Your publication's image helps sell your credibility
What factors comprise your publication's image? I believe your image is comprised of many factors, including – but not limited to – print quality, web presence, employee attire, employee attitude, your office cleanliness, the area outside your building, the racks you use to sell your publication (both coin and inside racks), your delivery and your editorial objectivity, just to mention some that top my list.
Do we need "image police" or does it start with employee attitude? I would go with attitude; once that becomes positive and caring, it is also contagious. The best we can hope for is pride in their work, their surroundings and sincere caring about community relations.
What areas portray your publication's image? The front of your building, the landscape, the dock or loading area, the interior of your office, your newspaper racks and the print quality of your newspaper.
Does your office look like a child was playing with paper and left a messy table? It has been said that a "cluttered" or unorganized desk says the person working there is unorganized and may even have trouble keeping his thoughts on track – but even more important, it says your operation is sloppy. Is your floor or carpet stained, are your walls cluttered with pin up articles, or awards/photos that beg to be straightened? Does your press/insert/loading area look like a vagrant makes his home there? Take a walk through your building. If you see these things, it's time to put a plan in action to correct them. If you don't see any of these, congratulate your staff!
Drive around town and look at your outside racks. Go in stores selling your papers. Do the outside racks show dull, rusted, broken or dull windows? Can you even see your paper behind the window? Are your inside racks in a corner? Do they have other products stacked on them? Is your competitor on the same rack or, worse yet, on the top shelf or have a copy in the display top? What image do you believe this conveys? Did your rack make you want to buy your paper or fire someone? OK, since you are in charge, don't fire yourself. But you could build a fire under youself to correct these poor images!
Have you compared your print image to other publications? If you have your own print operation, you should ask whether it could do better or should you explore outsourcing your printing? If you are already printed somewhere else, did you choose price rather than quality? Are there other sources that can do a better job? Evaluate your print quality through SNPA's Print Quality Contest (register by June 12 to be included).
Perhaps the most expensive improvement will involve your outside racks. With the help of a local painter and a decal company, your racks can debut a new look. Do this without having to buy more racks by identifying the lowest-selling racks and temporarily pulling them. Then, start painting and/or replacing the higher-selling racks first, working through all of your outside racks. Eventually you'll have all of your racks back in service – and you'll be enjoying higher rack sales!
Just saying ...
Lewis Floyd is a senior associate with W.B. Grimes & Company, with responsibility for the Southern states. He may be reached at (850) 532-9466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.