Sunday, July 20, 2008

Paper or Plastic

By Michael Hart

You cannot pass through the checkout line at your local grocer without being asked the question; would you like paper or plastic? Of course they’re referring to grocery bags. But in today’s media climate the same question is being asked and much to the concern of print newspapers - plastic is winning.

With growing frequency news consumers are dumping newspapers for the more expedient, and graphically eye-pleasing news found in their plastic laptops. Web based news outlets are growing in popularity at an alarming rate and companies that print news are scrambling for answers. Not only has readership fallen off, so has advertising and can it be, news submissions. Even people looking to get some news coverage are going the way of the web.

On a recent trip to Florida with my family I was passing through Montgomery Alabama when I bought a paper from a roadside vendor. (The local paper, The Montgomery Advertiser, actually puts newspaper sales people on the corners of busy streets on Sunday’s. And they do a very brisk business. This is a great idea and will be a topic for another day.)

In several sections of the paper was a 2x4 ad (Quite large) with the headline:
“Get Published” The news was advertising for … er … NEWS! And it wasn’t just asking for wedding announcements, lost dogs, and anniversaries, they ad was asking for news, photos and events. And the Advertiser is hardly the only paper employing this strategy – it’s happening across the US.

Now before you write me off by saying – “Okay Michael that’s fine but you just said print newspapers are dying”. We’ll they are but they ain’t dead yet and BESIDES all regional papers do what with the news they print?

Right-on! They post it to their web sites too! So whether you have news of a local flavor or need national exposure for books, consulting or seminars, contacting your local newspaper works. You get both the local print story from your hometown, plus you get the much sought after link to your company site or blog.

And search engines give links from media sites higher rankings. (Link rankings are based in part on the number of people that visit the site the link originated from. It’s called a page rank)

Lastly, many papers are owned by “clusters”. (Companies that own numerous papers, TV stations, etc.) When they post to one paper’s website, all of their sister publications have access to it. (This is yet another topic for yet another day) The Birmingham News owns Any news item posted here is also seen in Huntsville and Mobile Alabama. So if you want tons of free exposure for your business, want powerful links to your site, and want to build your list of media contacts, start in your own backyard.)

Note: This article was also featured this week in Michael's weekly newsletter "Monday Morning Marketing Minute" Whereas this Weblog focuses primarily on marketing by harnessing the power of the media, Monday Morning Marketing reveals a variety of powerful, proven free marketing techniques. This great small business resource is free. Sign up today at

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