Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finding an audience

Newspaper publishers like me have long since been made painfully aware that our business isn't what it used to be.

There was a time in Kingston, for example, when if you wanted to advertise your business, your choices were simple: the Freeman, a radio station and maybe a weekly paper.

That's all changed for reasons and in ways too many to list here -- and daily newspapers all over the country are experiencing it.

But here's something that may have been lost in the shuffle: Daily newspaper advertising, particularly in small markets such as ours, remains extremely effective. This is especially true when you realize that the paid circulation of our newspaper, like most dailies, is independently audited. That's important stuff, because we can tell you exactly how many papers we sell each day and where we sell them. Unaudited weeklies can't do that. Nor can broadcasters. Put another way, if you were buying an advertisement, wouldn't you want to be reasonably sure people were going to see it?

I think about this often, usually when I shake my head in disbelief at the advertising placement decisions made by some businessmen and women (or their ad agencies).

You want to tell me that daily papers might not reach a specific demographic, thus they're not right for advertising a specific business? I'll accept that. As I said earlier, the local media landscape has changed.

But some advertising buying decisions don't add up.

I've noticed, for instance, one local political candidate is on radio, cable TV and at least a couple of the weeklies. Nothing in the Freeman. You mean to tell me that a paid political advertisement, for instance, on days when Political Editor Hugh Reynolds' column appears won't be seen and digested by tens of thousands of readers already devoted to that page? Of course it will.

Diversifying an advertising budget makes sense. Excluding the local daily doesn't. And when it's a politician making what I'd say is an errant call, I begin to get broader doubts about his/her judgment.

Oh, by the way, between the daily paper and our on-line site, the Freeman reaches more eyeballs than ever before. As Casey Stengel used to say, you can look it up!
comments powered by Disqus

<< Home