TOP 5 Fixes for Newspaper Web Revenue & Sales

Got some good news….and some bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Newspaper, TV and Radio stations still run their websites and digital operations like a hobby….not a business.

Translation: Too many local media properties are not following – basic business 101 principles – for their Internet strategy. Instead, they seem to be following the risky path of ‘build it and they will come’.

The good news? Local media teams already know how to dominate the local marketplace. All we have to do is apply the same business principles from our traditional operations….to our digital operations.

Top 5 WEB REVENUE mistakes…and how to FIX.

1. Compensation FAIL. Incredibly, the VP of Digital or primary person in charge of many Web operations are still compensated with a flat salary. It really needs to be a ‘performance-based’ plan. Fix this BIG issue, and most of your web revenue problems go away. Think about it. Would you ever pay your traditional ad director or sales manager a big, flat salary? Of course not. Instead, we should bake in alot of motivation for these leaders to achieve bigger sales….bigger income…..and job security. In the local web world of traditional media….this universal compensation model is nowhere to be found.

2. No DIGITAL Operations Guide. In the traditional media world, we have well-oiled, DOCUMENTED process & procedure for content, programming, operations and sales. In the online world, no such ops manual or system exists. It’s a free for all, with conflicting goals and too many cooks in the kitchen. Example: in Newspaper, we have a so-called ‘style guide’ that all newsroom employees follow. This ‘style guide’ provides instruction for consistent quality of product, workflow and standards. We desperately need this type of documented guide for digital as well. Want to know how to create a digital ops manual? Send us an email and request our GET STARTED guide.

3. Poor Inventory Management. With Print & Broadcast, we know EXACTLY how we’re pacing with ad sales, revenue and share. We price our ad inventory accordingly… using supply & demand. Yet, with our websites, we’re virtually blind to these critical metrics. We have no idea of how many remnant or ultra-low cpm banners are running, and how it turns our product into a commodity. We rarely price our inventory for maximum ROI. Instead, we follow some out-of-date ‘recommended CPM’ models pushed down from corporate. TIP: Run your online inventory EXACTLY like you run your offline inventory.

4. Following Bad Advice. As local media managers, we still pay handsomely for questionable research, geeky conferences and outside sales ‘experts’ to help hit our digital budget. As an industry, we’ve blindly followed this plan for about 15 years now. How’s that working out for us? Maybe it’s time to place more focus on our local, home-grown expertise. Why pay for expensive local research, when our local sales teams can simply ask clients what they’re most interested in buying…and then delivering on that feedback? Nobody is better a LOCAL sales than our teams. Let’s financially motivate them, give em’ some powerful packages to sell…..and let em’ go….

5. Training & Management. Paying someone to quickly train our staff  for Web sales & Internet operations sounds like a smart thing to do. But it’s not. It’s much better to focus on coaching / training top management ……first. Remember: how can we manage, what we may not fully understand?


These are easy fixes. We have the skills…the people…the delivery platforms…the brand equity.

  • Step #1  Nail down a profit-first web strategy, with a set of proven tactics and products.

  • Step #2  Create a first draft of our INTERNET OPERATIONS GUIDE.

  • Step #3  Train our top management first. And then….train the staff.



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