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George Coleman: So, how are we doing?

George Coleman • Updated Aug 2, 2016 at 4:00 PM

As publisher of the newspaper, this is the question I ask readers the most. Learning what our readers like about our newspaper and how they think we can do a better job is critical for us to know in order to put out the best possible newspaper we can.

But as much as I would like to, it’s difficult to talk to all our readers. And while the big papers in major markets have the budget to hire research firms, it’s something smaller community newspapers just are not able to do. So what are we to do?

Recently I came across a company that is working with a group of community newspapers in Canada. They have created a questionnaire that helps the newspapers understand their readers better. I found this very interesting, and decided I needed to learn more.

I called two of the newspapers and spoke with them about this company. What they told me was quite interesting. First, by taking the survey, the newspaper was able to create a demographic profile of their readers, including their interests and buying habits. Advertisers, who pay the majority of the bills for newspapers, find this information valuable, and it confirms that they should keep investing their advertising budget with the newspaper.

Second, it give the readers a voice in telling the newspaper what they like, don’t like and what they would like to see more of. We feel that nothing will help us be more relevant to the readers of Wilson County than to be able to hear directly from you what you would like your newspaper to be covering.

So, I have a favor. Please visit lebanondemocrat.com/survey and type in the code 7DRKT3. Fill out the survey. Tell us about yourself so we can share that information with our advertisers – all information is anonymous, so we won’t know who you are when you share – and tell us how we can do a better job.

And if you’d rather just tell me, send me an email at gcoleman@lebanonpublishing.com or give me a call at 615-444-3952, ext. 12. If I’m not in, please leave a message. I’ll call you back, I promise.

In the near future, I hope to be writing a column again telling you what we have learned and what changes we are planning to make, so you find your newspaper to be more valuable than ever. Thank you in advance to taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I appreciate it very much.

George Coleman is publisher of The Lebanon Democrat.

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