PaperChain News & Events

“Just tell me what you want me to do.”

In the 1986 film, Heartbreak Ridge, Clint Eastwood played Marine Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway. Highway is a battle hardened veteran who is assigned to mold a group of rookie Marines into an elite fighting unit. Each morning Eastwood leads his men on a run and instructs them that they are all to wear the same tee-shirt as he wears. The challenge for his men is that he never tells them what shirt he will be wearing. In the film, this is played for comic relief and his men have to work together to try to find out what the “Gunny” will be wearing. 

While amusing in the film, this practice is all too common in the business world. I know a manager of a digital sales team who is very personable and quite intelligent. She is technically proficient, but a poor communicator. She does not clearly describe her expectations to her team or properly explain what she wants them to accomplish. This has resulted in poor sales, low team morale and a very high employee turnover rate. She gives her employees vague instructions and is impatient with them when they ask questions for clarification. Her people try to do their best, try to do what they believe she wanted done and usually are rewarded for their initiative with a chewing out from their boss. In very short order, this manager’s reps learn that the best way to avoid her wrath is to do as little as possible while looking for another job. Her company lost a number of promising employees and untold revenue from her lack of clarity. 

Unless they intend to hire a team of psychics and mind readers fully equipped with Ouija boards and crystal balls, leaders need to learn how to communicate their wishes to their teams and how to give clear instructions. One of the most important rules of management I have ever learned is, “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood!” Here is an example of this, former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had a dictatorial management style. His staff feared him so much that they seldom dared to ask him any questions. On one occasion, while reviewing a document, Hoover made the following notation on it, “Good report, but watch the borders.” His assistant instantly dispatched hundreds of FBI agents to the Canadian and Mexican borders, where they remained until it was discovered that J. Edgar was referring to the typed margins on the document which he felt were too wide. Explaining yourself clearly, confirming that your subordinates fully understand what you want, may take a few minutes, but in the long run this practice greatly enhances the effectiveness of any organization. 

This commitment to clear communication should begin before an employee even joins the team. When interviewing candidates for employment, a manager should avoid the temptation to “sell the job.” Sometimes an applicant seems like such a perfect fit for an open position, that the hiring manager will do whatever is necessary to get them to accept the job. They sometimes paint an inaccurate picture of the challenges and responsibilities of the position. This is seldom a good practice. It generally gets the relationship with a new employee off on a poor footing. I find it is better to be bluntly honest about both the opportunities and challenges of the position you are trying to fill. Whenever possible, I like to have the candidate meet my sales team and do a ride along to get a clear picture of what the job entails. 

When I did make a new hire or when I took over a new sales team, I made a point of clearly explaining my expectations to those reporting to me. I did this in the form of a written set of “Expectations.” This was a numbered list of what I expected from anyone on my team. This was separate from their revenue goals. The items on the list described behaviors that I expected from my people. This included items like punctuality, number of weekly calls, reports required etc. I also included things like, “I expect my reps to let me know if any account is in jeopardy as soon as they become aware of the situation so that we can work together to remedy it.” This kept me in the loop and made reps feel more comfortable coming to me with problems. I also set an expectation that my reps would not demonstrate a negative attitude in the office. I was careful not to mandate that “reps maintain a positive attitude,” which was unenforceable, I simply asked that they share these thoughts with me rather than bringing down the team. I had my reps each sign a copy of the “Expectations,” and I posted these prominently in the sales room. I updated this document whenever the situation dictated and reviewed it with my team at least once a quarter. 

Since I believe leadership is a two-way street, along with the “Expectations” I gave my team a copy of my “Commitments” to them. This was a numbered list of what they could expect (at a minimum) from me. This list included a dozen points starting with, “I will treat every member of this team with respect as professional business people and as human beings.” I went on to items like, “I will help you resolve any customer service problem…so you will never need to face problems alone,” and “I will listen to your concerns, remedy them when I can, and if appropriate, communicate them to upper management.” My list concluded, “I will make this job fun,” which I strongly believe is a prerequisite for long-term success. I had these “Commitments” blown up to poster size and posted a copy above my desk and in the sales room. I instructed my team to point to this signed document, whenever I failed to live up to the items on the list. These two documents clearly define my responsibilities as well as those of my team. I believe they fostered a positive work environment where everyone understood where they stood and what they were to do. 

In our business, if an instruction is misunderstood, we may lose a sale or, worst case scenario, an account. In the military, lives or a battle, may be lost if an order is not followed precisely. This is why over the centuries the military has developed a simple yet effective protocol for delivering commands. Though the stakes in the publishing world are not as high as they are on the battlefield, this mode of communication provides a good model to follow. 

An officer giving a command will describe exactly what they want the person to do and give them a timeline for accomplishing the assigned task. “I need you to take a position on this particular hill and be dug in with your men by 08 hundred hours. You are then to observe the valley below and report back on any enemy activity you see until relieved.” They will then ask their subordinate if they have any questions. If they do, the officer will answer their queries until both the commander and the subordinate are clear on what needs to be done. The officer will then ask, “Understood?” The subordinate will then say, “Yes Sir, I am to take my men to the top of the hill, dig in and observe the valley below looking for enemy activity there until relieved. If any activity is observed, we will report it to you immediately.” If the command is fully understood, they will salute and part. In just a few minutes the officer communicated what he wanted done, when he wanted it done SM Link & Learn is brought to you every month as part of PaperChain’s® mission to provide educational material to the free paper publishers. If you have an issue you would like to see covered please email janderson@wisad.com, put “Link & Learn” in subject line. Be sure to check out www.paperchain.org for past issues, electronic ready promotional ads and much more to help you remain competitive. and why he wanted it done. He also made sure his subordinate had no unanswered questions and had him repeat the order to confirm that he fully understood his instructions. 

Following this practice, command, asking for questions, and having the person repeat back the order not only makes sure there is no misunderstandings, but also drives a stake into the heart of the, “I didn’t understand what you wanted” excuse for not doing something. Because the person giving the order fully accepts responsibility for communicating what they want accomplished, responsibility for getting the job done is placed fully on the shoulders of the subordinate. They may fail to accomplish what they’ve been assigned to do, but they cannot honestly say, “They didn’t understand that they were supposed to do it.” 

A good definition of a team, or of a business is, “working together toward a common goal.” To do this some people are appointed to leadership roles, ideally because they have the talent and the experience to know how to best achieve the group’s objectives. Their effectiveness is increased by allowing them to use this expertise to direct their team to accomplish more than they ever could on their own. If they are unable to communicate their expertise to those reporting to them, then their effectiveness is negated by their inability to share it with their team. This is why the ability to clearly communicate what you expect of people is the most critical skill in a manager’s toolbox. Your people may have great people skills, they may know your products inside and out, they may be great sales people, but it is unlikely that they are much good at mind reading. When you are “the boss,” your job is not only to tell people what to do…it’s also your job to be sure they understand what you want them to do!


This article was written by Jim Busch.


Link & Learn is brought to you every month as part of PaperChain’s® mission to provide educational material to the free paper publishers. If you have an issue you would like to see covered please email janderson@wisad.com, put “Link & Learn” in subject line. Be sure to check out www.paperchain.org for past issues, electronic ready promotional ads and much more to help you remain competitive.
(Thu, 14 Jan 2016 23:32:00 +0000)

Free paper industry stronger than ever

by Tim Bingaman
President & CEO Circulation Verification Council

When I was asked to give a “state of the industry” presentation to the IFPA conference, I was a little apprehensive how to address this topic coming off the announcement of nine million circulation just lost in California. As we have seen with the recent announcement of startups in the wake of the closure, the loss of circulation had far more to do with negative money manager influence than problems with the publications themselves. The fact is, the free community paper industry is stronger than ever. 

