2016 New England Newspaper Conference


 


Bulletin photos by Chinyen Chang

‘We identify an advertiser that could be interested, then we develop a show based on that advertiser and pitch it. If they approve it, we move forward. It’s very important to be driving revenue while we’re producing this content.’

-- Vince Johnson,
Publisher,
Forsyth County News,
Cumming, Ga.

Johnson: Video, social media
transform community news

Continued from Home Page

“We identify an advertiser that could be interested, then we develop a show based on that advertiser and pitch it,” he said. “If they approve it, we move forward. It’s very important to be driving revenue while we’re producing this content.”

The partnerships have allowed the Forsyth County News to create several popular online video shows, including a high school football training camp series inspired by HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and one that spotlights the paper’s top three stories for the week.

One of the first video shows the paper released was “Studio Forsyth,” a magazine-style news show with two segments.

“It’s a play for brand advertisers: your hospital, your chamber of commerce, your economic development board – people that really want to talk about the good news that’s happening in the community,” Johnson, whose background is in video production, said. “We don’t include things like crime.”

Other interesting advertising strategies that Johnson initiated include “Own the Day,” a program where advertisers pay for a full-page print ad, select space on the paper’s website all day, and a spot in its top stories email.

“You are the top advertiser for that day,” he said.

Another factor in the paper’s recent success has been its more frequent use of social media, Johnson said. When he arrived in 2014, he quickly did away with one of the paper’s more antiquated social media rules.

“There was a rule at the Forsyth County News: Only one social media post per day – and it was always at 6 a.m.,” he said. “We immediately changed that and helped grow our audience.”

And he allows anyone on the newspaper’s staff to post on its Facebook page.

“I don’t think that it’s a problem. We have rules about how to post,” he said. “It’s about letting everyone pitch in and help with the social media platforms.”

The staff posts on Facebook about six to eight times a day, and the page has grown from about 1,000 followers when Johnson arrived to having more than 16,000 “likes” today, he said.


Members of the audience at Vince Johnson’s speech.


POSTED 10/27/16


 



© Copyright 1998-2016 New England Newspaper and Press Association. All rights reserved.