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(Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association)

To boost classified readership and revenue, The News-Times in Connecticut, USA, uses syndicated classified columnists.

How often are your readers turning to the classified section? You might be surprised to learn that according to the Newspaper Association of America, nearly half of all adults read classified ads during the typical week with recruitment, general merchandise and automotive ads topping the list.

To a newspaper, classified advertising can generate as much as 50 per cent or more of a newspaper's total revenue. It is one of the most important sections in the newspaper when it comes to attracting infrequent readers and single-copy buyers. A slip in readership and revenue can be lost quickly and painfully. And with the dot-com and help-wanted ads in decline, newspapers are scrambling for ways to turn the tide.

With this in mind, newspapers need to not only protect their current classified readership, but also increase it. Driving readership will obviously generate more advertising and with it, greater revenue. But how do you go about increasing your reader base and create a new and re-occurring revenue stream?

Classified advertising experts Duane and Todd Holze are leading the way, showing newspapers around the United States how to do just that. Also known as "Cash and Carry" this "Click and Clack" type duo gave up their corporate careers to become successful authors, columnists and public speakers. After writing, 50% Off! How to Find Great Deals, a book dedicated to classified shopping, these brothers turned their efforts to the newspaper industry developing and writing the syndicated column, The Classified Guys.

What makes The Classified Guys column unique is that it is specifically designed for the classified section of any newspaper. It is the only column of its kind in publication in the US today.

When the column started running in The News-Times, it was for the purpose of driving classified readership. But the column quickly led to much more. The paper has now generated an anchor ad position within the classified section.

The column was locked onto page two of the classified section and hung from the top of the page. A 9-column by five-cm advertising space was sectioned below and was offered as an up sell to new and current advertisers at a premium. The local Ford/Subaru/Mitsubishi dealer took the spot specifically under the column to promote their used car inventory. The column generates more than US$13,000 per year and simultaneously drives classified readership.

Due to the high visibility and notoriety The Classified Guys have brought to the newspaper, this advertiser loved the idea of having their ad next to one of our most popular columns.

The Classified Guys book can generate revenue for the newspaper as well. By simply running a ROP advertisement designed by "The Guys" with our newspaper's signature in it, book sales were generated. The Classified Guys column comes as a complete promotional package. For example, each week, the reader who submits the funniest story could win $50 and a personally autographed copy of their book. They even gave away large promotional prizes during submission contests. By working with national and local retailers, they could help give smaller newspapers the opportunity to give away prizes they normally could not afford.

"Cash and Carry" offered cross promotional opportunities such as performing local radio interviews to promote our newspaper and designed their website to be featured within ours making it easy to offer the column online.

Working with The Classified Guys, their column and their book has been one of the easiest ways to accomplish two things at once: drive new readers to the classified section and make money while doing it? If your newspaper is looking for new readers and revenue, this package is a great classified booster.

PANPA Bulletin

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