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Table Of Contents
Executive Summary Background History Staff Editorial Publication Competitive Analysis 11 Future Plans 13 Website Client Audit 14 Social Media Action Steps 15
Appendix A Daily Task Calendar Appendix B Twitter Weekly Responsibilities Appendix C Twitter Weekly Schedule Appendix D Facebook Weekly Responsibilities Appendix E Facebook Weekly Schedule Appendix F GMG Newsletter Schedule
Appendix G GMG Newsletter Example Appendix H Distribution Google Maps
Appendix I Weekly Log Appendix J Passwords Appendix K GMG Website Addition Screenshots Appendix L Facebook Screenshots Appendix M Twitter Screenshots Appendix N Website Screenshots
For the past 56 years Georgetown Media Group (GMG) has been a staple of the Georgetown community. Their traditional print presence has gained them a loyal audience, close staff members and loyal advertisers; however there is a need for them to place focus on the web, which will help to solidify their brand and raise them above the competition. After researching the current web presence, as well as media outlets considered GMG’s competition, we were able to see what was aspects were missing in order to create a fully functioning and engaging online presence that could help to raise GMG above the competition. Specifically the absence of a Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, and advertisements (about the website) in the paper are necessary items that we have realized could help to drive readers to the website. If implemented, a new social media strategy will help in the paper’s business model, as it will increase the readership as well as the quality of companies willing to advertise. In order to tackle each problem separately, we created a strategy, outlines and guides for each newspaper that includes step-by-step examples and schedules for what information should be posted on the respective websites and when. When finding what strategies would work best on the web, we researched GMG’s audience. While each paper, The Georgetowner, and The Downtowner have their own respective demographic in regards to their ages and pay grades as well as interests, we found based on the audience research that that the most important thing to utilize their web presence was community engagement. Each demographic is very well educated and wealthy, and by utilizing social media it is another platform that GMG can use to showcase their content to the residents of their respective communities. At our initial stages we found that GMG had no significant web presence and in order to
move forward we found that each of their competitors were utilizing the web not only to brand themselves, but to gain profit. We have found a way to get GMG the audience, brand recognition and profits their content deserves in both cheap or free, and maintainable fashions.
The Georgetown Media Group consists of two bi-weekly papers, The Georgetowner and The Downtowner. Each of these papers is specific to their geographic locations. The Georgetowner focuses on the Georgetown area of Washington DC, although there is an audience for the paper that extends further into the outlying areas, such as the Northern Virginia countryside. The Downtowner is specific to Downtown DC, but intended primarily for the Penn Quarter neighborhood. HISTORY The original owner of The Georgetowner was Amy Stewart. Stewart originally started in the journalism field while selling advertisements to The Evening Star. Upon realizing that Georgetown had a unique culture, history and people, she realized there was a niche market for a certain type of publication that wasn’t already being produced. Stewart founded The Georgetowner on October 7, 1954. David Rothman came to the paper in 1969 and gained ownership in the 1980’s. Current publisher, Sonya Bernhardt met Rothman in the 90’s after her art gallery received press coverage in The Georgetowner after much of her own lobbying. In February 1998, Bernhardt made an offer to buy the paper and became the third publisher of The Georgetowner in their 57-year history. In 2003, The Downtowner was created for much of the same reason that The Georgetowner was created—there was a niche market for which a publication had not already existed. The two papers were brought together forming what is currently known as Georgetown Media Group.
At present, GMG has a staff of 10-15 writers, 5 freelancers, and 4-5 photographers. Each of the writers and freelancers has their own specialties at the company. Their current paid staff consists of Graphic Designer: Alyssa Loope, Advertising Coordinator: Charlie Louis, Washington DC and Maryland Sales: Daniel Gray, Features Writer: Gary Tischler, Publishing and Editorial Director: Siobhan Catanzaro, Assistant Publisher and Journalist: Garrett Faulkner and are still looking for an advertising representative. Much of their staff are young individuals who have become ‘jack of all trades’ as they complete many jobs for the company that may not initially be described under their official title. Each paper is essentially the embodiment of its staff and publisher. GMG describes itself as a lifestyle newspaper, which focuses on the performing arts, real estate, some local news, events, fashion and wellness. The paper also features travel sections, which reach outside its normal audience and into the country for some specific getaways and weekend attractions. Bernhardt often says that the ‘social pages’ are one of the most important aspects of the paper as it focuses on various charity events in the DC area, which is known as the “fundraising capitol.” The papers mainly focus on interesting and fun things to do in DC, but pride themselves on their fashion-centric features.
