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Entries for May 2012

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By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The final meeting during last week’s West Coast Innovation Mission was a two-hour exchange to share top takeaways from the trip and to develop a list of follow up items.

Top Takeaways included:
  • Google surveys: at least eight of the attendees were going to sign up right away to start using this revenue-producing product (click here more details)
  • Almost everyone in the group is going to identity the hottest opportunities in their market using the Borrell Compass report when they get home and then develop plans to exploit them.
  • Many are going to launch digital agency services in the very near future.
  • All are going to consider strategic partnerships. As one attendee said, “we are the pretty girl at the dance right now, everyone wants to dance with us”. For many, the Google opportunities were of great interest.
  • Several are going to certify their sales team to sell Google AdWords.
  • The group thinks that we need to come together more as an industry and work together on more projects.
  • Many want to incorporate e-commerce strategies beyond deals as a result of what they learned from fellow attendee Eric Bright from Deseret Digital.
  • Many are going to make changes to their culture as a result of attending the meetings with Google and Fisher. They liked the cohesive team atmosphere at Fisher and the TGIF meetings at Google in particular.
  • “Show print some love.” There needs to be more of a balance and we need to innovate on the print side too (message came from three different presentations).
  • Most are going to step up their social strategies on both the audience and advertising side.
The full report, complete with all of the top takeaways will be available in the next few weeks. Contact Tanya Henderson to order your copy (

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Adam Burnham, Digital First

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Journal Register Company is now in the very top tier when it comes to percent of total advertising coming from digital, surpassing even the McClatchy Company's impressive 22%. This has happened in a short time (less than three years) since John Paton declared that the company would follow a "digital-first" strategy.

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By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Innovation Mission attendees are visiting Google’s world headquarters today in Sunnyvale, Ca. In addition to the many media partnership opportunities, attendees also wanted to learn about the tremendous culture of innovation that exists. Chris Connelly from Google’s “People Operations” provided an inspiring session to open the day.

When the company went public in 2004, Google’s founder proclaimed “We are not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." The company grew from 3,000 to 33,000 employees since that time and they have been successful at maintaining an enviable culture that is based on freedom, teamwork and idea sharing.

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Attendees from the West Coast Innovation Mission have been asked to provide some of their top takeaways and thoughts on what they’ve experienced during this week-long innovation tour.

Dan Easton photo
Dan Easton

From Dan Easton, Co-Publisher, Victoria Advocate

  • Need to look at social channels beyond Facebook and Twitter.
  • Focus on what video content works online - not all of it works, and it's relatively costly to do.
  • Display real-time analytics in the newsroom to provide immediate feedback on what is driving traffic.
Joe Boydston photo
Joe Boydston

From Joe Boydston, Vice President of Technology and New Media, Daily Republic

  • Wikipedia: Innovation is the process of making improvements to something established by introducing something better and, as a consequence, new.
  • AT&T holdings delivers on this by combining its technology, brand and business model based on scarcity.
  • The take away for me was inspired by a comment by @cleepost : we need to determine if it makes sense for us to pursue a partnership that provides lower net, but higher margin products. Does this compliment or distract from our goals?
  • AT&T technology and positioning is compelling. My question is : Does a national directory offering add durable value to our brand?

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Nick Burgoyne, Executive Director, Business Development, YP .com pictured with Ben Shaw, Chief Digital Officer, Shaw Suburban Media

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


The West Coast Innovation Mission attendees spent the morning visiting with senior executives from, formerly AT&T Interactive. Their company sells over $1 billion dollars in digital revenue on their 170 online and mobile sites and apps. They have 75 million monthly uniques on and users conduct over 2 billion annual searches.

