Impressive income, flexible schedule, plenty of time off and freedom from an annoying boss for successful newspaper publishers, all this is captured in one, all-important word:
Advertising renewals is the key to the dream life in the world of newspaper publishing. Renewals work like this: new advertisers typically sign a contract to place their ad in a predetermined number of issues. Once the contracted issues have been published, the advertiser can decide if she wants to continue for additional issues. If she does, then she renews her contract.
For example, lets say that your new client Dr. Jones decides to advertise with you in three consecutive issues. Dr. Jones pays the contract rate for those three issues and hopes for an acceptable response so that her business will grow. As the papers circulate, you are pleased to discover along with Dr. Jones that her phone is ringing; new patients are taking advantage of her services. Dr. Jones is very pleased because her business is growing and she is making a difference in peoples lives.
What is the likelihood that Dr. Jones will renew her advertising contract? Barring unforeseen circumstances, it is a virtual certainty. After her initial three issues Dr. Jones informs you that she not only plans to renew, but would like to receive a slightly better rate by signing on for six issues this time. You fax over the contract.
Notice that in order to generate new revenue for your business, you didnt have to spend time prospecting a new client. Multiply this phenomenon by even a small factor and youve got the business of your dreams. It doesnt take many clients like Dr. Jones to create a business that is self-sustaining and even self-growing.
If you have a high renewal rate for your publication, you enjoy ongoing business without needing to spend the time prospecting new customers. For each issue, you accept renewals and replace those clients who drop out with an equal or larger number of new clients who have seen your publication and want to get involved (incidentally, the most effective marketing vehicle for a newspaper is the newspaper itself).
Why do some publications enjoy high renewal rates? Because their advertisers are happy, simply put. This usually means they are making a return on their investment. Several key factors make this possible:
Relevant, Readable Editorial
For a newspaper to become popular, readers must value its content. Publications that are full of boring or irrelevant material do not last. A good publication will create demand among local readers who grow to anticipate each new issue. When readers benefit from the editorial content, they will want to support the publication by using the products and services offered by advertisers.
It doesnt matter how good your editorial or ad content is if you cant get your publication into the hands of not only readers, but the right readers. The most common mistake many small publishers make is misunderstanding the science of proper distribution.
It is not uncommon for publishers to waste up to 40% of their product because of poor distribution methods. Effective distribution is CRITICAL to success, paying dividends well beyond the additional effort requited to do it well. Even if you give away gold, people need to know about it before they can take advantage of the offer.
Most publications simply sell ads to their clients. Can you also imagine being able to offer your clients several additional methods to promote their business at no extra cost to them? Not only are they motivated to maintain their ad, but youve also given them additional reasons to keep their business with you. Adding on real value to your service makes you an indispensable resource to your clients.
Applying the above principles effectively creates a very interesting scenario in which a full-time income on a part-time or very flexible schedule is an actual possibility. Getting there requires a certain tenacity and plenty of hard work, mixed with a healthy dose of technical support and critical industry knowledge.
For those who catch the vision, the life of a publisher is a dream come true.