Wednesday, April 26 & Thursday, April 27 | Austin, Texas

THE Revenue Conference: Growing Profitable Bottom-Line Revenue NOW!

Our host: The Austin American-Statesman

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There’s a good reason “the” is all caps in the name of THE Revenue Conference, says Mike Blinder, whose The Blinder Group is co-sponsoring the April 26 and 27 meeting with Inland.

“This is a chance, maybe the last chance, to meet at a newspaper-specific conference, whether you’re in a big or small marker, whether you’re a weekly or a daily,” Blinder says. While growing revenue from digital will be an important part of the conference, he adds, THE Revenue Conference will return repeatedly to the opportunity to wielding the continuing money-making power of print newspapers.

“We have the street cred we’ve taken centuries to build,” Blinder says. “This conference is all about how to leverage our credibility, leverage our audience and leverage our content.”

THE Revenue Conference will be held at the headquarters of the Austin (Texas) American Statesman, with a program that is all about selling every product, platform and service a newspaper might offer: Print, web and mobile space, social media, digital services, digital video and OTT production, native content, events, niche publications, contests, quizzes and all manner of promotions.

“What makes this program unique is we’re actually going to care about newspapers,” Blinder says. Here is the complete conference program:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

8:00 a.m.  Registration, Coffee and Light Breakfast


8:15 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Susie Gray, Publisher, Austin American-Statesman


8:30 a.m. 50/50 by 2020  

To ensure a sustainable business model, newspapers must change their revenue mix from an overreliance on the print revenue. In this session, the president and publisher of The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal discusses how the Morris Publishing Group publication intends to go from a revenue mix of about 80% newspaper and 20% non-core operations to a 50/50 mix by 2020. This session includes discussion of the threats newspapers face from declining local and national advertising and tightening pricing flexibility, but emphasizes the opportunities to get to 50/50.  

The key steps: Growing local customer volumes and digital revenue streams; increasing digital reach, relevance and volume; diversifying revenue streams through the launch and acquisition of new ventures. The goal is to capture market share of digital ad and marketing spend, to expand rapidly in events and events services and use data and predictive analytics to drive all parts of the business. 

Presented by Zach Ahrens, President and Publisher, The Topeka Capital-Journal


9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Break


9:45 a.m. Engage your audience. Grow your revenue

This session will cover the many opportunities to capture revenue from audience engagements. The co-founder of Second Street, a provider of private-label online promotions platforms, reviews the best engagement promotions, including sweepstakes, photo and video contests, quizzes, ballots and community photos, email and newsletters. Learn how to track your audience’s interests, demographics and behaviors.

Presented by Matt CoenCo-Founder and President, Second Street


10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break


10:45 a.m. Making Money With Social Media 
Local advertisers are embracing social media at an amazing rate. But how can local newspapers leverage this opportunity beyond selling digital services like content management and Facebook ad campaigns? Some local media companies are now offering their own, large social media footprints as new marketing opportunities. Others are blending advertisers social content with editorial platforms for HUGE profits. Learn easy to implement social media revenue opportunities that are making big dollars for local newspapers.

Presented by Becky Bjork, Advertising Director at Sierra Vista Herald & Bisbee Review - Wick Communications, Patti Minglin, Founder and CEO, Go Girl Communications, and Christian Priskos, Director of Digital for Copperfield Digital Services (CDS), Copperfield Publishing.


11:45:  Luncheon


12:45 p.m. Rehabbing Your Real Estate Revenue—Really! 

We all know that this critical category for newspaper revenue has been eroding over the years, thanks to the great recession of 2008 and disruption from digital players like Trulia, Zillow and Relator.com. However, with data supporting the real estate industry’s need to move their money back into legacy media as well as new opportunities to work directly with agents, some newspapers have redirected their real estate revenue using new, innovative marketing solutions. Learn how to win back these dollars today!

Presented by Dennis Sheely, Director of Sales & Marketing, Digital First Media NorCal Community group and and Bob Kellagher, Senior Associate, Blinder Group Multimedia Media Sales Specialists.


1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Break


1:45 p.m. The Art and Science of Setting a Sales Revenue Goal

Sales success is a combination of skills, knowledge and attitude in the proper blend to repeatedly achieve your monthly goal, says Vince Coultis, a recognized expert in sales coaching and leadership training. Expect a high-energy session focused on facilitating the factors that go into goal setting: Preplanning, attitude and strategic thinking. This will be a self-discovery exercise for attendees who will determine what goals they need to improve by assessing their current competence and critical areas they need to focus on. This session will also touch on the importance of CRM for tracking success in meeting goals. 

Presented by Vince Coultis, Training and Development Consultant, Propel Coaching and Consulting LLC


2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break


3:00 p.m. Digital Services: Who’s Making Money With Them—And Why: Success Stories From Markets Of All Sizes

This session is all about doing digital services right.

First, the director of digital revenue for BH Media shares best practices on effective sales development and prospecting, how to better monetize what you’re offering SMBs, and how to evolve into a full solutions-based sales structure, knocking down everything from local banners and behavioral-based audience extension campaigns to search, video, social media and reputation management.

Presented by Mike Martoccia, Director of Digital Revenue, BH Media Group.

