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3 Ways Widgets Can Help Local Newspapers.

Posted by Dan Vigil on December 22, 2007

Assuming you’ve read my post “what is a widget?”, and you now know what a “widget” is, lets take look at how local newspapers can use widgets.

Some of the major newspapers have jumped headstrong into widget development already. The New York Times has created a widget for their crossword puzzle, The Washington Post has a widget for viewing photos and keeping track of 2008 campaign issues, and a stock market tracking widget is available from the Wall Street Journal. We’ve seen less from the more local publications who have much more to gain. It’s true that the business model is not yet clear for widgets and none of major news sites have made any money from their widgets, but here’s some clear opportunities widgets present to local newspapers.

1.Branding:

Besides allowing newspapers to draw in new readers, widgets can be used to create mini local news kiosks on other community web sites. Chamber sites could incorporate widgets with local business news, High School sites can get feeds from Prep-sports. it’s just a matter of time before some local newspaper comes up with the perfect tool or game that “catches on” in the community through widgets which can be easily copied and shared on-line. Regardless of whether or not they read the newspaper or visit the newspaper site, the newspaper’s brand is boosted by being exposed on the widget skin.

2. Advertising:

Widgets can be sponsored by local advertisers. It’s like placing your logo or advertising message on a video game console, your message is in front of the user while they’re using the widget. A pet store might sponsor a “pet finder” widget or a local dealership might sponsor a “sports scoreboard” widget. Newspapers can even be involved in helping advertisers create their own widgets to share important information that they have to share. We’ve already begun to see classifieds widgets with local auto and real estate listings.

3. Promotions & Events:

Newspapers can team up with local advertisers to offer promotions revolving around game widgets. Advertisers can deliver special coupons or deals to these local kiosks on other sites. Widgets can be designed around local community events. The “Tournament Of Roses” widget or the “Western Days” widget might be used for delivering content on local events.

The opportunities to benefit from widgets are only beginning for local newspapers. While steady declines in circulation and print advertising have continued to plague newspapers, widgets are a way to reach out to new, younger users online, who might not otherwise come to a local newspaper’s web site.

“The Word Is Alive”

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