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    14 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2010 12:49 AM by Hymesdesign

    Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers

    seogodfather Newbie
      We are looking to start a small local news paper that will be placed in business waiting areas and restaurants/coffee shops. The format of the paper is clean and very professional offering local news, oddities, comics and few word games. I will be publishing a new copy once a week and currently we are scheduled to produce 2500 copies the first week. They will be placed in 30+ locations. I have 35 places for advertisers and need to get those places filled. The first question I have for you all, is, how much would a 1.5 x 2" image/text ad be worth to you as business owners. Advertisers will be given exclusivity, so no other business in the same industry will be listed in the same publication. Also, because our news letter is small it is sure to be read cover to cover.
      Second question: How should I approach businesses for advertising?
      Any input you can give me would be very helpful. Thank you.

      ~g
        • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
          marktingcoach Newbie
          Hi and good luck with your new business!

          May I suggest that you look at this from a different point of view.? You asked what we would be willing to pay, but that answers you are going to get mean very little. What if we are willing to pay less than what it costs you to keep a profitable business running? What if I am willing to pay a particular rate, but the businesses in your area wouldn't go near that?

          My suggestion is that you first determine what you have to charge -- based on the 35 available spots -- so you can pay your costs, salaries (including yours), and your desired profit. Now you have to determine if the companies around you see sufficient benefit to paying that rate. If not, then you have to change one of the parameters so it works, i.e. lower expenses, increase exposure and benefits, etc.

          As for your second question, I would have a sample of the newsletter (the closer to the actual thing, the better) and approach businesspeople who you already have relationships with. When you talk with them about advertising, be sure you are talking about the meaningful benefits that they are going to get -- and "more exposure" is not one of them. The benefits have to show more value than the rate that you are asking them to pay. By having this figured out before you start selling, your closing ratio is going to be a good deal greater than if you just expect that people will want to advertise in your publication.

          By the way, would this publication be "Coffee News"?

          Good luck!

          Peter George, The Marketing Coach
            • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
              seogodfather Newbie
              Thank you for your answer! You are very right about changing the perspective I was asking the question from. I see what you mean and it makes good sense. This is not the Coffee News, but, I have had a few people say that it is a lot like it. I took a look at that paper just the other day and its nice, but, the format and stories were not captivating to me. I actually didn't know about that publication before I started this project and I was a little setback when i first looked at it, but, our news letter will have a totally different flair, presentation and content. So,hopefully we will not be stepping on each others toes to much.
              In regards to your answer about aquiring new customers, I think you really hit the nail on the head. I have been in business for many years, but, this is a totally different industry then I am familiar with. Thanks for your help.

              ~g
                • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                  marktingcoach Newbie
                  You're welcome, and I hope this helps. I'm glad to hear that you are not discouraged by the existence of Coffee News. Whenever you get into a new endeavor, you discover things that sometimes set you aback, but that's no reason to stop. A good product with a good plan can always survive and flourish in the appropriate marketplace.

                  I owned a very successful publishing company for 15 years, so if you ever need some advice from a marketer who knows publishing as well, let me know.

                  Good luck!

                  Peter George, The Marketing Coach

                  ThinkTouchPoints.com
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                  seogodfather Newbie
                  Thank you for your answer! You are very right about changing the
                  perspective I was asking the question from. I see what you mean and
                  it makes good sense. This is not the Coffee News, but, I have had a
                  few people say that it is a lot like it. I took a look at that paper
                  just the other day and its nice, but, the format and stories were not
                  captivating to me. I actually didn't know about that publication
                  before I started this project and I was a little setback when i first
                  looked at it, but, our news letter will have a totally different flair,
                  presentation and content. So,hopefully we will not be stepping on each
                  others toes to much.
                  In regards to your answer about aquiring new customers, I think you
                  really hit the nail on the head. I have been in business for many
                  years, but, this is a totally different industry then I am familiar
                  with. Thanks for your help.

                  ~g
                • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                  LUCKIEST Guide
                  How soon or how close are you to starting this newspaper. Where are you located??
                  Marktingcoach has some good answers. Each of us think independently, so you could get a great
                  assortment of answers. Have you developed a BUSINESS and MARKETING PLAN??.
                  Instead of asking what a text ad is worth. you should do a CASH FLOW and see how much income
                  you need to cover expenses.
                  To answer your second question, How should you approach businesses for advertising?
                  That is part of the Business Plan. You can get additional business help from SCORE.
                  You can visit SCORE in person or online and it is FREE.
                  Hope this helps, LUCKIEST
                  • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger

                    As a potential advertiser, I'd ask you to describe the audience you are targeting with your paper. If you told me "Everyone," I'd lose interest immediately. However, if you described a demographic that closely matched my customer base, I'd ask to see the unique content you are providing that specifically appeals to that group, and that no one else has (i.e., the news, stories, and info that would cause my potential customers to pick this up and look at it every week).

                    Okay, let's assume you showed me that and I was still interested. Right now, a year's worth of the same small ad (fifty-two placements) in an established publication that matches my customer demographic costs me about a dollar per actual reader for the year. So the MAXIMUM I'd pay for the type of weekly print ad you describe is $50 a month (but since you'd have a new publication rather than an established one, I might not pay that much, and I sure wouldn't commit to more than a couple of months initially).

