Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

The Case For Special Section Sites

Posted by Dan Vigil on December 5, 2007

One of the first “secrets” I discovered while working in print is that special sections were great revenue generators. Whether it was a glossy tab type publication or just a couple of banner pages within the paper, it gave me something to talk to the client about. A reason to make the phone call is all I needed. The editorial staff, in my opinion, did not really enjoy creating the special sections. Especially sections like the wedding guide or local event guides. Often times they would simply pull out the content from last year’s guide and rehash it to get the section out. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell the difference from last years section when you’re looking for a sample to show advertisers.

Being new to the industry, I was quite intrigued by the special sections sales process especially by the execs that had been around for a while. Everything seems to start with the special sections calendar which the Sales Exec reviews and notices that there’s a section coming up. The exec immediately starts looking around the office for last years section which he or she takes over to the advertiser who was in it last year and says “you were in it last year, do you want to advertise again?” and that’s the extent of the sales process. They hardly ever get 100% participation prospecting that way so each year the section generates less and less advertising.

Many of these special sections focus on billion dollar industries like the bridal industry, for example. Rather than put the section up on-line as a PDF version of the print product, how about creating a bridal section on-line which updates every week or even once a month? Now you’ve got something to talk to the advertiser about.

Where the newspaper may not be reaching the younger crowd, the web is. Taking the bridal example, we know that most weddings are planned by women 6 months to a year out so we are trying to catch the attention of 1/2 of those 18-34 year olds who are on-line and in the planning stages of the wedding. What better place to advertise that on-line right next to fresh wedding-related content that updates weekly. The print piece, which targets an older demographic, delivers the second punch. These are the people who are actually paying for the wedding –Mom and Dad.

So the happy couple reads the ideas on-line next to the ad and takes those ideas to mom and dad who are reading the print piece in the paper. Sprinkle in some well placed loss leader ROP ads during wedding season and you’ve got yourself a knockout campaign for successful bridal advertising.

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One Response to “The Case For Special Section Sites”

  1. music said

    very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

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