I know what you may be thinking: “Newspapers aren’t profitable anymore.” This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to local newspapers. In this article, I will show you how to start a profitable local newspaper from scratch.
1. Pick A Name
The first step with creating your newspaper is picking your name. Look at some of the local newspapers in your area for ideas. Also, you can come up with a name that is related to the content in your paper. Decide if you only want to have ads in your paper or do you want to have advertorials [businesses telling their story] and other additional content in your paper.
If you do decide to have content in your paper, here are a few ideas of things you can have:
- Crossword Puzzles
- Local News
2. Create Your Paper’s Layout
The next step is creating the layout of your paper. Like what I said in the 1st point, you want to decide what type of paper you want to run. You can make good money running different types of papers, it really is up to your personal preference.
For designing the layout of your paper, you can design it yourself in a tool like Canva. Or you can use Adobe InDesign or even pay someone to do it for you on a site like Fiverr. It’s completely up to you. If you don’t have any design experience, I suggest paying someone to design the paper to your liking.
As far as the paper’s length and size, one again it is completely up to you. You can do a 12 page paper that’s 11 3/8 by 12 which is a pretty popular size for a local newspaper. Also, keep in mind that if you choose to do a full color paper it’s going to be more expensive to print.
3. Print Out Samples
From there, you want to create a sample of your paper. In the sample you want to have sample advertisements as well. The reason for this is because the businesses you want to advertise in your paper are going to want to see what the paper looks like.
I suggest printing at least 50 – 100 samples so you can distribute to businesses around your city or in a specific zip code. Look up commercial printers in your city and get a price quote on how much a batch of samples would be.
4. Get Businesses to Advertise
Once you have your samples, you want to start advertising to businesses to get them to advertise with you. There are many ways to get businesses to advertise in your paper. You can cold call, cold email, walk-in, direct mail, direct message, and run paid advertising campaigns. Always remember to collect deposits up-front, when you’re first starting out you may have to collect 50% deposits up-front and the other 50% after proof of delivery. When your newspaper is up and running you can collect the full 100% deposit upfront.
Also, you can have different contract terms. For instance, you can have 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, or even 12 month terms. If a business is seeing results from advertising in your paper, they are going to keep advertising.
Now, you may be wondering what are the benefits a business gets by running advertisements in your paper. Here are some benefits you can mention when you talk with with business owners:
- Exclusivity: Only 2 of each niche gets to advertise in your paper [Ex. Max 2 barbershops]
- Targeted Audience: You can focus on 1 – 2 zip codes where you’ll mail your paper [meaning that only the people who live in those zip codes will receive your paper so I would target businesses in the same zip codes where you’ll be mailing your paper]
- Depending on the ad size and the prices of your ads, a business can reach a household for as little as 2 cents per household [If you charge $200 and mail to 10,000 households]
5. Deliver Your Paper
After you have the businesses signed up, you also need to decide how often you want your paper delivered and in what format. For example, you can have your paper use Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the Post Office and they can deliver your paper to the zip code(s) of your choosing.
The cost of mailing your paper will vary, however, I’ve seen 10,000 papers delivered for as low as $1,875. Once I break down the numbers in the next section you’re going to see how you can make seriously good money running your own profitable local newspaper.
Let’s say that it costs around $850 to print 10,000 copies of your 12 page newspaper and it costs $1,875 to deliver your paper to 10,000 households every month.
On the advertising side, let’s say you have two different ad sizes:
- A small ad size for $200
- A bigger ad size for $375
Now, let’s say that in your paper you can fit 32 of the smaller ad sizes and 16 of the bigger ad sizes. So, if you fill all of those slots your revenue would be $12,400. Since you are running your paper once per month, your expenses are $2,725 to print and mail your paper. This means you are profiting $9,400 per month from 1 paper that is mailed to 1 – 2 zip codes. How many zip codes can you have your paper mailed to?
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