                    Others may have a different expectation for their print advertising, but that's mine and I hope it gives you something specific to go on. Best wishes!
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                        seogodfather Newbie
                        Great insight! Thank you, I will tell you a little bit more of my thought process.
                        We have 35 places for advertising. All ads are the same size and offer exclusivity to each customer in each industry. Prices for our ads will start out at $45/week and if 3 months are purchased in advance the cost works out to $35/week. Our target "reader" is the middle aged business person or lunch patron. This paper will not appeal to children or even the younger audience because it is not overly flashy in order to keep our printing cost down. The quality and reputation of our publication are what will bring the average business class person back to read again. A few of the unique things we're trying to do is offer the local community the chance to contribute by writing articles, taking pictures and drawing cartoons or anything of that nature. We really want it to have a close to home connection unlike some of the competitors. Any more suggestions would be most helpful.
                          • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                            smallbizcoach Newbie
                            SEOGodfather -

                            Boy, are you asking the right guy. LOL!

                            We started something just as you described but in newspaper format over 1.5 years ago. It has been okay, but didn't get us rich quick. We have at least broken even every month and made some other months. We publish 10,000 copies every month and distribute it to over 100 places.

                            While it looks sweet on the outside, it is tougher than you can imagine. Everyone has an excuse NOT to advertise in your paper. We were even giving everyone full color ads for the same price of b/w and 75% cheaper than our competitor and they still whine. They will want to know specific demographics, how you plan to distribute, what it will look like, how many of them, can you guarantee that number, etc. They will advertise with you then 2 months later will tell you that it doesn't work and will want out of any contract. If you don't let them out of their contract then you are the bad guy and word travels. The list goes on and on.

                            When we started out, we were publishing twice a month. It was a chore. Now we are monthly and it is very manageable with a staff of 3. The worst thing you could do is start weekly then move it to bi-monthly or monthly. It will kill your business. You are better off starting bi-monthly or monthly and then increasing frequency. It will show that people like your publication. Also, with weekly...you never have any time off because you are always getting the next issue ready.

                            Also, a word of warning. If you have anything remotely close to CoffeeNews, you will be sued. It's a fact. They go after anyone and everyone. I would hate to see you build up a business only to lose it later or spend all of your profits on an attorney.

                             

                            Best of luck!

                             

                            Aaron
                              • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                                micropub Newbie

                                Hi Smallbizcoach;

                                How is your enterprise doing? I too want to publish a small paper, somewhere between a Coffee News and a Tidbits. I had planned to start with 1 sheet tabloid 4/4. The cost, while not great, still scared me. I then decided I would do something along the lines of Coffee News- that is 11 x 17 high speed copied. Build interest, readers and advertisers then move to the larger full color publication.

                                You state that it is a fact that Coffee News will sue anyone who tries to publish something similar. Do you personally know of this happening somewhere? I ask this respectfully and hope I don't come off the wrong way. I read a post on some forum somewhere stating that they bragged of this on thier website. But that was back in 06. I am thinking maybe they toned it down some one thier site. I found one instance of them suing someone. I read the court papers and it sure seemed like the guy deserved it. I am a bit nervous of this happening. There are several Coffee News publishers near me. My understanding is that you cannot copyright an idea and my publication will look very different but I still wonder if they might try something. Its not that I feel i am stealing anything but like some one else said "anyone can sue anyone for anything"
                                IP litigation is costly.

                                Anyway if anyone is publishing these types of papers I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts you would care to share.
                                • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                                  JustForHalibu Newbie
                                  Hi,

                                  How do you know that Coffee News will go after similar publications legally? They can't own paper size and distribution. They can only own their name, right?
                            • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                              LT Lawn Care Wayfarer
                              I agree with you - coffee news is a bit boring. What you need to do is break down your advertising cost to a cost per impression CPM. I was looking to to local advertising here in Baltimore and everyone was giving me CPM prices. For a free publication, I think you want to have an initial CPA of 15 cents or less. So if your circulation is 2500 pieces, as a business owner I'd pay no more than $37 for an ad.
                              • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                                amynwesley Adventurer
                                Since there hasn't been an answer posted here since November i wasn't sure whether or not you were still watching this forum but i would still like to introduce myself just in case by some small chance you are. My name is Amy Wesley. I am owner and CEO of Nickels and Dimes Advertising. We create and sell advertising as well. The selling portion is namely for our newsletter,Nickels and Dimes. I see that you have started up your own newspaper and wanted to follow up with you just to see how its doing. Perhaps we can exchange a few emails and some valuable advice. Feel free to check out my website, www.nickelsanddimes.biz and email me with any questions you may have.
                                • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                                  karaoke loco Newbie
                                  Have you tried your local chamber of commerce? Also, hit the phone books and look for printers. Not printers for computers, but graphic printers who do business cards, posters and flyers.
                                  • Re: Starting a small local news paper and need advertisers
                                    Hymesdesign Adventurer
                                    two minor pieces of advice i thought i might give, one, it's probably worth looking into offering an online version of your publication maybe for a small subscription fee as they will have the archives to browse at any time. two, when looking for a printer don't settle after looking at one or two you never know who might need the business enough to offer you ridiculous rates etc.