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Highly Innovative Team at Black Press

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The Innovation Mission spent most of the day on Tuesday visiting with top executives from Black Press's Canadian division. This highly innovative company makes no apologies for the value that they put on print. They shared their top revenue ideas (both print and digital) and hosted an inspiring day. Highlights from the visit include:

• President & COO Rick O'Connor told the group " we are not in the digital advertising agency business -it’s a distraction that we don’t need”

• They purchased a site a few years ago: that now boasts 1.3 million UV’s per month and rivals Kijiji and Craigslist. It is a free classified site that makes money via upsells, banners, sponsorships and affiliate programs. Visit for an example. All of the sites are localized by town. This is a very successful digital product for them. 

• Events are huge for them, especially those focused on community leaders. A new one, "100 most influential people" is also driving a lot of revenue. 

• Contests are also huge for them. Recent ones include: "Win a Sick Civic" and "The Intern" (similar to The Apprentice)

• Their guiding principle: “The customer is the center of our focus”

• Eight free dailies that were launched a few years ago are doing very well, especially in suburban markets

• They instituted pay walls (they don't like that term - they call them e-subscriptions) for all of their paid products and in many cases the print circulation also increased as a result. They do NOT use the metered pay wall approach - it is "cold turkey". 


Next up: AT&T Interactive and Using Borrell Compass Reports to Drive Revenue

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Dave Schmall, Director of Digital Development, Swift Communications; Emily Walsh-Parry, MultiMedia Publisher, The Observer Group with Ioana Straeter, Executive Director, WAN-IFRA.

IM West attendees on the start of a week-long tour of innovation!

Travis Mayfield From Fisher Communications delivering a very passionate session on audience development and using tools of social media.

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by Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Session two at Fisher Communications focused on content strategies. Their mantra is "original, unique, shareable".

Highlights include:

They are agnostic and will put their content anywhere (like pinterest for example)

They suggest adding photos to your Facebook postings; will result in more shares, likes and views.

"Time wasters are OK too". Some of their most viewed stories are just interesting (and may not even be tied to the local market. Example: Dick Clark's Flintstones style house for sale).

They provided iPhones to all of their field crews (over 150 company wide) to send in photos and videos. After massive training (how to use the iPhone), it "just took off". Training was critical.

Another mantra that they preach: "the biggest driver of new audience is the audience that we already have".

They credit "real time analytics from Google" for helping with the culture change in the newsroom (showing which stories are getting the most views).

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the day.


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By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


Innovation Mission attendees are spending much of today at Fisher Communications in Seattle. This highly innovative media company owns over 125 local web sites and 13 TV stations in the Pacific Northwest.

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Pictured from left:  Samantha Johnston, Executive Director, Colorado Press Association; Kimberly Wilson, President and Publisher,  Schurz Communications/The South Bend Tribune; Susan Cantrell, Vice President, Sales and Advertising, Lawrence Journal-World and Eric Bright, Vice President of E-Commerce, Deseret Digital Media


By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The Local Media Innovation Mission officially kicked off yesterday in Seattle with twenty senior level local media executives. Afternoon sessions featured key takeaways from the recent WAN-IFRA study tour and World Advertising Conference presented by Local Media Association president Nancy Lane and WAN-IFRA Executive Director, Publishing and Advertising, Ioana Strater.

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The Local Media Innovation Alliance April Report, SoLoMo, is a fascinating case study coming out of Morris Communications. 

SoLoMo stands for Social, Local, Mobile - and it is getting a lot of attention these days. Our report author Shannon Kinney spent a few days with the team in Savannah, GA, to understand it better and participate in related advertiser workshops.

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What is the magic number when it comes to digital sales reps? That was the big question during Local Media Association’s webinar with Borrell Associates titled:  Assessing Local Digital Sales Forces.  During the webinar Pete Conti, Executive Vice President, answered the question and presented some interesting statistics.

* There are some 80,000+  local account executives (24K+ in Newspapers; 16k+ in Radio; 15k+ in Directories; and 7k+ in TV and Pureplay)
* The percentage of local account executives selling digital (85% in Newspapers; 80% in Directories; 75% in TV and 25% in Radio)
* Newspapers have a higher percentage of dedicated digital reps (more than TV  and Radio)

So how many reps do you need?  In many cases just having one dedicated person selling digital can make a huge difference.  When asked, Conti said that on average, one dedicated digital sales rep can bring in between $175-$200,000.

