Black Friday is coming ... in fact this year's holiday season could be filled with more treasures and measurable digital revenue that would make Rudolph's nose glow!

Black Friday Countdown

Production Deadline

Think you have plenty of time to get the Holiday Season underway?  By now, you should be developing your marketing programs and sales strategies!  You want to make sure your sales teams are making a list and checking them twice.  If you are looking for new revenue concepts that can grab the attention of your advertisers and connect them with new and existing customers ... read on!

Get A Plan

The first thing you need is a plan. I am a big believer in a plan.  Your plan needs to have a focus on the ONE thing your team will deliver differently to your advertisers and your readers!  This will have to be something you think of or dream up!  Why just ONE thing?  Because it is far easier to focus, create and execute around ONE thing!

Here are some ways to make your holiday offerings a little more inventive, merry & bright!

Gather The Team

The next thing you need is a team gathering.  Sometimes called an offsite.  Plan on 3-4 hours! Get this done before the sun sets on October 1st!  Your gathering should include a cross-section of your team.  For a newspaper that would be your Publisher, Ad Director, Editor, Features Writer, Creative Staff, HR Partner, Circulation, Finance & several sales team members (big accounts and small accounts), and you will need a Scribe.  If you have room at your location you can all gather there, if not, find a small meeting space (home, country club).

Set The Mood

At the meeting space, bring some candles or oils that include holiday smells!  Vanilla, spices, pines.  Grab some pumpkin pie.  It will be too early for eggnog, but think holiday festivities.  If you have some Christmas lights, bring them along.  Most important of all … MUSIC!  The best way to get in the holiday mood is with Christmas music.  Easy to grab a channel on Pandora.  Have the music playing in the background.


What You Will Need

Make sure to have markers, 3x5 cards or 3x5 post-notes.  You’ll need a wall or two that you can throw your group's ideas up on.  Your mission … what is ONE thing you can deliver to your audience, community that few others can?  The ONE thing has to accomplish increased or new site traffic, strong reader engagement, profitable solutions to the company and the advertisers.  Several touch points.


What’s Next?

Once you have figured out the ONE thing … and the ways each of the stakeholders (Publisher, Ad Director, Editor, Features Writer, Creative Staff, HR Partner, Circulation, Finance & several sales team members), can contribute, you’ll be on your way.


Things To Consider

Now let's get creative with the solutions.  I encourage you to step back and think audience.  You will need to attract and then talk to your audience.  I would also consider theming your program.  It helps people understand and join in!

Everything Holiday.

Restaurants, events, gift guides and more!

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One theme you may want to use is #[yourcityname]BestChristmasEver.  So if you were in Seattle, it would be #SeattlesBestChristmasEver.  A hash tag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and micro blogging services, which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hash tags by placing the hash character # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hash tag will then present each message that has been tagged with it. A hash tag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hash tag.


Social Engagement

Make sure you are considering all things social!  Create a Facebook page, pinterest channel, instagram channel and a YouTube channeland for goodness sake a twitter channel.  Creating user generated content (UGC) will create a faster adoption and engagement with your content and readers!  You can extend tags as well by including your theme tag and then the business nametag … #SeattlesBestChristmasEver #FranksTavern.  You’ll also want to work with your advertisers to make sure postings are updated and relevant!


Display, Fencing & Targeting

Shopping Centers and even local merchants will be willing to spend budget to drive customers to the front door.  Think direction & encouragement.  Don’t expect your brick & mortar retailers to be happy that lots of people saw their digital and print ads.  The conversion happens when that viewer becomes a customer.  Here is where you deploy digital display, retargeting, geo fencing, network and BT.  Remember that the gold standard is "see the ad, take action!"

Holiday Guides

If you are going to publish a holiday gift guide, and I encourage you to do one, do not make it a tab.  I know that half of the people reading this are chuckling and shaking their heads no.  Here is why … your competition is national retailers.  How many newsprint tabs have you seen Crate & Barrel, Niemen Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s … you get the idea.  When you print magazine style, your engagement impact is much greater!  Sure there are some costs to consider, but you will earn more revenue from a glossy product.

Items As Content

Another thing to consider is making your holiday guide a true gift guide.  Feature 12-15 items on a page.  Keep it clean and editorial looking.  Short captions, store logo and #code for online ease of reference.  You can easily take this content and create an online experience.  Online features the item, and can have links to landing pages and special offers that will drive feet to the stores! Here is where UGC and social media really come into play!  Consider that you can charge up to  $200 per item, or create a pay for performance feature!

Think Big Impact

Other ideas to consider are spadeas, gatefolds or craft wraps that are you can sell several advertisers a position.  If you use quarter page units you can find advertisers that would like to have that extra exposure or a time sensitive message (concerts, etc.).  Casinos love this for New Year’s.  Automotive Dealers love this to showcase their new inventory and use up co-op.  Your digital component can become a take over or other high impact delivery methods.

I hope these ideas bring you some new ways to approach the 4th Quarter and the holiday season.  If you need help with your 2017 Holiday Sales Strategies, please reach out at 800-571-1641, touch 901.  Lets see how we can make your season merrier and bright!

Bill Cummings is a Sales & Marketing executive with extensive experience catalyzing rapid revenue growth while controlling multimillion-dollar program budgets. Sharp advertising and marketing acumen across national publications, niche markets, classified verticals (autos, real estate & employment), legal and private party segments. Collaborative communicator continually focused on building relationships and positioning high-performance teams for unprecedented success.  He is available to speak at  workshops or meetings; lead off-sites; conduct rate analysis; forecast where your next sale will come from; coach your leadership team (advertising, management, content) and is available as an expert witness or M&A subject matter expert. or (800) 571-1641, extension 901.

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