A recent article on the medialife website claims it is possible to target Millenials in print!

The example cited is Time Out New York magazine...not exactly a community newspaper, but still it is hard to argue with the four "lessons" the article distills from the case history:

1. Be prepared to spend money.

2. Make your website up to date.

3. Offer freebies.

4. Go well beyond print and online.

But is that enough?

What about getting close enough to the target audience to understand what would drive them to pick up a printed newspaper?

We meet too many publishers who are quietly bought into the notion that print is dead, at least for people under 30.  They seem to lack the time, money, and maybe the energy to get closer to young consumers in their markets who are growing up to be adults with discretionary income.

Recently we had the chance to visit Wilkes-Barre PA, where an amazing weekly publication (published by the daily newspaper company) is going strong in its 20th year of operation.  

Check out the Weekender's website to see how it's done.  This is clearly not your father's newspaper...but in fact it is!  One advertiser told us that the strength of the product comes in part because "people grew up reading this paper for news and entertainment, and they keep reading it into their 40's and beyond." 

Many publishers would cringe at the idea of content such as Model of the Week, Stoner Confessions, or prostitutes releasing, um, revealing photos of local cops (that last one is found under the heading "Fake News").  

Edgy content has been a staple of The Weekender from day one.  Twenty years ago the inaugural issue featured a cover story about women at a local Catholic college who worked in strip clubs to pay tuition.  

Edgy content creates a constant "what will they do next" buzz around town, but look deeper and you see that the real meat of the Weekender is that it's a one stop shop for those interested in nightlife in Northeast PA.  That has created a perfect environment for bar, club, and restaurant advertisers looking for adults who go out and spend money...and that ad content has helped make the Weekender an even stronger marketplace for both readers and advertisers.

The Weekender makes money, and it boasts 80,000 loyal readers in a modest sized community that tends to be socially conservative...not unlike many towns across America where publishers are wondering if it is time to give up on print.





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