Earlier this year I attended a convention and heard Allen Kupertz from kpartners give a speech on technology. I immediately thought of the free paper industry when he presented this quote: “The Mayans lost to the Aztecs, the Romans lost to the Barbarians, and the French lost to the Vietnamese. In each case the losers had superior technology, but the victors had more troops.” In the case of the free paper industry, your “troops” are your readers or audience. In the last decade, we have all read the self-written obituaries highlighting circulation declines within certain segments of print. Unfortunately, many have taken that to mean that all of print is in decline when in reality, many segments of print, including the free paper industry, are reaching a larger audience than ever before. In addition to stable circulation and readership numbers, some of the free paper industry has expanded their audience with websites, digital editions, social media, mobile & text media, apps, e-newsletters, and video and podcast audiences.
During the same presentation by Allen Kupertz, another item that applied to the free paper industry was a Douglas Adams quote: “Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal. Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn 30 is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck, you can make a career out of it. Anything that gets invented after you’re 30 is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it’s been around for about 10 years, when it gradually turns out to be alright really.” You have all seen the challenge of new media in your markets. Websites, text & mobile, and social media have all been a part of our lives for over a decade now, yet your industry continues to thrive. Your “troops”, or your audience, must continue to expand in order to continue to be relevant in the years ahead. The message of today is embrace them all. Make sure you are reporting your website, digital edition, social media, mobile & text media, apps, e-newsletters, and video and podcast audiences to CVC to show media buyers your true reach within your communities. New CVC survey technology allows you to report unduplicated audience numbers that in most markets show remarkable increases. Plus one in audience, whether that individual comes in the form of a print reader or from new technology, needs to be tracked and reported to advertisers.
When Brian Gay from MFCP approached CVC in 1999 about performing the first comprehensive circulation audits for the free paper industry, we began tracking key data points that to this day show an industry with solid delivery systems, readership, and purchase influence. Receivership scoring is the measure of the publications’ delivery system. In 1999 the average receivership score was 97.1%. That score is virtually unchanged today, with the national average receivership score being 96.6%. As a free paper, one of the most important measurements is what percentage of the papers distributed are read. Readership scoring is another category that has had remarkable stability. In 1999 the average readership score was 77.1%. That score today is 76.9%. The third, and arguably most important, score is the purchase influence a publication has over an audience. Purchase scoring in 1999 was 74.4% and has increased to 76.9% today, showing that more of your readers are relying on local publications than ever before when making purchase decisions for their households.
As many of you know, phone studies were the staple of research in the past. That is changing and has created a new mix of multi-source studies that allow publishers to measure not only their print audience, but all of their reach across multimedia platforms. I encourage you to participate in these new survey methodologies. Online studies, coupled with traditional phone surveys, allow CVC to gather more information about your audience than ever before. Publishers can have up to two studies performed each year, and each publication can add two questions of their choice at no additional charge. You can view the online study template at https://www.research.net/r/2015CVC.
(Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:53:00 +0000)

How Did Your Publication Celebrate Free Community Paper Month?

PaperChain is Sharing $500 in Prizes for Publisher Feedback!

We are seeking publisher feedback regarding the recently completed Free Paper Month celebration during July 2015. Members of the internal marketing committee of PaperChain spent a considerable amount of time in an attempt to make the month-long celebration of Free Community Papers a valuable marketing opportunity.

In order to determine our effectiveness, and in an attempt to constantly improve the celebration, we have developed a short (7 question) survey that we would ask you to take. Your input, whether you participated in Free Paper Month OR NOT, will help us to strengthen Free Paper Month in the future.

The survey will take you LESS than 5 minutes, and we will be conducting a random drawing from all of the responses to give away $500 in cash prizes. There will be (1) $200 winner, (2) $100 winners and (2) $50 winners. If you would like to be in the drawing simply provide your contact information found at the end of the survey. If you prefer to remain anonymous that is fine, just leave the contact information blank and we will leave you out of the drawing.

You opinions are most important to us, thank you in advance for helping us to improve our annual Free Paper Month celebration.

To take the survey click on this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/freepapermonth
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:44:00 +0000)

July is Free Community Paper Month

By: Ed Coats, event chairperson
 
All too often these days we hear “print is dead.” In reality, however, print is far from perishing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the free community paper industry.

In our busy everyday world, we sometimes forget to boast about how important and relevant our community papers are. They are significant not only in aiding advertisers to share their message with potential customers but also in delivering local community news of interest to readers in homes across the country.

Paper Chain is the common link between all free community papers across the country. For that reason, we feel it is the responsibility of Paper Chain to be the leader in expanding awareness of the free community paper industry and letting people know print is not dead but very much alive and well.

This July we again celebrate Free Community Paper Month. During this time, we ask that all the state, regional and local free community paper organizations get together and celebrate. 

To do this, Paper Chain will be providing materials to help you promote this event.
 
Here is the agenda for the 2015 celebration roll out:
1. Shown below is the Free Community Paper Month Logo. Please use this logo often on your masthead, folios, promotional ads, articles and as fillers throughout your paper leading up to and during the month of July. For original artwork and PDF’s visit http://paperchain.org/
freepapermonth.html
2. Also shown is a sample ad from the 2014 Free Community Paper Month celebration.  They will also be available on the website noted above on or about the first of June and will also be distributed by your state, regional and national associations.
3. Publishers are asked to not alter the logo, but to use it often.  We encourage you to localize the ad and draw your reader’s attention to the important role your paper and staff play in this industry and how this industry stimulates the local and national economy.
4. We are all so very busy these days but we also encourage you to brainstorm with your staff and find ways to use the month of July to highlight your organization’s accomplishments and the many ways your publications help drive and support the local economy.
5. The 2015 celebration is a national event but you can provide the local flavor. Ask your town fathers, city council and county government to consider taking action on a local proclamation formally recognizing Free Community Paper Month. Suggested proclamations can also be found athttp://paperchain.org/freepapermonth.html.


Your paper has made a great investment in your community and this industry. Only you and your staff can help us bring that story to your readers in this consolidated industry-wide effort. Please consider active participation in the July 2015 Free Community Paper Month. Visit us on Facebook and let us know your plans for Free Community Paper Month.  Thank you in advance for all you do to enhance the industry with every issue you publish and your support with this project. (Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:01:00 +0000)

PaperChain 2014 Media Buyer Survey Brings Smiles to Free Paper Publishers


PaperChain – the association-driven marke ing effort for the free paper industry – has recently released results of a survey aimed at measuring free paper appeal to major media buyers. The results are very promising.

Accompanying this article is a summary report of the survey along with some commentary from Tim Bingaman of Circulation Verification Council. Tim and CVC have long worked hard to sell major ad buyers on the strengths and advantages of utilizing free papers; his comments on the survey and the comparisons provided to the 2008 poll are especially insightful and based on years of working closely with publishers and advertisers.

From Tim:
“With 90% now saying they have experience placing ads in free papers it looks like your FPI (ed.- free paper industry) may have turned the corner on general acceptance. It’s pretty rare that we hear the, “my client prefers to buy paid publications” statement anymore. When reviewing some old data I think it’s interesting to note that between 2002 (the first study) and 2008 (the second study) the score remained flat at 65%. It appears that attitudes have been changed recently as the score has increased 25 percentage points in that time. It correlates well with what we have heard from the media panels at the association meetings and with the increased media searches we see on the free papers.”