Starting salaries for digital account executives average $44,000; the median is $35,000. To access the full report and receive a discount as an LMA member visit

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

From the presentation ‘Boost Your Revenues by Turning-on Your Sales People’
Presented by: Pason Gaddis, President & Group Publisher, Florida Weekly

Pason Gaddis photo
Pason Gaddis

4 Simple Steps to Creating a World Class Team

  1. Culture - Create an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
    • Allow your self-starters to grow.
    • Be a champion of team work.
    • Provide the support necessary for sales staff to be successful.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The Power of Print

Revenue Summit Charter photo
Gareth Charter talking with Thomas Byrd, President/COO, Independent Newsmedia Inc. after his presentation.

Charter kicked off the session with this announcement, "Two of our weeklies just published the largest billing issues in their history. The Landmark - $100,946 and Milbury-Sutton Chronicle - $18,013. Average issue for The Landmark is $20,000."

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Bruce Faulmann photo
Bruce Faulmann

From Bruce Faulmann, VP Sales & Marketing, Tampa Bay Times

Seller Comp Plan – Key Performance Indicators: they influence behavior & drive performance. “No more than 5 KPI’s”:

  • They measure active accounts (# per month- ranges from 15 to 40+)
  • New account growth (# per month – ranges from 1 -7)
  • Customer retention – 80% is the goal from month to month (the # that advertised last month that also advertised this month)
  • Revenue diversification – any healthy business does this - % print and % digital/everything else. It is a custom # for each rep.

Performance to budget: 4 KPI’s: +45%; 3 KPI’s: +20%; 2 KPI’s -10%; 1 KPI -20%; 0 KPI -25%. If they miss their budget but make all 4 KPI’s, he pays them $850.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

Matt Coen photo
Matt Coen

From the Session ‘Evolving Opportunities with Deals, Promotions and Contests’
Presented by Matt Coen, President, Second Street

Online promotions will continue to grow and will outpace other forms of online advertising in the next several years. Promotions are all about the ability for people to interact with businesses in their market; it’s what the advertisers want.

Benefits of a successful online promotion include:

  • Increases awareness / builds audience
  • Generates ad revenue / develops sponsors
  • Collects email addresses / grows user database

Promotion Opportunities to Consider:

  • Sponsored contests (football winner picks, wedding contests, cutest kids, pizza payoff, lucky dog photos, etc).
  • Client-centric agency contests tied to advertisers’ Facebook pages. The local publication makes these contests work by providing a turnkey program to individual businesses that includes design, promotion and tracking services.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Revenue Summit Attendees photo

At the start of the second day, Mike Blinder asked attendees to share their top take aways/action items from the first day. More than 20 hands shot up immediately to share with the group. In no particular order, these were the top ones:

  1. Start a new business development team and hire hunters (many mentioned this in reference to Chris Edward's presentation from Cedar Rapids - featured yesterday on this site)
  2. Have your sales reps collect video testimonials from their clients and share them at the weekly sales meeting. This came from Jim Doyle's "8 to be Great". Jim is the top sales trainer to the TV industry.
  3. Many liked the iPad app that Brainworks showcased during the working lunch. It is designed for sales reps and features a location-based map that shows them businesses in the area that are and are not advertising with the paper. Helps with prospecting while on the road.
  4. Big format banner ads coming out of Europe (from Nancy Lane's presentation on WAN-IFRA study tour) - many are eager to experiment with them
  5. Add more digital expertise to their team (came from several presentations)
  6. Have the sales team write their own job descriptions and work with each rep on a new business development plan
  7. Getting back to sales basics with the account executives (attendees expressed their plans in a number of ways)

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

Session Focused on 8 Hot Trends from Recent WAN-IFRA tour

Nancy Lane photo
Nancy Lane

Revenue Summit attendees were intrigued and inspired by some of the top trends coming out of the most innovative media houses in Europe. Lane's top takeaways included:

