Friday, December 8, 2017

Journalists and sales: don't sell your soul

Over the past several years, I have written a number of blog posts about how journalists can get involved in sales and marketing without violating their ethical standards or damaging the credibility of their publication. Here are a few of them.

1. Journalists selling ads: think of it as a fair exchange
When I was going through the transition from editor of a business publication to the role of publisher, I dreaded sales calls with clients.
"It meant I had to ask clients for money, which was a new and uncomfortable experience. The hilarious irony of this is that, as a reporter and editor, it was my job to ask people much tougher, more-intrusive questions, and I did it with no problem -- grieving parents about the death of their child, a political candidate about his sexual escapades, a business executive about her salary.
How tough could it be for a former reporter to ask an advertiser for money?

2. How much to charge advertisers? As much as possible
The advertising sales context is different today from when I originally wrote this post. But the principle is the same: don't get engaged in price cutting.
"A hyperlocal site might be able to charge higher CPMs than a daily newspaper. Why? For a local retailer the audience of a hyperlocal is more concentrated and contains more likely customers; the daily newspaper’s site has many users who will never be customers of that retailer."
3. Editors are the best marketers of a news organization 
"Many editors cringe when asked to be involved with sales and marketing. They feel it betrays ethical and editorial values to make a buck. But editors have product knowledge useful in sales, and they have a passion for their work that can inspire sponsors and advertisers to spend money on the site.
"Today editors have to be involved in sales and marketing because of the competition from digital media. The question is how to do it without compromising editorial integrity. "
4. 5 dirty words journalists need to learn to say without blushing 
"If we want to launch our own news organizations, we have to recognize for the first time that journalism is a business, that someone has to pay the bills and that there is money involved. Money? This is a dirty word for journalists. It makes us blush. We associate it with influence peddling, lobbyists, bribery, corruption and other topics of our investigative journalism."
5. How digital media monetize their social capital 
"Social capital is a value that media entrepreneurs possess through their ethnic, social, professional, and business networks. It is also a value that they create through their work's impact on society.
Cultural and social capital are “disguised forms of economic capital” and produce their effects by concealing the fact that economic capital is at their root. The favors we do, the gifts we give, the friendships we cultivate, the relationships we make are all motivated, to some extent, by an expectation of gratitude or a returned favor."
6. You create more value with a community than with an audience

"An audience is just a group of observers.  A community shares values and a deep interest in a topic or geographic area. It often has a bias toward action. That is where value comes in.
"Connecting these people and creating value for them is the beginning of a community. Only when you have connected them can you begin to get their financial support."

7.  How I ran my newspaper monopoly (and Warren Buffett ran his)
 "It was a measure of the daily newspaper’s market dominance that a kid who wanted a paper route had to buy it from another kid. Having a paper route was the pre-teen equivalent of owning an NFL franchise, an enviably profitable protected monopoly. Mine was a particular block on a particular street. The price to buy it was equal to one week’s collections — in my case about $40."

No comments:

Post a Comment