MAPPING OUT A STRATEGY

There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." The newspaper people who are involved in "Project: Giving Back" have a vision for the people of America and especially for students in our nationís schools. With the money raised from selling Jim Davidsonís new book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" we can fund many more NIE programs and provide many more scholarships and internships for students pursuing a career in journalism.

While NIE programs help children become more facile readers and learn more about the world around them, approximately 20% of all adults in America are functionally illiterate. These people cannot fill out a sales contract, balance a checkbook, read a newspaper or perform other simple tasks necessary to function as successful members of society. Needless to say, as newspaper people we are missing real opportunities here as well.


While NIE programs help children become more facile readers and learn more about the world around them, approximately 20% of all adults in America are functionally illiterate.

The vast majority of newspapers and state press associations in this country need extra money for the worthwhile projects they are involved in. With "Project: Giving Back" we have a unique opportunity for these projects to be funded by the general public, as each time a copy of "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" is purchased, it helps the respective education foundation and individual member newspaper as well. The columnist/author is giving back $9 of the $15.95 retail price for every book sold--$6 goes to the member newspaper and an additional $3 to itís own state press association.

To provide much needed and helpful resources we have developed a great Web site that can be personalized by every state press association and member newspaper in the country. You may view it at www.jimdavidsoncolumn.com or your own state press Web site. This will provide YOUR newspaper with the tools you need to conduct a successful sales campaign. This "Mapping Out A Strategy" document, and all it entails, is designed to give you specific ways to use them.

The stakes are too high for this to be a hit or miss, one-shot affair. Rather we want it to be a wellplanned, deliberate and calculated campaign that will result in great success ... the sale of hundreds and even thousands of books in each market. The key to success in "Project: Giving Back" is based on a simple business principle, "No Need--No Sale." A good understanding of this principle will literally mean the difference between success or failure.

There are basically two different reasons why people will buy this book. First, there are loyal readers, friends and those who are self-improvement minded who will buy this book. As will be discussed later, many people will purchase this book as a gift for a variety of occasions. Next, and more importantly, there are thousands and thousands of people who will buy this book if they see a real need in their community and if buying one or more books will help to meet this need, they will get involved.

Here is a bold newspaper headline that will help you see what I am saying, "THE (newspaper name) LAUNCHES DRIVE TO FUND MORE ĎNEWSPAPER IN EDUCATIONí CLASSROOMS IN THE 2003-2004 SCHOOL YEAR." The bottom line is this: Donít try to sell books. Establish a definite need in your community (more NIE classrooms or a great literacy project) and then promote the fact that you get $6 to meet this need for every book purchased.

When the need is established and the groundwork has been done, ask local business people and other organizations to purchase copies for all their employees. When you begin to get orders for 5, 10, 25, 50 or even 100 books at a time, the momentum will begin to build and success will be achieved. Promote all this in your paper and get some strong NIE or Literacy supporters to get the campaign started on a positive note. Over the long haul, what could be more important than a child staying in school and becoming a successful person, or teaching an adult how to read and opening up a whole new world for them? This is the message we must sell.

STEPS TO SUCCESS

Step One: Set a goal
There is nothing magic about achieving success. It is simply the attainment of a worthy goal. As previously stated, No Goal ... No Success. The key people at your newspaper should first decide how much money you need or want to earn from this project. When this figure is established, divide it by 6 and you have the number of books to be sold. Can your paper sell 500 books ($3,000), 1000 ($6,000), 2500 ($15,000) or even 5,000 ($30,000)? Donít record this figure until you have read and considered all the ideas that follow. No. of books to be sold ______

Step Two: Select the team leader or key person
This could be the publisher, NIE coordinator, marketing or circulation director or another dynamic person in your company. Select a person who is highly motivated, has good organizational skills and works well with other people. This Team Leader should be viewed as holding a position of honor since they will be directly involved in raising additional money for the students in your schools and for much needed LITERACY projects. This may be a way to "field test" a sharp, extremely perceptive employee.
Name of Team Leader ___________________________________

Step Three: Make it a fun project where everyone is involved
To achieve maximum success this should be a team effort. In the spirit of "Project: Giving Back" every employee of your newspaper should feel a sense of pride in knowing they are making a contribution to their own community. To ensure that everyone is part of the team, the publisher should draft a "MEMO" explaining the purpose of this project and also present these ideas during a staff meeting. This does not mean extra work for any employee but rather, as opportunities arise, just telling family, friends and business contacts about this project and what the money from book sales is being used for.

Step Four: Getting the equipment checked out and ready to roll
If you are not reading this online, at this point your Team Leader should go to your state press association Web site (if not available go to www.jimdavidsoncolumn.com) and take some time to read and study everything that is there. If you are the Team Leader, this will get you familiar with the press release, how to order books, house ads, and sample feature articles. Use the "Press Release" and selected "Feature Article" to kick off the campaign. It should go without saying that you must rewrite these two articles to fit your own readers and your own market. In a week or so begin to run the appropriate "House Ads" that fit your needs, which also must be personalized. Run these ads (the larger the better) on a regular basis for 4-6 weeks and the people in your community will begin to get the idea.

