More Advice for Newspapers

This time from Robin Miller on the Online Journalism Review site. He recommends:

  • A local events calendar, which is comprehensive. I agree, local events (like much of local) was previously “owned” by the newspapers and was a long-neglected sub-vertical in local. But now it’s very competitive with sites like Zvents trying to be the semi-white label calendar solution for newspapers.
  • Push harder into local video. I also agree here. This can be done by training reporters but also outsourcing to some degree (e.g., TurnHere). Video is increasingly important, but it also must be done thoughtfully and with quality. Many newspapers are beating local TV at their own game in video (as she recommends).
  • Hire semi-professional local “stringers” and recruit local bloggers to expand the writing staff and reach more deeply into the local community. This is a complex topic, but inclusion of more community generally in newspaper sites (or sites developed by newspapers) is a must.
  • Ad sales issues. This is a complex area. But one of Miller’s suggestions is about local coupons, which the print editions obviously do very well. This is an opportunity that isn’t yet “owned” by an online player. ShopLocal (which offers circulars online) is owned by the newspapers but there’s a great opportunity that has yet to be tapped here for the newspapers.

I have many more high-level and very specific suggestions for newspapers on the various pages of this blog. But in the industry there’s no shortage of strategy and advice; the problem is risk adversity and culture/execution challenges.


Related: Online newspaper sites see continued readership/user growth.


2 Responses to “More Advice for Newspapers”

  1. Mike Orren Says:

    Robin’s a “he.”

  2. earlpearl Says:

    I was doing some significant searching on big ticket sales items in local regions such as cars, home repair etc. The serps are often dominated by very strong verticals and/or IYP’s.

    Alternatively look at some other regional items/products/services that don’t command heavy local advertising…..and the serps are more wide open.

    Local/regional/city/metro newspapers start out w/ strong opportunities for serps placement. I’d put some effort into strengthening serps and emphasizing optimization for the items that have traditionally driven newpaper advertising across the board and similarly dominate all local advertising media.

    At the very least that keeps newpapers into the existing advertising sources that they long dominated and with which they are very familiar. Not a cure all but one of several steps that enables them to hold onto shrinking ad revenues–with which they are familiar.

    And as long as they are working the web…..they ought to boost their web departments monitoring progress across the board in social media. What an evolving changing dynamic landscape. But cripes newspapers were out there first w/ letters to the editor. In some cases those are still dynamic sections of newspapers. Robin references that.

    Newspapers better open up to the web world looking at what they have done best….and seeing how the web has encroached into those areas….and then experiment, experiment, experiment to grasp at what works and what doesn’t.


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