My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Monday, July 13, 2009

Video Monday 3: Print Publishing's Big Problems


Glitterati_Duane said...

I agree that their "target everyone" strategy is a problem for news papers. However I think that because their readership is so large they can still find appropriate targets for generic ads. It still comes down to whether a person is interested or not. If I'm looking for a car and a I see a news paper ad that says they're on for 0% financing somewhere then I might bite. As far as targeted ads. I like video games but I only play shooters for the most part. So when I see an ad for a role playing game or something else then I'm more than likely going to ignore it. The targeting would have to be so specific that it would have to know that I only play a certain kind of game. I think that there is inherent risk when advertising in any medium. It's just easier to justify advertising in the digital world right now because results are somewhat quantifiable.

Joel Kelly said...

Oh, the reach is fantastic, no question. But as I suggested, it's very difficult to get people to notice ads in a newspaper. We're more apt to notice ads that are in a publication or surround content that's more targeted to us.

Gina Carr said...


Thanks a lot for your video. As a publisher and franchisor of community magazines, I am particularly interested in this topic.

You are spot on with your point about publications that try to target "everyone." Indeed, by targeting "everyone" they are truly targeting "no one."

I often say "If you try to be all things to all people, you actually are nothing to anyone."

Your recommendation that publications should actually work on reducing their readership versus expanding it is exactly what publications need to do to be successful these days.

Small distribution to a very focused target has been a key to success of our publications since inception in 1996.

Thanks for stimulating thoughts on this very important matter.

Gina Carr

Joel Kelly said...

Thanks Gina! Great to hear you've been finding success in that approach. One of the problems papers are having too is that if they focus more, reduce distribution, and find a narrower target, they'll have to lay off even more people. And pay execs less. Tough pill to swallow.

WordsWorth said...

Much of merit here, Joel. Being in the industry. I often look at the ads in the newspaper from a creative perspective - how well was the idea executed. Yet most days, I find I pass them by when I do look at the paper.

I think it's a kind of anathema for papers to try to think of trimming their readership and homing in on a specific niche. They value numbers; it's the thing they always tout. If they target a smaller readership, they may have a more highly prized demo, but fewer eyes. Fewer eyes means less revenue and potentially a smaller staff providing less coverage. And that could marginalize the value or relevance of the paper further. It's a problem that, at the end of the day, I'm glad I don't have to resolve. But I would like to see print find a new model that works, even if I say that out of nostalgia for what print has meant to me over the years...

Joel Kelly said...

Yeah, exactly WordsWorth. Though as much as it would be nice if newspapers could stick around in their current form, it's just not going to happen. Now's the time for figuring out new, better solutions.

Ben said...

You had me with the jingle.

Joel Kelly said...

Ben: Glad you liked the post!

kathy said...

Hey Joel,

Great vlog. :) I agree with what you're saying about newspapers and trying to grab readers/clients.. I work at a weekly newspaper, and have a fairly fixed demographic. We try to focus on evolving forward, as much as we can. That has meant on line subscriptions, regularly maintaining a website and even hopping on Twitter.

Our paper has a modest readership compared to the other in this town of approx 5000. We contend with trying to be original, and continually try to spice things up.

It's definitely challenging!

Joel Kelly said...

I hear ya, Kathy! It's definitely not a simple problem, but great to hear that you liked the video and that you're doing cool stuff.