Step Five: Handling early orders
A few sales will begin to trickle in, so read the "How To Order" information and the terms and conditions and order a case of books (we pay postage on full case orders) to have some on hand. If possible, set up a link on your Web site so customers can order online using a major credit card. For an example, visit our site listed earlier and click on the "Retail Orders" link.

The central gist of the main idea ... Re-stated
If you truly want to succeed, ask other people to help you. Start with the business and professional leaders in your community who are strong believers in education, especially NIE and LITERACY. Again, establish the need for funds for additional NIE classrooms or a LITERACY project in your community. You can do this with some research and great newspaper articles. Ask these leaders to purchase a book for every one of their employees to get the campaign off on a positive note. The reason this concept will work is that we are not asking for a contribution. This book has real and lasting value. For the past six years as an individual, the author has paid $155 each year to be an NIE sponsor. This would only be 10 books, a small price for a business or other organization to pay that will help students and adults learn to read. This is a price that will be repaid many times over in the coming years.

Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a great help in making this campaign a success. Write a good article about this project and what it is designed to accomplish and ask the Chamber to run it in their newsletter. Also, ask the Chamber Members who receive it to reprint it in their own company or organization newsletter. After all, where would your chamber be without your newspaper? When more and more people learn what you are doing and how much it is going to help your community, you will begin to have people appear who want to get involved. Your goal will be very realistic when you break it down over a period of three years, so many books per year and then so many per month.

Some of the very best publicity the campaign can have is for a strong education supporter to purchase a book for each employee and do a "Photo Op" with the supporter, some of his or her key people, along with the publisher, NIE or LITERACY coordinator. An article with some quotes from the supporter and how much it means to the community will help more people realize the impact it can have in the future. In his own community, the columnist Jim Davidson has been asked to have an NIE CORNER each week in the Log Cabin Democrat where he will discuss the need for more NIE classrooms and LITERACY projects and will invite many leading citizens to share they own views and what education has meant to them.

STRATEGY MARKETING IDEAS

Idea # 1
There is power in FACE TO FACE selling. Conduct a survey of all the organizations in your community like Senior Citizens, Boys & Girls Club, Womensí Shelters and others who may need extra money for projects or programs. Donít overlook church youth groups. Work out a split of the $6 so NIE, LITERACY and these various organizations can all benefit from "Project: Giving Back." Develop a great flyer giving the details of how the money is going to be used. Itís harder to say "No" to someone standing face to face asking for their help in a worthy cause.

Idea # 2
Your newspaper can develop a flyer with information about "Project: Giving Back" that includes an order form printed on bright colored stock to insert in each newspaper. A direct appeal can be made to each subscriber to purchase books for Christmas gifts and support NIE & LITERACY in your community. Here it would be good to give some facts and statistics that clearly demonstrate the need for more NIE classrooms in area schools or LITERACY projects in your community. This should not replace the idea of running ads but this timely one or two shot approach will highlight the book as a Christmas gift and it can be passed around to people who donít take the newspaper.

Idea # 3
With the schoolís permission, develop a flyer/order form that can be mailed by the NIE coordinator to all NIE classroom teachers asking for their help in selling "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" to fund more NIE classrooms in the area. This is not a separate mailing, but rather is to be included in the general mailing that the newspaperís NIE coordinator makes each year to "Thank" teachers for being a part of the program. This would also be a good time to ask teachers for "testimonials" about students who are being helped by studying the newspaper in the classroom.

Idea # 4
Teachers love to know they are doing a good job and that their work is appreciated. Ask them to invite their students to write short 300-400 word essays about what studying the newspaper in class has meant to them. Have an impartial panel of judges select the top three winners and award prizes, publish essays and photos of winners. These are the kinds of things that work. Teachers have been doing this for a long time but they have not been tying it into the concept of selling "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" books so more students can have the benefits of an NIE program.

Idea # 5
As previously stated, this book will make a wonderful gift. Feedback has already indicated that people love the book. When we can get 300-500 books in the hands of people in your community, its presence will be felt which will result in many more sales. Rather than a hit or miss approach, why not develop a schedule to run "House Ads" that will take advantage of the season. A suggested schedule would be as a CHRISTMAS GIFT ... October, November & December. As a BIRTHDAY GIFT ... January, February & September. As a GRADUATION GIFT ... March, April & May. As a WEDDING/ANNIVERSARY GIFT ... June, July & August.

Idea # 6
There may be some business people in various locations around your town who are strong Education Supporters that would keep several copies of "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" on hand and not keep any of the profit. This would make it more convenient for some people to pick up a copy and save the P&H without a trip to the newspaper. Produce a nice 14 X 18 poster that tells the story and where the money will be used. The posters can be placed beside the books and also taped to front door or window. The NIE coordinator could deliver these on routine visits. Business people would honor and appreciate this kind of commitment.

 

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