NNA to offer new member benefit focused on shared revenue ideas

Jul 28, 2020

John Galer (right) shares a special section he ran at The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, at the Great Idea Exchange as part of the 130th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Franklin, Tennessee, moderated by Robert Williams Jr. (left). (Publishers  Auxiliary)
Merle Baranczyk (left) shares an idea from his newspapers in Arkansas Valley Publishing in Salida, Colorado, at the Great Idea Exchange as part of the 131st Annual Convention & Trade Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moderated by Robert Williams Jr. (right). (Publishers  Auxiliary)

What does your community newspaper have to sell?

Some would say space or column inches. Others might say an audience or readers.

All of that would be correct, but none of those are likely to be what the majority of local advertisers are most interested in.

“The local businesses in our town quite often aren’t really interested in buying anything,” longtime weekly newspaper publisher Robert M. Williams Jr. of Blackshear, Georgia, said. “All of them are really interested in selling their own products. And the only way our newspapers can be successful is if we can supply them with creative, innovative and productive ideas — ideas that revolve around how our advertisers — can more effectively reach our readers, their potential buyers.

“Trying to sell 'space’ or ‘readers’ is missing the mark for what our customers need the most — that creative genius of innovative ideas every newspaper needs to offer.”

NNA embraces this critical fact about successful newspapering.

That’s why the annual Great Idea Exchange has long been one of the most popular sessions of every Annual Convention and Trade Show.

The collective wisdom and experience of NNA members across the country, sharing their best revenue-generating (or cost-saving) ideas in a group setting has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in newspaper profits over the years.

Now, NNA is working to bring those great ideas directly to its members all year long.

The NNA Board of Directors has authorized a pilot program and recruited Williams, now retired after a 50-year career in newspapers, to reach out to our thousands of members and “mine” their ideas to be shared in a new member benefit called the Great Idea Exchange Live!

Williams has already begun contacting community newspaper leaders and newspaper association managers across the country to create a database of innovative ideas.

Great ideas from past conventions and as reported on in Publishers’ Auxiliary are available on NNA.org (https://www.nna.org/great-ideas).

In addition to adding Great Ideas to the bank on the website, Williams will begin sharing the ideas to NNA members via monthly webinar and direct email.

Each email will contain successful ideas gleaned from other newspapers across the nation, including illustrations and instructions for what made the idea work.

Some of the ideas will be brand new, while others might be from years gone by — but every idea will be brand new to someone in the NNA membership and have the potential to create new revenue by helping local businesses grow.

Williams will also host Great Idea Exchange Live! webinars monthly. In these interactive webinars, NNA members will share tips on how to better utilize the ideas or make them work even better. Pub Aux Live! training webinars will still be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

“One of the goals of our NNA convention each year is to send our members back home with enough training, enough enthusiasm and enough new ideas that they can generate enough revenue to not only pay for their trip, but demonstrate to their advertisers how innovative and creative their hometown newspaper can be,” NNA President Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, said. "We see the Great Idea Exchange Live! as one more tool every great member newspaper can count on to help them build stronger communities.”

The best way for the Great Ideas bank to grow and become a valued asset for every member is to have increased participation, Williams said. That’s why he hopes Pub Aux readers will not wait to be called but will contact him and share their best ideas today.

Williams can be reached at (912) 281-5438 or email robert@nna.org.

“Don’t hide your best work,” Williams said. “Call me today so we can tell everyone in NNA how your idea can help them.”

Watch your email for future announcements soon.