Mailer headed your way

Sandra ClarkBearden

Take a close look at the photo above. It’s on the cover of the Knox TN Today newspaper that was mailed this week to 5,300 homes in the 37919 area. Here’s the back story.

Facebook has a way of showing you what it thinks you want to see. So, my “likes” on bird photos by Stephanie Briggs and wildlife by Jon Gustin led to my seeing photos from Joe Rentz, who walks and shoots at Lakeshore Park.

Knowing the mailer was ahead, I contacted him about contributing a photo for our cover. “I’ve got about 1,000,” he wrote. “Send three and I’ll pick one,” I responded.

Joe sent a dozen – all good. I picked one and wrote back, offering a seriously low fee. Joe said OK. He’d do it for the ridiculously low fee plus a photo credit. “Deal.”

The star of this shot is the mockingbird, perfectly framed in the upper-right corner, just raising hell. The other star is Joe, and we’ll be back next September when we mail to 37919 again, offering a ridiculously low fee for another spectacular photo. Thanks, Joe.

Marketing with mailers: Joe Rentz is a retired marketing professor at UT. Maybe I should invite him to a picnic at Lakeshore Park. But he would just say what every other expert I’ve talked to has said. “If your goal is to drive readers to your website, you should advertise to people already on their computer.”

It’s counter-intuitive to mail 5,000 newspapers each month to tell people you’re really not in the newspaper business any more. But I see our benefit to advertisers as three-fold: their ad online, their ad in our mailers, and the occasional advertorial (story) about their business.

So, we’ve expanded the mailers and created two-page spreads for each staff writer. I call it “the best and the rest.” We run one full story and three 150-word teasers – “read full story online.”

Knox TN Today has great staff writers – Betty Bean, Sherri Gardner Howell, Tom King, Beth Kinnane, Betsy Pickle and Marvin West. Flavored with a dash of contributors – Mary Pom Claiborne, Nick Della Volpe, Mike Donila, Josh Flory, Nick McBride, Mona Smith, Wendy Smith and Jim Tumblin.

Q4: October (Cedar Bluff), November (37922) and December (Farragut). We’ll end strong with the mailers. 2021 has been a better year than 2020, and 2022 will be better still. We appreciate our writers, our readers and our advertisers. And we’re still having fun.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.


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