Do You Have a Black Friday Strategy Yet?

Black Friday prep: It’s a tradition that’s as essential to the American Thanksgiving Day as turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Once everyone has been fed and the sports games have been enjoyed, families crowd around huge sheaves of advertisements to plan out their Friday shopping expeditions. Which stores are open when? Who has the best deals? What are the season’s hottest products? As a result, newspapers and online publishers are finding new ways to capitalize on the trend.

While retailers begin their planning months in advance to handle the chaos of Black Friday, newspapers traditionally trail behind. Here’s a closer look at some options that will let you get ahead and make the most of Black Friday.

Charge Consumers for Advertisements

Newspapers including the Detroit Free Press and Chicago Tribune are treating their Thanksgiving editions like premium versions of the paper. In exchange for a large selection of ads, the papers are charging between $1 and $2 more per paper. There’s been significant backlash, with many consumers expressing concern and even displeasure at the thought of paying a premium for ads. After all, subscribers and newsstand purchasers rationalize, advertisers are already paying premium rates for those spaces. Yet in a market where publishers struggle to find new ways to monetize this creates a small new revenue stream. The question remains: is the temporary boost in revenue worth customers’ negative reactions?

Online Opportunities for Ads and Tie-Ins

For publishers with a hybrid online and print strategy, the holidays provide a significant avenue for holiday growth. One strategy is to approach your traditional print advertisers and offer to assist with their online advertising needs. How can the two channels help your advertisers reach two different audiences? Plan your advertising calendar, including premium placements, well in advance. The more you’re thinking about these issues well before December, the better chance you stand of capturing holiday ad spend. Many retailers buy their ad space well in advance of the holidays. Another strategy is to reach out in the week or two prior to the holiday with last minute inventory. Many retailers need a final boost or are working through the remainder of their Q4 marketing budgets.

Developing a Content Strategy That Supports Holiday Growth

One of the most important areas for publishers to think about is their content schedule in connection with the holiday shopping season. For example, what stories can you plan for your website that emphasize the tie-ins for advertisers? What stories can you use to sell online ads that serve as a companion to print editions? For example, seasonal story ideas such as the hottest product trends, gift ideas that focus on specific ideas such as Gifts for Mom or Gifts for Him, and celebrity holiday stories are all incredibly popular at this time of year. Commissioning your stories well in advance can help sell advertisers on the idea of experimenting with related mobile and digital channel advertising campaigns.

Are you a newspaper or online publisher that’s working on new ways to make the most of Black Friday? By planning your ad sales well in advance, preparing and publicizing a well-thought out content plan, and finding creative revenue streams, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable Holiday 2014 season.

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