|DRIVING CLASSIFIED READERSHIP
by Paul Evans
As director of new
business development at The News-Times, in Danbury, Connecticut, I am always on
the lookout for new ideas and initiatives. Whether it is generating more
revenue and higher margins or driving readership and circulation, our team is
usually willing to try anything, at least for awhile.
led us to try an idea that was designed for the sole purpose of driving readers
to our classified section for something other than help-wanted or tag-sale line
ads. The News-Times began running a new column titled "The Classified GuysTM"
that does just that. Our readers responded positively, and the column is
gaining in popularity with each Sunday run.
It was last June when two
brothers first approached the paper about their new syndicated column. It was
designed specifically to offer tips on the effective use of the newspaper
classified section and included advice on private-party and tag-sale
negotiations and a pointer or two on life in general-and all with a slice of
humor. The column debuted in The News-Times on August 20th and is now published
weekly in the Sunday edition of our classified section.
from readers has been simply amazing. Just like Ann Landers and the comics, the
column has quickly become an anchor position of "added value" to our classified
advertisers. It also generated a potential "ride-along" premium ad position.
As former high-tech engineers, Duane and Todd Holze (a.k.a. "Cash and
Carry") gave up their corporate careers to become successful authors,
columnists and public speakers. They co-authored the book titled "50% Off! How
to Find Great Deals," and each week, they offer a free copy of it as well as a
$50 prize for reader submissions that are published in their column. They also
offer the book, which includes a CD-ROM, to us at drastic discounts to use as a
circulation premium or to generate direct revenue from sales at single-copy
Each week, the Cash and Carry brothers provide their column
via download from the member's section of their Web site at
www.classifiedguys.com. They supply it as a finished PDF file, and we add it to
our newspaper very easily. It doesn't require layout work or editing. Included
with the column package are camera-ready ads for run-off-press promotion and
teasers, high-resolution files for promotional billboards, and artwork for rack
This "Click and Clack" type team does it all, from radio promos
to talk shows, book signings and other appearances. Working with our newspaper
and local retailer, The Classified GuysTM developed a promotional giveaway
program to promote our newspaper, the column and the retailer. As part of the
event, the duo will give away a big-screen television for the best submission
to their column.
The guys even offer their column online, so we can
feature it on our Web site. This column is one of the best initiatives The
News-Times has undertaken. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in
driving classified readership.