Publishers Use Special Sections to Drive More Revenue
The question is whether anyone will show up in the online verticals since there is already so much financial and business chatter and the Journal Reports may have a hard time differentiating. Rout says the Reports' contents have done very well when published as individual stories on the WSJ website. Placing that content in dedicated verticals and combining it with marquee personalities and the WSJ brand may provide the necessary traction online.
Advice from the Experts
What can you do to ensure success with your special sections in print and online? Here are some tips from Publishers-Edge to help you plan special sections.
- Review the special sections from last year. If the same sections are dropping in the amount of space sold over time, it is a good idea to adjust the content or try some new ones.
- Take a look at the marketplace. What businesses have opened in the past couple of years in your area and are they advertising with your newspaper?
- Be informative. Don't waste readers' time. Provide content that they find useful.
- Feature local articles. Even if you use syndicated content, you should add paragraphs to some of the prewritten articles to localize them.
- Don't use advertorials. While it is possible to build a special section using advertorial and news releases, you have to consider the readers if you want special sections that will achieve targets year after year. Readers depend on local newspapers to provide credible material that is not biased so, if you use advertorials, it should be clearly identified or labeled near the beginning of the articles.
- Determine who will buy advertising. Make a list of the categories and businesses and forecast revenue. When you consider this, you may discover that your special section should be an ROP page or two in the paper for a few consecutive weeks instead of a separate section because the list is short and the advertisers are small (and this alternative still generates revenue).
- Develop new business. Special sections are one of the primary tools to secure new advertisers.
- Pre-design the special section. Show advertisers the publication with actual articles and photos and blanks for advertising. This helps them select the ad space they want.
- Create packages in print. Add extra weeks to the package and you can significantly increase revenues. Instead of asking for a one-time run, you can design a package price for multiple weeks.
- Put special sections online. The internet is a resource for information on every topic and newspapers are beginning to use it as a means to publish topical information using their special sections.
What new special sections have driven revenue for your publication? How have you handled the workload of producing sections? Do you wish you could produce more each year to attract advertisers?