Business improvement districts, chambers of commerce, and economic development councils all need what magazine and newspaper publishers already have: a local audience. Combined with existing print distribution, publishing executives like you have the ability to connect your community with the businesses that need their support.
In this blog, we’ll dive into how magazine and newspaper owners can benefit from local economic development dollars.
Local Publishing Companies Have a Place in Economic Development Budgets
Let’s get this out of the way. Whether you’re dealing with a business improvement district or a local tourism board, they have a line item in their budget for marketing. And as a local publisher, you have a leg up here.
The publishing business model has always involved promoting the strengths of local businesses to an audience. And this model is a natural extension of the very thing these local growth organizations are trying to do!
With this in mind, note that you aren’t limited to just one partnership. Multiple entities can partner with your business to create focused custom publishing products:
- “Best of” guides
- Business directories
- Tourism-focused print editions
Think about it: businesses need help right now, and the focus on tourism has shifted, at least temporarily, to locals who are looking for safe shopping and dining experiences.
Sell in a Time That’s Hard to Sell!
When it comes to ad sales for local partnership-derived custom publishing, the sky's the limit. These products are so narrowly focused that advertisers love them—including the advertisers from your regular print editions.
Remember: you can also sell ads on top of products that are underwritten by local partnerships. Ross Furukawa, Co-Founder and President of Santa Monica Daily Press, advises publishers to, “Sell, sell, sell! When you sell more ads, add more content. The main street [partnerships] can’t do this on their own. You have the audience, and you have the distribution channels.”
Leverage your expertise and influence to weave local custom publishing into your regular editions. For example, if you do six regular print editions per year, consider adding the products as as polybag inserts.
Why You Need to Start Today
Most of the local commerce, tourism, and chamber entities have boards from which you will have to get approval. There’s no way around it—prepare for a lot of meetings. Ross recommends preparing at least 2-3 months in advance before your planned print date.
With commerce where it is now, it’s vital to reach out to your local economic development powers-that-be and get out ahead of planning now.
Interested in how Ross produces his locally-focused special publications? Check out our blog about Connecting Local Entities With Custom Publishing to learn more!