Archived Webinar

From Influence to Impact: Putting More Political Ad Dollars on Your Books

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Presented by Mark Levy, president and co-founder, Revenue Development Resources Inc.

Hush your mouth! Candidates and their campaigns are watching your social media posts. You wouldn’t trash other advertisers on your social media. Be careful about expressing opinions on candidates during an election year.

The other 2016 surprise. Political advertising revenue was a bust compared to the bonanza publishers expected. Both Clinton and Trump learned they could get very valuable exposure for free on cable and social media.

Show me the money. Another valuable source for your ad salespeople is OpenSecrets.org. This site from the Center for Responsive Politics will tell you how much money has been raised in races, including details of how much individual candidates have raised and spent so far.

Beyond the candidate. Local businesses might not be running, but they are likely supporting candidates. You can approach them with a pitch for buying support ads. You already know who they are supporting.

Mark Levy said it: “(Candidates in) local races need your audience to win. That’s why you must make your newspaper the must-buy … the local connection.”

How to do that. Tell your story focusing on the benefits of advertising with you — and forget that newspaper jargon.

Bears repeating: Mark Levy’s famous lessons on features versus benefits. Politicians don’t care about your business. Lead with the benefit and follow with the features. Here’s how he put it last month during his webinar on The Silver Sales Bullets of 2020:

The feature is a bug. Think of the difference between marketing yourself by emphasizing the features of your newspaper — trust, long history, desirable audience — and emphasizing the benefits to the advertiser. Sub in “you” for “we.” Don’t say: “We have a print and digital audience willing to pay a premium price for our product.” Say: “You can reach a print and digital audience that’s willing to pay a premium price.”

First steps. Start early! Become familiar with all parties contending, not just the blue and the red. Your package from this webinar will include a sample introductory letter (see below) that will start your candidate on his/her way to the ad buy funnel.

Word of mouth. Get references from candidates who are happy with the experience of advertising with your newspaper. It shows the result.

Upsells and ideas: Sell ad/sponsorship positions on election-related pages such as how to vote absentee or how to vote, period; voter registration information; early voting locations; and more.

Mark Levy approves this message. One of the great sources for political ads is the Kantor Institute, which houses the world’s largest collection of campaign commercials. In charge: Lisa Henry. Tap her knowledge by contacting her at lisah@ou.edu or (405) 325-1573.

You asked: How do we find what PAC groups are out there? OpenSecrets.org is a good source. And your local boards of election can sometimes be a good source for locating PACs.

Want to follow up with Mark Levy? Contact him at mark@rdrtoday.com or (972) 522-8570 or RDR’s vice president, Holly Levy who is at holly@RDRtoday.com or (817) 703-3213.

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