Then the director of Paxton Media Group’s digital agency shows how to start and sustain an agency in small markets. Learn how to find the perfect fulfillment partner, what Paxton’s launch strategy was, what lessons were learned in the first two years—and what specific categories and products are performing best.

Presented by Sara DrokeAgency Director at Amplified 408 / Director of Emerging Media at WPSD Local 6, Paxton Media Group

Finally, the session will show how newspaper publishers can differentiate themselves from the many digital-only competitors targeting their local SMBs. There will be discussion on what products you may want to bundle, how to price, and suggest some changes you make to your production department to increase revenue.​ Also included: Detailed looks at how they’re doing digital services at Swift Newspaper’s Tahoe.com, EverythingReno.com, EverythingVail.com and EverythingSummit.com.

Presented by Greg Swanson, partner and business development manager, ITZontarget 


5:00 p.m. Adjourn


6:00 p.m. Happy Hour Reception

Join our Austin hosts and conference participants for drinks and appetizers at the offices of OwnLocal!


7:30 p.m. Optional Dutch-Treat Dinner at Italic, Rustic Italian restaurant and Bar.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

8:00 a.m.  Coffee and Light Breakfast


8:15 a.m. Seven Powerful Native Ad Tips That Will Make You Money

This interactive presentation is based on actual local native advertising results from newspapers of various sizes. The presentation will include:

  • How local native works online and in print
  • Three best practices you cannot ignore
  • How to get editorial and sales to buy in 
  • Packaging that commands a premium price
  • What benefits to highlight to close the sale
  • Which categories to go after​
  • How to get renewals
  • Three things you never should do

Audience participation will be encouraged to highlight experiences, ideas and best practices. 

With Paul Camp, Co-Founder, Content That Works   


9:00 a.m. Vertical Leap: Niche Print and Digital Products That Punch Above Their Weight

Niche content offerings carefully targeting audience segments are proven generators of significant incremental revenue. This session will focus on success stories and lessons learned from two markets, one served by a metro daily and the other with community dailies and weeklies. Learn how the Albuquerque Journal recaptured its share of real estate advertising with a tabloid publication that averages $30,000 in revenue each month. And from suburban Chicago, see how Shaw Media built an extensive portfolio of niche publication, including appealing to a mostly male and younger audience by reviving a weekly pro football publication that's syndicated nationally, and targeting women with localized lifestyle publications.

Presented by Joe Leong, Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Albuquerque Journal and Laura Burke Shaw, Director of Niche Publishing, Shaw Media


10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  Break


10:15 a.m.  Ready-To-Go Revenue Solutions

This session takes a look at revenue concepts that can be executed in any sized market. It will range from dusting off old ideas to adapting brand-new concepts to investing in a “true” agency market. There will be real-life examples and ideas in philosophy and application that can be implemented in any market, as well as specific strategies in events, ticketing, niche publications, a high school newspaper project and more. 

Presented by Scott Pompe, Vice President/ Advertising, Austin American-Statesman and Zach Ahrens, President and Publisher, The Topeka Capital-Journal


11:30 a.m.  Luncheon


12:30 p.m. It’s Time For Us to Get our Swagger Back!

There is no question that digital disruption is affecting our audience and profits. But are we living a self-fulfilling prophecy by moving our focus away from leveraging our editorial assets as a core revenue source? Dr. Iris Chyi of the University of Texas has published recent research on format preference for traditional media that challenges the accepted theory of disruptive technology. Her well known "Ramen Noodles Theory" suggests that online news, like Ramen Noodles, is an inferior good.

Mike Blinder preaches to hundreds of newspapers a year that there still is an opportunity for major profits for the industry when the sales department focuses on what they do best! Mike will dissect the latest research and data proving that newspapers are still a great product with a bright future ahead. As long as we all "keep our eye on the ball!"

Presented by: H. Iris Chyi, Ph.D., Associate Professor School of Journalism, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin. And, Mike Blinder, President and Founder, The Blinder Group


1:30 – 1:45 p.m. Break


1:45 p.m. Print & digital subscription revenue: Building a program for success

In this session, print and digital executives from Cox Media Group Newspapers demonstrate how they are using a vision for the year 2020 to drive goals. With their focus on product value to grow print revenue and by investing in digital subscription products to grow audiences, CMG Newspapers has built a plan and are now aligning goals to achieve it. This session will share ideas for new print and digital revenue sources, digital products, digital subscription sales, and organizational alignment.  

Presented by Bill NagelVP, Shared Audience, Print, Cox Media Group Newspapers, and Ann Poe, Vice President/Shared Audience, Digital, Cox Media Group Newspapers


2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break


3:00 p.m. Let’s Go To The Video: Optimizing Revenue Streams From Streaming and OTT

Creating and formatting content for mobile—and monetizing it—is now as much mandatory for newspapers as having a website, maybe even more important. And nothing works better on mobile devices than video. This session looks at all aspects of video streaming, Over-The-Top, linear TV—even broadcast. You’ll learn what works best on video and on what platform, how to price video ads, how to hold down production costs, how to deepen audience engagement with video, and how to avoid the inevitable challenges that come with video.

Presented by Blake Pollard, Head of Revenue and Business Development, Calkins Digital; and Brian Russell, COO of Media Distrubution Solutions.


4:00 p.m. Adjourn