“It appears that there were a few more major buyers in this survey as evidenced by an 8% jump in those that reported they made national buys in radio, TV and outdoor. There was a 20% jump in those that reported they purchase print nationally. Regional print buyers remained un- changed for media other than print. There was an increase of 13% more reporting they make regional print buys. There were big increases (about 19% weighted) in those that reported they purchase state & local media.”

“The 2014 study had far more active “media buyers” than previous surveys. Media directors remained pretty much unchanged at 26% vs. 21%, but active media buyers increased from 18% to 41%. Media coordinators remained unchanged at 8% while media planners saw a big jump at 12% to 30%. The 2014 study had more media buyers with longer tenure in the industry. Both 5-10 years and 10+ years increased while those reporting less than 5 years fell from 24% to 12%.”

“I do think there are some tremendous opportunities for free papers that share the same city (not necessarily market) to work together. A couple of well-trained reps working the majors for 5-10 publications in a market could have some impact.”



(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 19:42:00 +0000)

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Shop Small on November 29!


What will you be doing on November 29, 2014, the Saturday after Thanksgiving?

Participating in Small Business Saturday of course!  Heading into its fifth year, Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a day dedicated to local, independently-owned small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods across the country.

There are many organizations, national and local, that have done a great job organizing and getting the word out about the outsized contributions that small businesses make to our communities. One of those is the Small Business Saturday Coalition which PaperChain and several of our industry's associations have joined to help spread the word about Small Business Saturday. Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information.

Almost universally, Americans say they support and value small businesses in their communities. How could you not? They provide products and services you can’t get elsewhere, customer service is generally more personal, and they contribute enormously to the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities.

As hometown publishers, we know the the value and unrivaled service of our merchants on Main Street. We're dedicated to promoting their success all year long! Last year, millions of Americans, shopped at independently-owned small businesses on Small Business Saturday. This year, we invite you to help make the day even bigger for small business. Here are ways your publication and your local businesses can get involved and help support Small Business Saturdayhttps://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/rally?linknav=us-open-shopsmall-subnav-rally

Shop Small on November 29, 2014:
By shopping small, you are showing your support for small businesses and creating goodwill within the communities where you work and live.  Make a day of it by shopping with friends and dining out at your favorite small restaurants.

Community papers and independent business owners should make the day your own:
Small businesses are known for having outstanding customer service and offering unique products.  Think about having special pages and promotions and lead neighboring small businesses to join forces to create a block party or holiday event.  Don’t forget to leverage Small Business Saturday marketing tools found here:  https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/marketing-materials-signup?linknav=us-amex-loy-open-shopsmall-sbo-login-sbostart

And check the interactive map here  http://shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com/?linknav=us-loy-open-shopsmall-subnavmap  to find your local businesses that are planning to participate.

Spread the word:
Sign up for email updates at www.shopsmall.com and make sure to ‘Like’ the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shopsmall). Tell your family, friends and loyal customers about Small Business Saturday on your social networks. And of course, publish special sections for the big day.

PaperChain and our industry is excited to be part of the Small Business Saturday Coalition.  We encourage all of you to shop small on November 29, 2014 and help spread the word.  Let’s make Small Business Saturday, the biggest shopping day of them all - we’ll see you on Main Street!

Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information. (Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:09:00 +0000)

SEO is important for your website……

Here is why, and how that relates to your SRDS Listing

You know that improved Search Engine Optimization will help your website rank higher on the search engines when someone is looking for something you offer. Everyone correctly wants to be on the first page of Google listings as an example. Being on later pages most of the time means people will never find you. Doing things to improve SEO creates “lift” in your position on search engines.

Well, that same concept works as well inside the SRDS database. When an agency is researching a market for an ad buy, they will often not go much deeper than the first few listings. You will be happy to know that as a member of PaperChain you get “lifted” in the listing to the top of those that did not purchase that position. That is a big advantage for your paper.

Both CVC and PaperChain invest in SRDS database promotions including this “Lift” for MFCP members.  This is a significant investment for CVC and PaperChain that would cost individual publishers $400 to $800 each month if purchased alone.

We occasionally hear of ad buys as a result of positioning in the SRDS database. Here are a couple of recent examples:

Fillmore County Journal, in Preston, MN received a big grand opening ad program from the nation’s largest beauty supply retailer because of their SRDS listing.  The Fillmore County Journal is listed fourth in the Rochester, MN DMA because of their elevated listing.  Without the PaperChain upgraded listing the buy probably would have gone to a daily newspaper listed above them.  The Fillmore County Journal would have been the tenth paper listed without the PaperChain upgrade.

Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc. in Des Moines, IA publishes 26 publications and received a significant double truck retail display ad series from a national retailer.  Their publications are listed third in the Des Moines DMA because of their elevated listing.  They would have been listed significantly lower in the list of 66 publications the media buyer had to choose from.

Please be aware and reminded that keeping your listing in SRDS up to date can make a big difference in  terms of your receiving insertion orders from ad agencies searching for media in your area. You can see your SRDS information and make updates by emailing June Levy at june.levy@kantarmedia.com.

(Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:09:00 +0000)

July - Free Community Paper Month


Scarlette Merfeld
The last month has been full of activity as we prepare for the July celebration.

We had high hopes of landing a national sponsor but we just ran out of time and couldn’t nail down the final approvals necessary to move forward with the national organization we had been courting.

I wanted to make you aware of some addition details to the information sent out last month. The committee has developed a series of Free Community Paper promotional ads. I am pleased to report that Graphic Designer Hank McAfee from Tower Publications has done a great job on the layout of these ads which are now up on the Free Community Paper Month Web site, http://paperchain.org/freepapermonth.html

The created ads focus on the strength of our industry and readership. By using the heading "Free Community Paper, The best things in life are free". They personalize for our readers the concept of how their community paper is keeping it super local.

I also want to remind publishers and staff to try and get your city, town, or county government body to make the Free Community Paper Month Proclamation, officially proclaiming July as a special celebration of your paper. A copy of the sample proclamation can also be found on the web site noted above.

Remember, your paper has made a great investment in your community and this industry. Only you and your staff can help us bring that story alive to your readers in this consolidated industry-wide effort. Please consider active participation in the July 2014 Free Community Paper Month. We hope our efforts to secure a national partner/sponsor are buoyed by strong support from participating papers in 2014. If we can’t demonstrate our unity with a program like this it becomes difficult to prove it to an outside concern that our industry is worth an investment.

Visit us on Facebook and let us know your plans for Free Community Paper Month. Thank you in advance for all you do to enhance the industry with every
issue you publish and your support for this project.
(Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:12:00 +0000)

PaperChain – Promoting Community Papers


“What or who is PaperChain?” “What do they do?” “What does it mean to me?” …quite possibly the top questions anyone who has ever served on the PaperChain committee has fielded from publishers across the country.