GMG often attends, covers, or holds its own philanthropic events. Because GMG is active in the community, the staff claims to have developed close business and personal relationships with their audience. Catering to such a niche demographic is what has helped to keep GMG alive for so many years. Because of the staff’s close proximity to Georgetown and their relationship with the
neighborhood, they take great pride in their publications and strive to maintain these relationships with the community through their papers. Bernhardt, known as the unofficial “queen of networking,” says she knows just about everyone and is easily recognizable walking down the streets of Georgetown. What helps set GMG apart from other papers in the area, and what keeps their readers interested and loyal are their theme sections and issues. Being such a popular publication in the Washington, DC area, it is fitting that the most recognized aspect of The Georgetowner is its name and headline. Another aspect of the paper, which makes it recognizable and has been maintained through its 57 years of publication, is “Georgey boy”—a picture of George Washington most commonly located on the first page of the paper. Each paper is essentially a ‘paper of the people’ by showing the people reading the paper in the paper, it focuses on content and stories that the people care about and feature them in the actual paper. Because of the staff and their relationship with the area, they are in tune with the pulse of the community and can prioritize accordingly. The Georgetowner considers itself a record of history for the Georgetown area, and their main goal is to generate a buzz about Georgetown. The Georgetowner does feature an In Country section in their paper to reach out to the audience outside of the immediate Georgetown area in Northern Virginia. The Downtowner is modeled slightly different than it’s sister paper. According to Bernhardt, the people who read The Downtowner want to see themselves in the paper and find out networking opportunities. By sticking with this content, the paper properly caters to this specific demographic of young, working professionals. Pierre Cartier is quoted as saying, “The newspaper, whose influence far exceeds its size,”
and although Cartier wasn’t talking about GMG’s paper, The Georgetowner, at the time, Bernhardt credits this quote as the motto of the paper. As a separate entity The Downtowner has a motto of its own: “All the news you can use.” PUBLICATION Aside from publishing two bi-weekly papers, GMG maintains and regularly updates an online website for each. GMG is responsible for all of their public relations, advertising, and writers. They do, however, utilize an outside printing press, with a startup fee of $3,000. The company does not have any subscriptions for readers and both papers under GMG are free to the public. Bernhardt believes that this is a great benefit to the paper because she can print as many papers as needed. The paper prints approximately 40,000 papers every two weeks. Although the newspaper is printed on non-recycled paper, the soy-based ink used in both publications allows for the papers to be recycled. Each paper features much of the same content in each, yet the cover story and certain feature stories are changed to make them specific to their region. While the economy is at a downturn and media publications are increasingly closing their doors, GMG has found a way to not only weather the storm but also make a profit. In the past 5 years, GMG has enjoyed an increase in their revenue, however, so have printing costs. As a way to battle against these increases, The Georgetowner has scaled back from originally printing 40 pages to their current 32 pages. They are also looking to alternative printers. A majority of GMG’s revenue is made through advertisements. Because of this, Bernhardt explained that ads should take up no less than 50 percent of the paper to stay afloat. In order to be profitable, ads must take up 60-65 percent of the paper. In an effort to increase ad revenue, GMG would like to increase its ad sales and attract more national recognized advertisers. In order to do this GMG
needs to find way to attract luxury brands to show other advertisers that they already have an established relationship with larger companies. Until that occurs, their largest source of advertisements lies in real estate. Real estate advertisers usually like to take out half a page to full-page ads, while retail usually only takes out quarter pages ads. Their current top two advertisers are in the real estate business, Washington Fine Property at $3,000-$5,000 for a full back page, and Long and Foster at $2,000 and issue. Other advertisers include, but are not limited to: restaurants, health and body, financial, and fitness club/personal training companies. GMG relies on the entire staff, not only Bernhardt when coming up with story and general ideas for the future of the paper. They generate content for the issue in two ways: first, the staff has a running list of general themes that they would like to cover in each issue and second, build from that list on a weekly basis with brainstorming sessions.
