Newspaper marketing: Powerful reach with community support

Published 7:47 am Monday, August 14, 2017

By Melissa Swenson

Publisher, Detroit Lakes Newspapers

A while back, I had a conversation with a local business owner. He told me that no one reads the newspaper anymore, and he would no longer be spending any advertising dollars with us. He also stated that he didn’t need us to get his advertising message out with our digital offerings either because he could simply use social media to get his message out much more effectively.

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I let him talk, but also attempted to engage him with statistics from unbiased research institutes to prove to him that newspapers still had the power to help him and his business. He wouldn’t listen, none of it mattered. To him, newspapers were dead, and we were about to go the way of the dinosaur.

I’ll be honest — I may have thought, “What a young whippersnapper – you can’t tell this generation anything!” But alas, you can lead a horse to water … you know the saying.

If the “whippersnapper” had listened to me, I would have told him that newspapers are evolving, not entering extinction. We still provide outstanding local and regional coverage of the areas that we serve. We continue to help grow local business by creating innovative, impactful print ads, and we are still considered the most trustworthy source of advertising information in all of media. In fact, a recent study by MarketingSherpa shows print ads (both newspaper and magazine), out-perform social media in the trustworthiness category nearly 2 to 1 over any other source. Print ads score at 82 percent, social media marketing at 43 percent.

There is so much more I could write about here —how all marketing vehicles are valuable to your business, how different marketing vehicles fit different types of businesses — I just don’t have the space (or probably your attention span) to do so. The point is this:  We are changing to serve your needs. We aren’t just print advertising and print journalism; we have a strong digital presence that can partner with your business to provide the best of both worlds. Plus, when you spend your advertising dollars with us, you support a local business, with local employees, who spend those dollars at local businesses. You support a business that provides local news and event coverage of the communities that we serve …all of which brings in more potential customers to your business.

One last note on the whippersnapper. About two months after he told me he no longer needed newspaper, he called me up again—this time to tell me that he was expanding his business, and he couldn’t do it without us. He needed the support of the local newspaper to make sure his expansion would be successful. He needed us to write the articles necessary to fill people in on what he was trying to do with the expansion. Everyone reads the paper, he said; if you don’t publish the articles, I may as well not even bother trying.

This is a true story. Support your local newspaper. We are an integral part of a successful business community. Just ask the whippersnapper.