Let’s break each one down.
“What or who is PaperChain?” PaperChain is a national entity created to promote the community paper industry. PaperChain is steered by an all-volunteer committee of publishers, managers, and free paper association directors. These individuals are deeply invested and passionate about the industry, just like every publisher across the country. These individuals believe that a cohesive effort to promote community papers can yield greater results at a higher level than what most state, regional, or national associations might be able to achieve alone.
If you work for or operate an audited free publication, and are a member of any of the various state, regional, or national associations, you are PaperChain. You are part of an industry standard based on audited circulation that delivers results with every publication. When rolled up, this standard represents a circulation of over 44.2 million.
“What do they do?” It is the mission of PaperChain to promote this industry that is based on this reliable, trusted, and audited circulation. In order to achieve this, we look at two audiences.
The first is media buyers. PaperChain works very closely with SRDS which is a data clearing house for media buyers. Over 15,000 users pay to have access to the data SRDS gathers. They access this data over 300,000 times a year. PaperChain and SRDS (with great assistance from CVC) have created listings within the SRDS database for each of our PaperChain publications. We are putting your publication’s information in front of media buyers, planners, and executives. Our partnership does not stop there. Amongst other things, we have negotiated premium search placement, links to CVC audits, and PaperChain endorsement identification. So not only are you listed, but you get special treatment for even better awareness. In addition to SRDS, we promote the industry through various social media, press releases, and our own website, www.paperchain.com.
Our second audience is your readers. PaperChain has endeavored to partner with the industry associations to promote Free Paper Month at a local level. Our promotions take the strength of free papers and localize it for your market. We strongly encourage you to participate in this national campaign which will be coming to you for July of 2014.
PaperChain does not sell ads. We believe that the best sales reps in the industry are yours. Our objective is to promote, create awareness, and build strength, then allow you to capitalize in your markets for the benefit of your publication.
“What does it mean to me?” PaperChain is an endorsement of your publication. It is something to be proud of. This holds true for the media buyer audience we are working to bring to you as well as your local audience. Great investments have been made on your behalf. Investments such as the audits, the SRDS partnership, and Free Paper Month promotions are yours to take advantage of.
PaperChain means you have a low-cost marketing arm. Purchased alone, an SRDS marketing package would cost each publication thousands of dollars annually. PaperChain, in coordination with the various trade associations, is handling this for you. As mentioned above, we are promoting at the macro level, and you can capitalize on this in your local markets.
So now that I’ve answered these questions, as best as possible in limited space, I have a question for you? “Will you work with us?”
PaperChain’s strength is derived from the strength of the state, regional, and national associations, and the strength of each of the PaperChain publications. We are asking you to continue your efforts to build a reputable publication in your local market, to support your trade associations through the sales and publication of network ads, to get involved in Free Paper Month, and to promote the PaperChain brand within your publication. And finally, if you would like to join the efforts of the PaperChain committee we look forward to that opportunity and look forward to hearing from you.

John Draper
President, PaperChain
Publisher, Pipestone Publishing Co.
(Wed, 28 May 2014 12:41:00 +0000)

The Power of Partnership; A Philanthropic Partnership

PaperChain to support national military charity Fisher House Foundation

By Courtney Rae Kasper, Scotsman Media Group, Syracuse, New York, 2013 Rising Star
Imagine a loved one being sent to combat for freedom fighting efforts, away from family and not knowing if or when they will return home. Now imagine that this same loved one is heroically wounded in combat, and his or her only wish is to have family by their bedside during the healing process. Oftentimes, more funding is needed beyond that typically provided by the military to make this possible.
Take the case of Navy Lt. Brad Snyder of Florida, as profiled in the latest edition of The Patriot magazine (Volume 4, Issue 2 2013). Snyder was embedded with an assault unit after surviving an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in September 2011. The tragic accident left Snyder blind, and he was brought back stateside to recover in a facility away from home. 
But thanks to the national military charity Fisher House Foundation, Snyder’s family was able to stay in a home-away-from-home, free of charge, near the medical facility where he was being treated. The wounded soldier’s mother, brother and sister were able to comfort and support him during this drastic time of need, including helping him learn Braille. Snyder’s steady road to recovery lead him to regain his athletic abilities and bring home multiple gold medals from the 2012 Warrior Games and Paralympics Games.
The Snyder family is just one of the 180,000 military families that the Fisher House Foundation has aided in its 20-plus years of existence. And PaperChain is proud to announce Fisher House as the organization’s new charity partner. 
According to the Association of Free Community Papers’ Executive Director Loren Colburn, he discovered the highly rated Fisher House through researching CharityWatch (an online charity rating guide distributed by the American Institute of Philanthropy) and quickly knew it would be a lasting match for PaperChain members. “We all feel an obligation to do those things in the community we serve and this is one that we thought people would quickly embrace because of the nature of it. Everyone wants to do what they can to help veterans,” Colburn said. 
Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Fisher House has been providing a safe haven for wounded warriors and their families since 1991. Fisher House Foundation is comprised of a network of 62 comfort homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers across the country and abroad. (At present, there are plans to build more than 15 new homes across the country during the next three years.) The 5,000- to 16,500-square-foot homes boast as many as 21 suites with private bedrooms and baths, and shared kitchen, laundry, dining and living spaces that are donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs by Fisher House.
It is estimated that the program has saved military families $200 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation, and just in 2012, it served a daily lodging capacity of 735 for an average 10-day length of stay. This year the non-profit marked a milestone with the five millionth lodging night for families of service men and women. 
Fisher House also operates the Hero Miles Program, which uses donated frequent flyer miles to transport family members to the bedside of injured veterans; the Hotels for Heroes Program, which provides free lodging for family members through donated hotel points; and a grant program that supports scholarship funds as well as additional military charities.
Through this philanthropic partnership, PaperChain members will donate available space to run Fisher House advertisements and help the charity and industry gain recognition, while impacting the lives of veterans and their families. “The idea was to find an organization that we can move the needle for and see an immediate result,” Colburn said. “For instance, with two of the programs Fisher House has in place, if we started an ad campaign nationwide and all of sudden there was a high influx of hotel points, then Fisher House would be able to say that it came from our partnership with the free community papers.”  
With PaperChain being the largest network of newspaper associations and member publications in the nation, Cindy Campbell, vice president for Community Relations and Media Affairs, said that Fisher House is honored by the opportunity and is hopeful that the partnership will further expose the charity through its free paper publications. “For us, the most important part of the partnership is the chance to get our voice out there,” Campbell said. “We are very grateful to have this opportunity, and we hope that the local papers and their patrons will see the ads, go to our website and donate or volunteer – all very important to helping the mission.”
For more information, visit www.paperchain.com and www.fisherhouse.org.
The Young family takes time away from the hospital to return to the kitchen inside the Tampa Fisher House to feed their young daughter. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini | www.orsinistudio.com
Each Fisher House has a manager, but they couldn’t do everything they do without the help of their volunteers who give so generously of their time.  
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini | www.orsinistudio.com
 
One couple enjoys the peace and quiet of the Tampa Fisher House living room. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini | www.orsinistudio.com 
 
The spacious dining room inside the Fisher House provides plenty of room to not only eat, but to also gather to play games. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini | www.orsinistudio.com
 



 
(Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:44:00 +0000)

Free Community Papers are alive and well

~Kevin Slimp, Speaker/Writer/Consultant
http://www.kevinslimp.com
865.850.0378


I had to laugh a few days ago, when I received a copy of an industry publication featuring my pic on the top fold of the front page with the headline, "Slimp's invention has served newspaper industry for 20 years."

I have to tell you. I don't know where those years went. Back in those days, it seemed like everybody introduced me as the "young whiz kid" of the newspaper industry when I stepped on stage at a convention. It seems, in those early days, everyone wanted me to speak about where I came up with the idea for using PDFs to print newspapers and transmit ads. My most popular line was, "I don't know. It seemed like it ought to work."
Kevin meets with publishers for four hours
to discuss the future of the industry
at a publisher's summit in November.

You know, most great discoveries in life and business seem to boil down to common sense. As I write this column, I'm in Nashville, Tennessee, where I'll be leading a publishers' summit this week. A large group of publishers - I'm really quite surprised at just how large it is - from metro dailies to the smallest community papers are coming together to discuss how to be even more successful in the future.