The staff has differing opinions on what constitutes as GMG’s competition, if any at all. Locally, the paper has to complete with daily papers in regards to the news they publish. For example: When it comes to national competition, the paper competes with DC papers such as, Washingtonian, Washington Life, Capitol File and The Georgetown Dish. These publications act as their competition both online and in print in regards to the fashion content they publish. Each of them also has a significant web presence, with their website, and with their social media. The Washingtonian, while a lifestyle magazine, is mostly noted for its detailed coverage and rankings of local professionals, business and places. What makes Washingtonian an actual competitor is the fact that they have a larger audience, and also have audience retention. Available both online and in news stands, Washingtonian boasts an average of 400,000 readers
monthly who spend an average of 96 minutes with each issue and save each issue for an average of 5 months. Washington Life, similar to Georgetowner, is more of a society magazine with sections like social diary, dedicated to weddings and parties of the prominent people; features dedicated to performing arts; as well as guides to DC living. What sets Washington Life’s magazine apart (a feature which GMG has discussed pursuing in the future) is the ability to purchase any of the photos in Washington Life’s photo gallery for use of prints, merchandise and download use. By providing an outlet to purchase photos from society events, it draws eyes to the website by people who are initially looking for their photos and photos of their friends and stay to view the rest of the website. Capitol File boasts extremely wealthy and what they claim to be, ‘upper-crust readers,’ citing 75% of their readers have liquid assets of over $2 million dollars. While they have minimal web site presence, they still present themselves on a separate medium than their paper. Capitol File’s content deals strictly with fashion and fashion photography. Competition comes into play when dealing with advertising. The Georgetowner plans to make fashion a more prevalent part of the newspaper. They believe the higher end retailers the Georgetowner would be interested in placing ads may prefer a publication that is more centered on fashion. However, there are no advertisements on any page of the Capitol File website. Another lesson that can be learned from Capitol File is their circulation. Not only are they available through subscription and newsstands, but they are also placed around high-profiled, luxury retailers and hotels throughout the city. The Georgetown Dish offers competition differently than the ones mentioned previously. Not only is it trendy and digital in nature with social media presence, but also it is
the only other forum that content is similar to that of the Georgetowner. Both deal with social and political aspects within the Georgetown neighborhood. While content is similar, Georgetown Dish incorporates more “everyday” stories along with their society feature. This is something Georgetowner can incorporate into their website so it doesn’t take away from any content readers have grown to love that appears in the newspaper. This is a plus for GMG as Georgetown Dish can only push content through one medium whereas The Georgetowner has both print and digital.
WEBSITE - Looking forward, Bernhardt is excited for new features on the website. She sees the web site as a medium to showcase web exclusives and web-centric content that might not be featured in the paper. Since GMG has so accurately identified their demographic, we would like to utilize the website as a tool to reach out further and act as an additional resource for news, fashion and events for the residents of Georgetown. With such a small staff GMG has successfully established themselves as the ultimate lifestyle publication within Washington, DC. - Our goal would be to create a public relations strategy, which is both easy to implement and maintain, ultimately establishing Georgetown Media Group as a cohesive brand. - We feel the new website will play a crucial role in continuing to grow the social media presence of GMG. It needs to be live as soon as possible so that it can act as an interactive tool for the community. The website needs to be advertised throughout the paper, as well as creating web exclusive content to draw attention to the website. All mentioned Google applications need to be evaluated and either weeded out or utilized (such as Google maps, calendar, etc.)
3 Months: Double the amount of twitter followers, have ‘about us’ page up and running, have all other features on the site up such as social media share buttons, google calendars 6 Months: Evaluate twitter statistics to track the effectiveness of the specific articles posted on twitter through bit.ly, have consistent ads in the paper advertising for readers to check out the website, Advertise the writer’s e-mails in the articles, have a picture slideshow for all events covered 9 Months: Have advertisers who advertise on just the website, or on both the site and in print, have enough twitter followers for give-aways (find companies willing to participate), close out the alternate Facebook group and have all members transferred over, or at least notified
After reviewing GMG’s history and competition, we concluded that the areas that needed the most work were: first, the website, second, dearth of a social media presence and third, solidifying the GMG brand name. Specific areas we felt that were not being addressed within the website include the absence of online dynamic and specific content, the lack of a way for the community to communicate with the staff and the articles being posted, no interaction with the readers, no advertisements besides within the paper, no way to use, view, or sell the massive amounts of pictures and archival content which is important to The Georgetowner. In terms of social media, while The Georgetowner had a Facebook group, it was neither professional nor utilized in a manner that would help promotes and create readership for the paper. Also, there was no fan page and no Twitter account whatsoever. In order to rectify their lack of online presence both on the website and social media, we either suggested or implemented new strategies. For the website, we created a Google map which
shows all the places that a reader could find where the nearest paper was located (Appendix H). We also created an ‘About us’ page with personal questions, pictures, staff contact information and a more GMG community feel that allows the user to get a sense of how the company is run. Furthermore, it was suggested to make a “comments” section for every article, which had already been implemented by the web designer. There was also mention and ongoing implementation of an interactive calendar, which shows all events either being sponsored or covered by GMG that will be put on every page within the section, it is found. SOCIAL MEDIA For the social media, we created a professionalized Facebook fan page for both the Downtowner and the Georgetowner, which is being updated every week (Appendix D & E.) However, we focused more on creating a Twitter for both papers that would allow for easy promotion and interaction with the readers and creating an online presence and community (Appendix B & C.) Furthermore, we created a bit.ly account which tracks the amount of hits on the links that tells GMG which articles people are more interested in and which ones to push out on the social medias unavailable before. In doing all of this, we are in the process of solidifying the brand name of GMG and creating a strong community online. We also suggested that these online presences such as the website, Twitter, and Facebook be advertised in the paper itself and in doing so will create communication and interaction with the readers which is increasingly the way the paper business is heading.
