Check out the Georgetown News Graphic online (http://www.news-graphic.com/) this (Friday) morning and you’ll be greeted with the ad above. It’s Free Friday access to all the news and happenings around Scott County.
A discussion between GNG publisher Mike Scogin and local State Farm agent Steve Woodrum, who has a marketing background, led to the insurance agent underwriting the cost of the Free Friday access to the News-Graphic website. Steve admits (see his email below) that he is not a fan of paywalls to newspaper websites but he gets it; he understands the reason. Still he and Mike thought it would be a good idea to test the promotional idea.
It’s a double-win for the News-Graphic since Woodrum’s agency buys an ad on the wrapper that holds the sample papers Gtown sends out and then gets extra attention to its website.
But rather than me tell you about this, and how it came about, here’s an email from Mike Scogin, followed with one from Steve Woodrum, the State Farm agent who also has offices in Frankfort.
From News-Graphic publisher Mike Scogin:
“It started a couple months ago. We sample papers each week and Steve Woodrum buys an ad on the inside of the wrapper that holds the sample paper. During our discussions this idea came up and we went with it. They are very happy with it and it gives us our website additional exposure.”
From State Farm agent Steve Woodrum:
“Hey David, thanks very much for noticing the promotion. My background is marketing and finance and I also like to stand out from the crowd with my marketing efforts. I approached the news graphic last year with the idea as I really hate paywalls on news sites, although I understand why they do it, they don’t have a better idea. My idea was simple, I would agree to do a set price on print/online ads for a period of time but I also wanted to knock the paywall down on a certain day of the week in that price. It took them a bit of time to think it thru but I was happy they wanted to give it a shot. My thought was it was truly a sort of public service for people who could not afford the paper and also expose people who simply don’t want to pay. I also felt that in some part it is an effort by my business to support our local news institution and help them get more readers or online subscribers. I am aware its working as they want to keep doing it which is the first time Ive been asked “will you continue” vs “will you continue paying”. I am also going to assume that they have data that shows a spike of readership on that date, which probably makes it easier to sell more ads, bolsters their online number etc etc, and im paying for it, so win win. Its also interesting ive approached a couple other papers in Frankfort and Lawrenceburg and all three including the graphic seriously had NEVER thought of the idea, which is flattering and surprising, but I guess its hard to see out of the box sometimes. My opinion is some of the smaller papers could utilize a similar program. (Steve believes some newspapers are “too traditional” to buy into a similar concept.)
“Anyway, thanks again for recognizing the effort, let me know if I can help. My assumption is this idea is almost exhausted for me as it will become a leading practice 🙂 so I need to think up something else.”
I’m going to believe other newspapers will find a local business to underwrite access, even if for one day, and thanks to Mike and Steve for giving us the background on this idea to pass along to you.