When I lead something like this, I become a statistic junkie for days before, as I study every stat I can get my hands on. Two statistics struck me as very interesting as I prepared for this summit.
The first was a study released by Pew Research Center, indicating just how little most social media sites, other than Facebook, are actually used by anyone. My best friend, Ken, who is a marketing guru in Dallas, had me convinced that it was time to throw away Facebook, paper and all my other resources because the world, as he had described it, had turned to Instagram and Twitter.  Well I certainly know now, thanks to this study, that compared to print and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used by just a small portion of the population. I was especially surprised at how few teens used Instagram, after Ken almost had me drinking the Kool-Aid.

More surprising to me, however, were the most recent statistics from the Alliance for Audited Media, formerly known as ABC, showing the circulation of the 25 largest metro papers in the country. You may be wondering why I'm writing a column for a free paper industry pub about metro circulation. Just follow along for a little while longer.

How's this for a surprising number? The Atlanta Journal Constitution had a 33 percent increase in circulation. That's not a misprint. They grew from 174,000 subscribers to 231,000 in one year. And the Orange County Register, the same paper I predicted would have huge growth, grew 27 percent, from 280,000 subscribers to 356,000.

I know what you're thinking, "It's those digital subscribers." But guess what? Atlanta's total digital circulation sits at 6,000, while Orange County's sits at 15,000. Yes, less than 5 percent of total circulation for both.

So why do I even bother you with this stuff? Because, my friends, print is alive and well. We keep hearing that community papers, as a whole, are doing well this year. But we also keep hearing that the big papers are dying, which - in turn - means that we're all going with them.

That whole mess in New Orleans and other Newhouse cities has caused the whole nation to believe the sky is falling. But guess what. It's not. More newspapers than the naysayers would like us to believe are doing very well. Sure, some aren't. But many are. I believe that's always been the case.
What am I going to say to this group of distinguished publishers tomorrow? I'm going to remind them that their future is bright, if they'll resist the lure of the "print is dead" philosophy and keep producing quality publications.

You know, there are groups that don't invite me to speak anymore because I refuse to say that we should all abandon print. But I remember when I was working on the PDF project 20 years ago. It seemed that everybody, including Adobe, said it would never work.  Only a few close colleagues believed that we would ever transmit and print files in a method we take for granted today.
But common sense told me they were wrong. And common sense tells me that statistics don't lie. We have a bright future. Hold on for the ride. (Tue, 12 Nov 2013 11:47:00 +0000)

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Shop Small on November 30!


What will you be doing on November 30, 2013, the Saturday after Thanksgiving?


Participating in Small Business Saturday of course!  Heading into its fourth year, Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a day dedicated to local, independently-owned small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods across the country.

There are many organizations, national and local, that have done a great job organizing and getting the word out about the outsized contributions that small businesses make to our communities. One of those is the Small Business Saturday Coalition which PaperChain and several of our industry's associations have joined to help spread the word about Small Business Saturday. Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information.

Almost universally, Americans say they support and value small businesses in their communities. How could you not? They provide products and services you can’t get elsewhere, customer service is generally more personal, and they contribute enormously to the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities.

As hometown publishers, we know the the value and unrivaled service of our merchants on Main Street. We're dedicated to promoting their success all year long! Last year, millions of Americans, shopped at independently-owned small businesses on Small Business Saturday. This year, we invite you to help make the day even bigger for small business. Here are ways your publication and your local businesses can get involved and help support Small Business Saturday:


Shop Small on November 30, 2013:

By shopping small, you are showing your support for small businesses and creating goodwill within the communities where you work and live.  Make a day of it by shopping with friends and dining out at your favorite small restaurants.

Community papers and independent business owners should make the day your own:

Small businesses are known for having outstanding customer service and offering unique products.  Think about having special pages and promotions and lead neighboring small businesses to join forces to create a block party or holiday event.  Don’t forget to leverage Small Business Saturday marketing tools found here:  https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/resources?linknav=us-open-shopsmall-homepage-getresources

And check the interactive map here https://shopsmallneighborhoods.americanexpress.com/ to find your local businesses that are planning to participate.

Spread the word:

Sign up for email updates at www.shopsmall.com and make sure to ‘Like’ the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shopsmall). Tell your family, friends and loyal customers about Small Business Saturday on your social networks. And of course, publish special sections for the big day.

PaperChain and our industry is excited to be part of the Small Business Saturday Coalition.  We encourage all of you to shop small on November 30, 2013 and help spread the word.  Let’s make Small Business Saturday, the biggest shopping day of them all - we’ll see you on Main Street!

Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information. (Tue, 05 Nov 2013 17:47:00 +0000)

Free Community Paper Month a great success

Switching “Free Community Paper Month” to the month of July for the first time this year and replacing “Free Paper Week,” which had been held during the Month of March, has generated a great deal of new excitement.


The committee held a contest during the month of July for readers and member papers. Throughout the nation our community papers and readers were able to learn about the vibrancy of our industry and had a chance to win a $500 gift certificate to a local merchant from their immediate area.

In addition to the contest for readers, the member papers were asked to publish a Free Community Paper Month advertisement during the month of July and submit a tearsheet to the committee for their chance to win up to $2,000 in advertising reimbursement. This encouraged our members to roll the dice and really make a splash with the Free Community Paper Month promotion. Many publishers really thought outside the box and were very creative with their promotional activity.

As a result, the 2013 contest brought in 1,702 reader entries to the web site, and 64 PaperChain members submitted tearsheets for entry into the contest. Clearly every Free Community Paper who participated was a winner.

By chance — and this was a computer generated random pick — both winners were from the great state of Wisconsin. Laura Shepard avid reader of the Advertiser Community News in Seymour, Wisconsin who reads about everything happening in our small town community was the winner of $500 from PaperChain.

Also a winner of $500 was Laura’s favorite Free Community Paper the Advertiser Community News, in Seymour.

Our member winner who won the full $2,000 reimbursement for running ads valued at more than this amount was, The Great Dane Shopping News from Verona, Wisconsin. Woodward Community Media Group Publisher Steve Fisher states, “We are very happy to receive this prize! The marketing and promotional support provided by PaperChain is key to helping each individual member keep the value of our products top of mind to our readers, advertisers and employees. Kudos to PaperChain.”

Committee members would like to thank everyone who participated and ask that you look for an even bigger and better Free Community Paper Month in July 2014. We encourage you to lend your support and ideas to our committee. We hear a lot these days about how great other mediums are and we also hear about the mediums that are not doing so well. If we don’t tell our story with enthusiasm, no one will. So spread the word, lift your voices and let’s make sure to pave the way for future successes. (Thu, 05 Sep 2013 02:28:00 +0000)

Washington DC need to know!


