Why Local Newspapers Struggle with the Digital Marketing Services Migration

Note: This post first appeared on LocalVox.com.

I read an interesting article on Net News Check about why newspapers should take baby steps in migrating to offering local marketing services to clients because the transition can be “reckless.”

The article summarizes the comments of our good friend Jed Williams at BIA/Kelsey (@williamsjed).  And his point is spot on.  You don’t just migrate your Local Newspaper into a digital agency overnight because of the lure of revenue for revenue’s sake.

PPC Does Not Leverage a Local Newspaper’s Strengths

 Source:WebAdvantage.net

Source:WebAdvantage.net

What I find disturbing is that many newspapers are selling services that in no way leverage their brand, audience or content footprint.

They are effectively choosing to become pure resellers of 3rd party services. Why? How could they compete effectively when they are offering the same bag as everyone else? How can my newspaper better manage my PPC campaign? Answer: THEY CAN’T and never will. This goes for PPC, SEO, website development, etc.

This also makes the cultural transition to digital marketing services even harder because you are not talking your employees language nor valuing the efforts they have put into other areas.

Standing Out in the Crowd of Digital Marketing Services

We at LocalVox think the solution for local publishing is around a content marketing solution that leverages your audience, your content, your SEO reputation and your brand.  Every local business wants to be in the local paper and they pay PR professionals thousands of dollars per month to do that.  Jed makes a good point about how deals are one way to do that, although that is a tough market.

The mutual solution for local businesses and local publishers is an advertorial content solution that is an extension of an all-in-one local marketing platform (so it’s not yet another thing a business has to manage).  This approach puts publishers at the center of the local business universe and provides synergistic value.

That’s how you compete effectively. You leverage your strengths and differentiators. Other approaches are indeed “reckless” as Jed puts them.  And while I understand looking at print revenue decline and being expedient about discovering, testing and implementing local online marketing services – but you must be strategic as well.

If interested, check out how LocalVox partners with local publishers at http://localvox.com/partners/.  The successful move to recurring revenue products can lead to revenue streams that defy CPM math by orders of magnitude.  But picking the right products to do that is key.