Working with the Georgetown Media Group these past few months has given us an inside perspective on the challenges that go along with creating and maintaining a social media presence. Through our research we have come to realize the importance of having an online presence for a media outlet. Web presence allows for a company such as GMG to solidify their brand, increase their name recognition and connect with the community they are a part of. Now that the platforms have been established, the most important thing will be to maintain and promote these platforms in order for GMG to reach their main objective of remaining a profitable business and prominent member of the community. We believe that if the GMG follows through and continues to use these social media tools, they have the potential to reach a new and different type of readership that stretches beyond the Georgetown and Downtown areas.
APPENDIX A Daily Task Calendar
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Twitter Facebook Newsletter
This day in GMG History Push events
Event of the week
Bernhardt’s favorite Push story
Follow Friday/Thank new followers Push photos
Send out newsletter
The Georgetowner & The Downtowner • • • • • • • • • • • Change the twitter background with every new issue Monitor as search terms: #Georgetown, #DC metro, #Penn Quarter ReTweet two tweets a day, add personal commentary Ex: We love their cupcakes too! RT: @siwjournalism: Just ate some delicious cupcakes at @GTownCupcake! Tweet throughout the day; focus on 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Preface tweets when appropriate, with topic Ex: FOOD: There’s a list of all great happy hours this week on our website link Use hash tags when appropriate Ex: We love their cupcakes too! RT: @siwjournalism: Just ate some delicious cupcakes @GTownCupcake! #GoodFood Stay away from text language when tweeting Tweet about new issues Ex: Extra, Extra! Check out our new issue this week with @taliasimoneran on the cover! Pick it up at these locations link @Reply when appropriate to start a conversation, add something, or ask questions Ex: @BernhardtBernhardt Hey Bernhardt! Are you stopping by Georgetown Cupcake any day this week? Try to start a discussion with a general questions once a week Ex: Has anyone checked out the new shoe store on 21st yet? Push out articles 2-3 times a week (using bit.ly), don’t just quote the headline, make it interesting Ex: FASHION: Our fashion photo shoot this week featured styles from Calvin Klein and BCBG. Look at all our fun pictures at link Try to start a discussion around an article that you post Ex: Check out @Siobhan’s article on some great happy hours this week link Where’s your favorite place? Use bit.ly to link to articles DM to thank people for following (use these four formats) Ex: Hi there! Thanks for the follow! How long have you lived in/near DC? Check out our facebook page at link Ex: Hey! Our newest issue just came out. Have you picked up a hard copy? Check out this link to a map of all our pick-up locations link Ex: Hey there! Thanks for the follow! Have you signed up for your newsletter yet? Add yourself at link Ex: Hello! Thanks for the follow! Have you checked out all the pictures on our website? Link Check out follower’s lists, add any that are interesting or have to do with DC Try to find out where the staff is going for meetings/lunches Check out their schedules on Monday for the week
Ex: @Siobhan and @Bernhardt will be at M29 Lifestyle this afternoon for a meeting. Say hi if you see them! Take pictures of the staff, in the office, and tweet them 1-2 times a week Ex: Check our Garrett distributing our papers at the corner of 9th and K link Maintain lists Maintain the GMG Staff list Make lists of follower categories Observe other competitions lists Charities Bernhardt’s list: A list of all of Bernhardt’s favorites Follow Competitors Things associated with the university Influential business Influential people National publications, magazines, similar publications Other publishers, publishing houses Local politicians Restaurants/wineries GMG staff (list) Charities (list) Photographers Advertisers Bernhardt’s list: A list of all of Bernhardt’s favorites (charities, people, places)
* DO NOT Tweet the same things from The Georgetowner twitter and The Downtowner twitter *Lists can be the same between the two accounts for some things (Staff, charities) but try to make some different (Penn Quarter Wineries vs. Georgetown Bars)
Monday This day in GMG History