By the time that you read this we will be just a few short weeks from the Monumental Conference in Washington D.C. We have listed here a few things that will help you with your travels.
The Hotel and Registration
The Hotel is the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton, 1250 South Hayes Street, Arlington, Virginia 22202. It is connected to and has a private entrance to the Pentagon City Fashion Mall featuring over 120 stores and dozens of restaurants and eateries. The direct number for the hotel is 703-451-5000
Registration will be open at noon on Thursday and at 7:30 AM on Friday and Saturday. It is located on the second floor next to the Grand Ballroom. All room elevators have a second floor stop so there is no reason to leave the building.
Getting There By Air
Reagan airport is the closest and is a $7 cab fare to the hotel. Washington/Baltimore is about 35 miles away and Dulles about 15. For the best means of transportation from these hotels, please contact the hotel Concierge Services direct at 703-415-5000
By Automobile
The hotel is located right off  US route I-395 at the Pentagon City exit. The hotel has a Concierge Service at 703-415-5000 that will be happy to give you personalized directions from any location.
By Amtrack
Amtrack trains discharge at Union Station in center city D.C. I would highly recommend the Metro to the hotel as it is only $3 and takes you right to the front door of the hotel. I used it last week and found it to be clean, fast and safe.
RECOMMENDED ATTIRE
The average temperature for Washington in September is 80 degree high and 63 degree low.
All sessions Thursday Friday and Saturday are Business Casual. We want you to be comfortable; however it is a business meeting in a very business district, so please use your own discretion.
Thursday evening is Vendors welcome night, be comfortable. It is a great chance to wind down from your trip, meet old friends, and make some new ones.
Don’t miss the Friday night outing at the National Press Club and the nighttime tour of our Nations Capital. Dinner will be at the press club near the Whitehouse where correspondents and reporters have been writing stories for decades. You will have a chance to walk the halls where Newspaper Legends have made history and the signed pictures on the walls will attest to that. As this is a working business property, please dress accordingly, no shorts or dungarees. Sport coats would be accepted, but not required,
Saturday night will be on your own and your packet will include area restaurant guides for everything from Taco Bell to Ruth Chris, all within 5 minutes of the hotel.
WHAT TO BRING
  • Please bring a bundle of your papers to exchange and plenty of business cards
  • Please bring your open mind and 3-minute ideas and plan to learn from the great speakers and your peers
  • Please bring your appetite, we always have plenty of great food
  • It’s Washington DC! If you have any ideas to change it, Congress is in session, go tell them
  • Bring your wallet and credit card to buy a drink for one of the hard working people who made all of this possible
(Mon, 26 Aug 2013 20:13:00 +0000)

Happy Free Community Paper Month!

Just a few days in, and we already have over 120 readers entered into our contest -- as well as a few publishers submitting promo tearsheets (for June!). We're off to a fantastic start -- kudos to PaperChain and all the folks who make great stuff happen!

Watch for all the stories, newsletters, blogs and social postings that will happen during Free Community Paper Month -- we'll spread their message socially through PaperChain's spaces. And while you're at it, please take a moment to "like," "retweet" and "comment" on the official PaperChain sites:


and the news & materials:



Thanks!
Jim
Tech Committee Co-chair

(Thu, 04 Jul 2013 04:53:00 +0000)

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Notice to All Publishers:
Celebrate Free Community Paper Month in July!

Industry insiders know and recognize the valuable service our free community papers provide to readers and advertisers, but all too often in the hustle and bustle of today’s fast pace world those simple facts get overlooked.

For the benefit of publishers of this valuable service, and for future generations of free paper publishers who will follow, it’s important to remind those we serve of our important role in their community and to toot our horn just a little bit. Since PaperChain is the common link between all the national, regional and state freepaper organizations it makes sense that it leads the charge to organize a recognition and celebration of our industry.

Your PaperChain leadership believes the noble mission of Free Community Papers fits perfectly with the national celebration of freedom the United States so proudly enjoys. The concepts of freedom and liberty and the rights we hold so dear provide the nation’s free papers with the perfect backdrop to remind the country of the valuable services we bring to over 56 million homes each week. In the spirit of independence and freedom celebrated nationwide every July we need your help to spread the word and demonstrate the reach of our industry. We will do this through a grand celebration of the Free Community Paper Industry during the entire month of July.

 Here is the agenda for the 2013 celebration roll out.

1. Shown here is the Free Community Paper Month Logo. 
Please use this logo often on your mast head, folios, promotional ads, articles and as fillers throughout your paper leading up to and during the month of July. For original artwork and PDF's visit http://paperchain.org/freepapermonth.html.
2. Also shown below is a Free Community Paper Month ad describing how your paper and your readers can participate. By participating both you and your readers will learn more about the industry and have the opportunity to sign up to win a $500 gift certificate to a local merchant of your choice (compliments of PaperChain) when they visit http://paperchain.com/contest/
3. As a Free Community Paper Publisher, your publication has two ways to win. If one of your readers is selected to win the $500 prize, you also get to pocket $500. You can also win up to $2,000 reimbursement for the promotional ad space you donate to the promotion of Free Community Paper Month. To register for this reimbursement a publication only needs to provide one tear-sheet electronically to contest@paperchain.com. If your tear-sheet is randomly selected you’ll be asked to document and supply proof of all the ads and logo space you’ve committed to the program and based on your advertising rates you will be reimbursed up to $2,000 for your promotional efforts.
4. Publishers are asked not to alter the logo, but to use it often. We encourage you to localize the ad and draw your reader’s attention to the important role your paper and staff play in this industry and how this industry stimulates the local and national economy.
5. We are all so very busy these days but we also encourage you to brainstorm with your staff and find ways to use the month of July to highlight your publication’s accomplishments and the many ways your publications help drive and support the local economy.
6. The 2013 celebration is only the beginning. In August the newly formed committee will begin work on the 2014 celebration. Their first order of business will be to begin work on national and state political proclamations formally recognizing Free Community Paper Month. They also anticipate some more elaborate contests for both readers and publications to stimulate even greater participation.

Your paper has made a great investment in your community and this industry. Only you and your staff can help us bring that story alive to your readers in this consolidated industry-wide effort. Please consider active participation in the July 2013 Free Community Paper Month. Visit us on Facebook and let us know your plans for Free Community Paper Month and thanks in advance for all you do to enhance the industry with every issue you publish. 

Questions: Contact Scarlette Merfeld ads@denpubs.com or  518-585-9173x 117. (Wed, 12 Jun 2013 23:19:00 +0000)

ANNOUNCING FREE PAPER MONTH

On behalf of the entire PaperChain committee I am happy to announce "JULY is National Free Paper Month". We are currently forming a committee to work out all the details on how to promote and celebrate it.  Many ideas have been bantered about and I can assure you the ideas are awesome!  The internal committee came up with the idea to switch the celebration from March to July in order to take advantage of the spirit of independence.

Dan Alexander, Sr. and co-chair of the internal marketing committee for PaperChain said, "Given the state of some daily pubs pulling back, I think the political mood is such that we could be welcomed as providing our communities with a very valuable service, supporting and providing an economic stimulant and identity to the areas we serve. Mom, Apple Pie and your Free Community Paper. It doesn't get any more patriot than that!!!"

Scarlette Merfeld from Denton Publications has agreed to chair the Free Paper Month committee and if you would like to be involved, please drop me an email.  Please watch for details and help us to promote our industry and plan to get involved in National Free Paper Month - July!

Officials for Rotary International have been invited to attend the AFCP conference in Denver April 25-27 to meet with publishers to encourage participation in PaperChain organized Rotary promotional materials.  Please help us to help Rotary meet their marketing needs and help prove the effectiveness of free papers!

Lastly I want to encourage you to share the Link and Learn and Link and Earn with your staff members.  This unique monthly feature is courtesy of PaperChain!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any PaperChain related questions or to volunteer to help.

Greg Birkett
gbirkett@dbqadvertiser.com

(Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:51:00 +0000)

Make Digital Reporting a New Year's Resolution!

by the AFCP Technology Committee

In keeping with our committee's mission to help our publishers harness the full potential of emerging technologies, the first "Digital Bytes" feature of the New Year asks, "What's in Your CVC Audit Report?" Here's a hint: If it's not the full range of Digital Data now measured under newly expanded "Paragraph Six," you are missing tremendous opportunities.

