Fine Advice: Business Week’s media writer Jon Fine has advice for newspapers; advice that works for other traditional media, as well. (I’m thinking B-to-B).
STEAL FROM GOOGLE. Make your ads hyper-accountable. Identify the top advertisers in your local market and figure out what it would take to grab 100% of their ad budgets. Give them unlimited pages, on paper and online, until they reach their goals. You’re the biggest guy in town. Your per-page cost of newsprint is cheap — and your per-impression cost online is even cheaper. Leverage that to cut off your rivals’ oxygen….
USE YOUR READERS. Building communities and businesses around community-created content was not invented by MySpace.com. One bright spot for the Reader’s Digest Assn. (RDA ) is Reiman Publications, which runs a host of homey, ad-free titles that lean heavily on reader-written contributions. Is there a sufficient subcultural pulse in your city to pull off a mini-myspace? Are locals writing hobbyist blogs that you can build about.coms around? There have always been more talented content creators than full-time jobs for them; the platform of the Net makes them visible. Do you want them inside your tent as partners or outside it as competitors?