  1. Multi-Channel Offerings are the Norm
  2. European Media Houses Are Making Huge Investments in Mobile & Tablets
  3. Sales Structure – Digital Experts Support Sales Teams
  4. Home Page Rules – Beautiful Design; Impressive Revenue Results
  5. Editorial Supports 360 Advertising Strategies
  6. Social Strategies Focus on Facebook
  7. Print is Important; Leverage It to Grow Digital
  8. Increased Investment in Video or “TV”

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Chris Edwards photo
Chris Edwards

From Chris Edwards, VP Sales/Customer Care, SourceMedia (Cedar Rapids, IA - newspaper and broadcast brands)

New Business Development Team formed in early 2011:

  • Prospect and sell non-customers only
  • Transition new accounts to the legacy teams
  • Work as a “hit squad” for projects, new markets and new product launches

The Good:

  • Drove an average of 11 new clients per month; 27% bought multiple products
  • Created better working relationships between the teams (legacy reps started asking for their help on sales calls)
  • Special section revenue was up in every pub
  • Vendor tab revenue was up
  • Created a pub designed to re-introduce them to surrounding small markets
  • Provided the best feedback on new products
  • Cross Roads – small town focus on fringe of circ area went from $2,500 to over $50,000 in advertising revenue; these areas also did over $20,000 in net “deals” revenue in 2011
  • 64% of deals revenue was sold by new biz reps (they declared no account protection for daily deals when it started to get tough to fill the pipeline). Gary’s Food was the 2nd largest deal in Second Street’s network at the time (small grocer) that grossed $97,000. Legacy reps started teaming up with new biz reps on deals and splitting commissions.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Steve Waterhouse photo
Steve Waterhouse

From the keynote address:
Turbo Charge Your Sales Team: How to Get the Best Out of Your Sales People
Presented by: Steve Waterhouse
, President, Waterhouse Group & Predictive Results

Actions of winners:

  • Winners do the right thing.
  • Winners have a plan (ask your sales reps to show you their plan for the week – if they don’t, send them home to develop their plan and tell them to come back the next morning).
  • Winners follow the plan; they don’t deviate from the plan. Think about the french fry maker at McDonalds. How many times do they get to burn the fries before they lose their job? Why is it different in our industry?
  • Winning companies train the plan (Applebees example for wait staff – 2 weeks learning the menu/process and then a week to shadow another waiter. Why would our industry settle for less training?).

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Since we’ve changed our name to Local Media Association, it’s been a very positive experience for the association. We know the name change brings with it the opening of new doors and opportunities. For
instance, the 2012 Innovation Mission has some amazing tour stops including Google and AT&T Interactive which arguably may have been harder to confirm as Suburban Newspapers of America.

However, there has been some visible “head scratching” to me in e-mails from our members about the three acronyms we use that are all very close in nature. I thought I would take this opportunity to update everyone on the differences in these names. Here is a short glossary:

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In partnership with NewspaperToolbox
Deadline for Entries: June 1, 2012**

Our community newspapers are full of amazing local news that we're all proud of, and behind it all stands hard-working advertising and classified departments. The annual Local Media Association Advertising and Promotions Contest recognizes your creative hard work throughout North America. With thirty categories just waiting to be won -- from Best Ad Series, to Best Cover Page to Best Shopping Area Promotion -- this contest covers the gamut. Enter today!


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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

A&N Media, parent company of The Daily Mail and Metro (London), wanted to develop ideas from the ground up.

After visiting companies like Starbuck's, Dell, Virgin Atlantic and Glaxo Smith Kline, the head of their "Idea Management Process" launched their idea factory web site - Let's Start Something Brilliant.

This provides a platform for employees to share their ideas. A top prize is offered ($500 Pounds + a share of the profit) and lots of subsidiary prizes. The winner will also be part of the new idea implementation team.

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