Adding to the established anchor analytics on general website activity and companion digital editions of publications, our audit reports now offer verified reporting for mobile-text marketing, social media, and email databases. The industry should welcome and embrace the new reporting opportunities, says tech entrepreneur, Joe Nicastro: "Websites, digital editions and social media statistics have become so vital to our industry. In the past we simply relied on our publication audits. Although those audits are a very important part of our industry, online statistics are becoming just as important if not more important."

"The reason being," Nicastro asserts, "is that advertisers hear more and more about online marketing, they know about companies like Facebook and Twitter as well as Google. They hear all the time they need to have an online presence to increase their business. Your online numbers become very important and can play a large role in increasing your print revenue. If your traffic to your website, digital editions  and other types of online media are growing it can show your advertisers as well as potential advertisers that your publications understand the need for traditional print but also understand online advertising and how it can help their businesses."

For publishers who have long embraced the existing digital reporting, the new opportunities offered under CVC's Paragraph Six are most welcome. However, not everyone is onboard with the "legacy metrics" according to CVC VP and digital lead, Jim Kennedy. "Currently 59% are reporting general website activity (6A)," he says, noting however that the industry still has room to grow from the "14% who present data for both web activity and digital editions." He is hopeful, as is the AFCP Digital Committee, the current industry reporting baseline will serve as a "springboard, as publications not only offer the banner ads, but begin to incorporate the other, expanded Paragraph 6 platforms into their programs for advertising opportunities."

Our industry has plenty of examples of success leveraging website analytics and digital metrics, and Delta Publications has done so for years. As an early adopter, Joe Mathes is excited about the expanded reporting and the opportunities it offers to enhance the conversations with prospective advertisers. "Today it's imperative to include digital information along with your CVC audit. Advertisers are hungry for digital data," he notes from experience, adding that, "in some cases more so than your circulation numbers. It doesn't matter if your numbers aren't great. To some advertisers, 1,000 unique visitors are more desirable than 10,000 copies in print."

"Reporting your text message advertising statistics is key to lending credibility to your product and will help lay the ground work for the future success of your text ad sales," adds Ken Ubert, President and Publisher of Hometown Publications - Express News. "We recently landed a large grocery store chain for Text It Advertising, our newspaper's retail mobile division, in large part due to being able to back-up our personal stats with third-party audit reporting. It is great that CVC will now be offering this to publishers, which is something the 'big guys' want to see."

The message from the trenches is simple, befitting a New Year's Resolution: "Include all your digital numbers, and you make your company as attractive as possible!" These sentiments are echoed by another tech entrepreneur and friend of the industry, Justin Gerena, who proclaims: "We're living in a media buyer's fantasy right now -- never before have they been able to make decision based on cold hard facts about exposure, reach, and results." His conclusion, that we should all want to do our easy homework here, notes that "CVC can't make it any easier to report digital circulation data. It's a no-brainer to report on digital reach, especially when you have vendors who can do it for you. No excuses when data is so readily available." (Wed, 02 Jan 2013 16:14:00 +0000)

PaperChain and Rotary Work Together for Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Join fellow PaperChain publishers and Rotary International in helping support the relief efforts for those effected by Hurricane Sandy.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone along the east coast who has been affected by the devastation delivered by Hurricane Sandy!

Here is a tremendous opportunity for our member publications to run a small ad on a space available basis to help raise relief funds for our fellow Americans who have suffered devastating losses. As the weather continues to make their situation even more difficult, these folks who have lost everything will be in even greater need of our help.

The ad available at the link below will allow readers to make a donation through a special PayPal account set up with Rotary Club of Wall Street and PaperChain to track funds generated from your generous donation of space to this worthy endeavor. Just follow the link and run the ad with the easy to use QR code that will direct the user to the donation site with the PayPal form.
 
Download the PaperChain Hurricane Sandy Relief Ad

Please run the ad as many times in November as you have space available and help us send a message of support this Thanksgiving for those people in serious need of our help. Thanks in advance for your generosity at this time of need.

Sincerely,

Carol Toomey 
AFCP President
Member & Past District Governor, Rotary International

Greg Birkett
Chair of PaperChain
(Wed, 14 Nov 2012 17:11:00 +0000)

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Shop Small on November 24!

What will you be doing on November 24, 2012, the Saturday after Thanksgiving?  

Participating in Small Business Saturday of course!  Heading into its third year, Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a day dedicated to local, independently-owned small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods across the country.

There are many organizations, national and local, that have done a great job organizing and getting the word out about the outsized contributions that small businesses make to our communities. One of those is the Small Business Saturday Coalition which PaperChain and several of our industry's associations have joined to help spread the word about Small Business Saturday. Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information.

Almost universally, Americans say they support and value small businesses in their communities. How could you not? They provide products and services you can’t get elsewhere, customer service is generally more personal, and they contribute enormously to the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities.

As hometown publishers, we know the the value and unrivaled service of our merchants on Main Street. We're dedicated to promoting their success all year long! Last year, millions of Americans, shopped at independently-owned small businesses on Small Business Saturday. This year, we invite you to help make the day even bigger for small business. Here are ways your publication and your local businesses can get involved and help support Small Business Saturday:


·      Shop Small on November 24, 2012:

By shopping small, you are showing your support for small businesses and creating goodwill within the communities where you work and live.  Make a day of it by shopping with friends and dining out at your favorite small restaurants.

·      Community papers and independent business owners should make the day your own:

Small businesses are known for having outstanding customer service and offering unique products.  Think about having special pages and promotions and lead neighboring small businesses to join forces to create a block party or holiday event.  Don’t forget to leverage Small Business Saturday marketing tools found here:  www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/rally-your-town  And check the interactive map here http://smallbusinesssaturday.com to find your local businesses that are planning to participate.

·      Spread the word: 

Sign up for email updates at www.shopsmall.com and make sure to ‘Like’ the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shopsmall). Tell your family, friends and loyal customers about Small Business Saturday on your social networks. And of course, publish special sections for the big day.

PaperChain and our industry is excited to be part of the Small Business Saturday Coalition.  We encourage all of you to shop small on November 24, 2012 and help spread the word.  Let’s make Small Business Saturday, the biggest shopping day of them all - we’ll see you on Main Street!

Visit http://smallbusinesssaturday.com for more information. (Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:15:00 +0000)

I AM GUILTY

At the IFPA meeting in New Orleans they hosted a media buyers panel made up of David Crawford, former media buyer and now with SRDS, 2 other media buyers and Tim Bingaman from CVC as host and moderator. The information that they gave to the audience was very valuable. They gave some great insight into the media buying process and what is important to media buyers.

I found it interesting to hear them speak of a "Dead Room" full of printed media kits that no one looks at anymore. Media buyers want their information electronically. They referred to these rooms as the room of broken dreams. I also found it interesting that they do want relationships with the media and find it most useful when representatives go out of their way to state their case on particular accounts or advertisers.

One thing that they stressed is the importance of audited circulation. When they have the choice, they said audited wins every time. This is where my guilt comes in. I am behind on my quarterly audit reports. I put it on the back burner, feeling I have so many more important things to get done. I had the best intentions of getting them caught up and then having my circulation manager complete the task going forward on a weekly basis. That just makes sense, doesn't it?

I know there are many of you that have been behind on your audit reports - misery likes company, they say. After hearing the media buyer’s discussion, I know that I need to move the project to the front burner and get them up to date as soon as I can, and keep them that way. To help the free paper industry, please keep your audits up to date. It is important, as an industry that we continue to plead our case that our papers continue to thrive and that our circulations are not plummeting like the dailies - this could be our chance to finally convince media buyers of the strength of our local circulation.

