Are you creating demand?

Some great points are to be found in Mary Nesbitt's summary of new Readership Institute data:

"Reading customers aren't deserting newspapers at anything approaching the rate that advertising customers are."

I think that right now, newspapers are suffering not only from structural and cyclical changes in the economic landscape, but also from a round of hyperbolic coverage of newspaper industry woes. Some advertisers are looking at newspapers as a poisoned medium when, in fact, most newspapers are still pretty strong in most local markets, the best advertising option for a local business.

"A significant proportion of locals don't care much about local news, at least not enough to seek out regular doses of it."

That's a tough but not intractable problem. Read on ....

"62 percent of respondents said they had never visited the local newspaper's Website, and only 14 percent said they had visited between the last seven to 30 days."

The retail landscape is full of products we don't necessarily know we want or need until we're touched by a marketing program. So ... where's the marketing program for news? Who's selling it effectively? What are you doing that makes people care about local news, know about your website, feel a need that only you can fill?

Newspapers are chronically bad about this. The entire industry is funded by other people's marketing programs but we're not smart enough to create demand for our own products. What's your marketing plan?