Have a connection for us? Drop us a line.
Regular readers will recall that my DigBoston colleagues, Chris Faraone and John Loftus, and I love to pull back the curtain on our operations now and again to give our audience a look at how an alternative weekly newspaper like ours runs. The better to connect with the communities we serve.
Over time, we’ve gradually covered all aspects of our operation in broad strokes… including advertising. But this week we thought it would be useful to return to that subject. Because although we’ve reviewed our driving need to sell more ads to grow and reach more people, we have not run through the many types of nonprofit and for-profit enterprises that we believe could benefit from partnering with our sales program.
It is no surprise that a general interest commercial news outlet will typically get advertising from businesses and institutions that relate to its regular beats. For example, we cover music and we get ads from music venues. It’s also no shock to most that print newspapers like ours cover beats that we rarely get ads from—like film and theater.
But we also get ads for products and services that we rarely cover. Say, jet skis and snowmobiles. Given that advertisers are sometimes more concerned about who our audience is than about the text that fills our pages.
However, too often they fail to read our media kit—which explains that we have a very diverse audience, most particularly by age group. Thus they may not realize that we serve more than one age bracket. The hot market for the enterprises that advertise in a big college town like Boston is typically young people, 18-30. And we have definitely have a lock on that audience.
That said, we also have an older audience—people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s—who have been fans throughout the entire 21 years this paper has been publishing. So, just looking at our age demographics, one can see that there are all kinds of advertisers that could and should be working with us. Not at all times in every season. But for key periods every year. And our sales and executive staff spend a good deal of time thinking about what sectors those advertisers might come from.
We figure there’s no reason to keep such thinking to ourselves. Because we want such advertisers to know that we’re inviting them to talk to us. In planning this editorial, two types of enterprises that we think should be advertising in DigBoston sprang quickly to mind: community banks (especially credit unions and co-operative banks) and universities.
There are a number of reasons we think those two sectors are a natural fit. Both serve the community at large, as this newspaper does. Both serve young people, yes, but also older people—although the natural audience for universities skews younger and for banks skews older. Both need to reach this broad demographic basically at all times. But each sector also has unique advertising needs that we think can be well served by this newspaper.
Universities are constantly running special programming. Conferences, lectures, seminars, plays, concerts, and sporting events. Much of that programming is aimed at the general public. But not all media are specifically geared to attract that public to events. And very few outlets in the Boston area reach tens of thousands of young people around the city who seek them out to find those events every week. Virtually none are also considered tastemakers in their coverage of arts and entertainment. Risk takers who expressly seek out the experimental, the adventurous, and the bleeding edge—and put them in the public eye. DigBoston ticks off all those boxes.
Community banks are looking to advertise in news media that defend and valorize local lifeways. That honor established neighborhood institutions with proven track records of doing right by area residents while always seeking new and interesting additions to the social fabric of their precincts. Future institutions that good banks can nurture. This publication does that with aplomb.
So we’d like to ask readers who work for community banks and universities—or who have friends and family that do—to drop us a line with leads about banks and colleges that might be interested in advertising with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many other potential sectors that we’re interested in working with. Readers that have connections to any advertiser that you think might be a good fit should also drop us a line.
We thank folks in advance for any leads you can give us. A community newspaper like ours can only survive and thrive with direct support from our audience. Which is why you should know that we will never take our loyal readers for granted.
Jason Pramas is executive editor and associate publisher of DigBoston.
Executive editor and associate publisher, DigBoston. Executive director of Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Former founder and editor/publisher of Open Media Boston. 2018 & 2019 Association of Alternative Newsmedia Political Column Award Winner.