Your PaperChain committee has been working hard to make a small budget work to promote the free paper industry. One of our key allies in the promotion is our inclusion and prominent positioning on the SRDS platform, where media buyers look to find information about advertising opportunities in markets around the country. Douglas Fry from SAPA put together a great "sizzle reel" about the power of our papers that is on the SRDS site for media buyers to view. They played it at the IFPA conference for all to see, and you can view it, too, by going to the PaperChain site at: http://www.paperchainnetwork.net

Watch for more information about how PaperChain and the Free Paper Industry are using SRDS to help us spread the good news that in the free paper world, print is not dead!
(Wed, 24 Oct 2012 13:00:00 +0000)

MFCP ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Board of Directors of Midwest Free Community Papers is pleased to announce the hiring of Dick Colvin to the position of Executive Director, replacing Brian Gay who retired at the end of June.
A team has been appointed to work with Dick to plan for a smooth transition into the position.  Start dates and specifics will be worked out very soon.
Dick brings with him a wealth of sales and free paper experience having worked with the Texas Community Newspaper Association, the Southwest Association of Community Publications, and the PennySaver, a division of Harte Hanks in California. He also served in various roles for Magic Ads, Sacramento and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dick Colvin said, “I have very large shoes to fill in replacing Brian Gay and I look forward to working closely with the MFCP board to strengthen the association and provide great service to their member papers.”
MFCP President, Joel Klaassen said “There was a strong field of candidates that applied for this position and it was a hard decision but we are excited to start this new chapter in MFCP’s rich history and I am very pleased to be able to have Dick at the helm leading our association.”

(Fri, 19 Oct 2012 20:46:00 +0000)

Make Your Message Sticky

by Jim Busch, Ideas & Eyeballs

We live in a crazy busy world. Everyone is constantly inundated with information and sales pitches. This creates a challenge for sales people because we have to break through the clutter and make our presentations memorable and impactful. We need to make our presentations "sticky" to engage the prospect so that they retain the information we share with them. I like to use”visual analogies" to sell advertising.

For example: I was doing a presentation to a customer who advertised in a competitive product to convince him to include us in his marketing mix. I did some research and found that about one third of the market read their product exclusively and almost an equal number read only my paper. The remaining third read both publications. I could have printed out the research and shared the numbers, but in most cases this overwhelms the customer. Instead I bought three cheap clear plastic vases and two bags of Hershey's Kisses, one milk and one dark chocolate. I put milk chocolate candy in one vase and the dark chocolate kisses in another. The third vase was left empty. During the presentation I pulled out the three vases and told the customer that they represented the readership of the two local papers. The vase on the left with the silver wrapped candy was my paper, and the purple wrapped candy on the right was my competitor. I then poured some of each into the empty vase in the middle telling him that this was a more accurate description of the market because a third of local residents read both. I then took the vase of milk chocolate candy away and put it behind my back. I told the customer”You current program misses one third of your potential customers" and pointing the the mixed vase "you are cutting your exposure to these people in half." This image helped the customer to understand what he was doing much more clearly than any chart or PowerPoint could do, The sight of having his "candy" taken away invoked the natural human tendency to avoid loss. Making my point visually burned this into the customer's brain and helped position the value of my paper. They expanded their budget and now advertise in both papers.

One final point: I first considered using dried beans to make my point but decided to go with the chocolate. After my demo, the client ate some of my “props" and I left the rest for his staff. This small gift made the presentation more memorable and literally left a "good taste in the customer's mouth." Whenever possible use visual analogies to prove the value of your products. Doing so will make what your presentations much "stickier!" (Wed, 19 Sep 2012 16:00:00 +0000)

Announcing the 2012 Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl K-12:

Calling all competitors!
Do you have what it takes to be a recycling champion?

Compete against other schools in your state and nationwide to see who recycles the most. There are great prizes for top performers!

The 2012 Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl K-12 school competition registration database is now open. The competition will be held October 15 to November 9, 2012, with registration closing on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The first 1000 schools to register will receive a Recycle-Bowl coordinator toolkit. The toolkit will include Recycle-Bowl competition posters, lesson plans, a paper making DVD, plastic bottle flake "test tubes", a library book, etc.

For complete details on criteria, prizes and more, register to participate in a September 18 webinar on the topic from 4:30 - 5:30 PM EDT at:https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/311899209
More information about the competition can be found at: http://recycle-bowl.org

Just a reminder, this competition is separate from the previously posted AF&PA Recycling Awards, which will launch in December and focus on paper recovery from schools, businesses and communities.  For details of previous AF&PA Recycling Award winners and their programs, visit paperrecycles.org.

(Wed, 12 Sep 2012 12:45:00 +0000)

Report: Going Paperless May Not Be Better for the Environment


The Non-Profit, Two Sides, Launches Educational Campaign to Promote Proper Marketing Claims Related to Print and Paper


Two Sides has just launched a nationwide initiative to assist major U.S. companies in developing and implementing best practices related to environmental marketing claims for print and paper. According to Two Sides research on 94 leading companies, 50 percent of them are using unsubstantiated environmental claims to encourage consumers to switch to lower-cost electronic billing and services.

"The objective of our new program is to offer our expertise at no cost to U.S. corporations who currently make environmental claims about print and paper relative to online billing and communication. Our research has shown that many companies are using negative claims that are not verifiable or factual related to the environmental impacts of print and paper, and as a result do not meet best practice guidelines for environmental marketing," says Two Sides President and COO Phil Riebel. "Two Sides and our 60 member companies are committed to sharing our collective expertise on the life-cycle and environmental impacts of print and paper. Our discussions to date have been very productive and the end result has been more accurate claims that are not damaging to the paper, printing and mailing sectors that provide over 8 million U.S. jobs."

Two Sides, which represents companies across the graphic communications supply chain, will assist companies to develop and follow best practices for environmental marketing, including the use of science-based and verifiable information. The non-profit conducted a similar campaign in the United Kingdom with great success. More than 80 percent of the U.K. companies approached -- including well-known names like British Telecom, Barclaycard, Vodafone and EON Energy -- agreed to change their messaging to eliminate misleading or factually incorrect environmental claims about the use of print and paper.

"The fact is, print and paper products made in the U.S. have a great environmental story to tell," Riebel says. "Paper comes from a renewable resource -- trees grown in responsibly managed forests -- and it's recycled more than any other commodity, including plastics, metals and glass. The continuing demand for sustainably sourced paper gives U.S. landowners and families a financial incentive to continue managing their lands responsibly and keep them forested rather than selling them for development or other non-forest uses. Thanks in great part to the sustainable forestry practices advanced by the paper and forest products industry, the volume of growing trees in U.S. forests has increased nearly 50 percent over the last half century."

"Many major U.S. companies have implemented credible sustainability initiatives that focus on true performance measurement and factual environmental claims," Riebel says. "However, in some cases marketing seems to take the upper hand on science. Two Sides is committed to help change this, and our experience to date shows that we've been successful in finding mutually acceptable solutions."

About Two Sides:

Two Sides is an initiative by companies from the Graphic Communication Value Chain including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing and printing. Membership spans Europe, the United States and Australia. Our common goal is to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper, and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium. For more information about Two Sides, please contact Phil Riebel at 1-855-896-7433 or pnr@twosides.info, or visit the Two Sides U.S. website at www.twosides.us. (Wed, 11 Jul 2012 19:39:00 +0000)

Sign Up For This Blog: Posts (Atom)