short time span. I used it with Spring Home Improvement, Fall Home Improvement, Christmas Gift Guide and Senior sections. If you have the advertiser base this package would work well with Car Care, Restaurants and others.


The best success came with this 4-week package run when the salespeople received a bonus with every package sold. (Big surprise) The single factor that produces the best results in improving revenues in your special sections remains to be getting the sales force excited about selling the section.


Here is a quote to remember:


"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year." John Foster Dulles


Dave Baragrey is a business consultant and sales trainer for Publishers-Edge, a Special Section syndicate for print and on-line special sections, and Consulting business specifically designed to help newspapers and shopping guides.

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