Tuesday Event of the week
Wednesday Bernhardt’s favorite
Thursday Bar/restaurant specials
Friday Follow Friday/Thank new followers
Objectives: These are all the people you want to get to know, and want to get to know you. • Grow awareness of new website and social presence • Attract potential advertisers and writers • Strengthen ties to the community • Customer service tool for their readers • Engage community and start conversations Monday: This day in GMG history ten years ago • 1st Monday of the cycle—Take a picture of that weeks cover ten years ago and type up one headline • 2nd Monday of the cycle—Take a picture of another page in the edition and type up one headline - Ex: GMG HISTORY: Ten years ago GMG was talking about this… “Headline” Picture (using twitpic) #DCHistory Tuesday: Event of the week • Promote any event in the Georgetown area, whether or not GMG is covering it, include link to website o Ex: EVENTS: Check out the Cherry blossom festival at 8th and H today from 8-12pm. Go to www.cherry.com for more information. #DCEvents Wednesday: Bernhardt’s Favorite … • Pick a new theme every week for Bernhardt’s favorite anything such as quote, event, charity, restaurant, GMG memory o Ex: BERNHARDT’S FAVORITE: Bernhardt’s favorite GMG memory is when the @siwjournalism students took over her office in Spring 2010. #Funfacts Thursday: Bars/Restaurant Specials • Each week have a different person pick their favorite place to eat/drink, or if there’s a great special going on promote that as well. • Try to include a link to the establishment’s website and also include Twitter handle o Ex: SPECIALS: Hop over to the SIWJ Pub tonight for $1 Margaritas at @siwjournalism. Siobhan and Bernhardt will be there! #Drinks #SIWJPub Friday: Follow Friday, Thank new followers • List 5 new people that are following you and thank them, then suggest 5 people that
you just started following o Ex: FOLLOW FRIDAY: Thanks for the follow to @ameliajknight @chrisjklug @jennifer_swift @andreagenevieve @taliasimoneran who we just started following! #FF * DO NOT Tweet the same things from The Georgetowner twitter and The Downtowner twitter *Lists can be the same between the two accounts for some things (Staff, charities) but try to make some different (Penn Quarter Wineries vs. Georgetown Bars)
WEEKLY FACEBOOK RESPONSIBILITIES
• • •
Change the profile picture to the front cover with every new issue Post status between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Post neighborhood facts that may not qualify as “events” - Store openings and closings - Ex: So excited to see construction - Restaurant/retail specials - BID meetings - Weather - Fashion/window displays - Waterfront/parks - Ask/answer questions Tabs: Info Mission History Company overview Location Links Twitter You Tube/Vimeo Map of distribution The Downtowner Calendar (when available) Events Sponsored Highlights in paper Event of month/week/suggested
Photos Events albums (new one for every event) Office album Archived albums (past covers) RSS Feed Links to website Videos Advertise with us Notes
Monday Push events
Wednesday Push story
Friday Push photos
Objectives: • Discuss and promote events • Solidify each brand • Increase web site traffic • Reach out and engage audience, have a conversation with the audience Monday: Push events • Add events to the “events” tab on the facebook and make a status about them - Ex: Be on the cover of our next issue of The Georgetowner! Join us April 14th for our annual Mother's Day photo shoot at M29 LIFESTYLE in Georgetown. All Georgetown moms and children are welcome! Please RSVP to (202) 338-4833 or email@example.com Wednesday: Push story • Start a conversation about a story and link to it - Ex: Our own staff writer Ari Post has compiled a list of all the great spring art shows at link. Are you planning to check out any shows? What’s your favorite? Friday: Push photos • Talk about the photo shoots we’ve done - Check out our photo shoot with model, Amos Gelb, wearing Chanel at his very messy office in our latest issue. Click on our site, link, to see pictures only online!
Tag all models and use captions - Ex: Issue- May 7-May 12, 2010; Model- Amos Gelb; Location- His messy office
Thursday Send out newsletter
Newsletter Responsibilities and Format Georgetown Media Group Objectives: • Have an archive of old articles • Highlight newspaper articles and themes • Push stories through another medium • Have a themed newsletter which is explained in the “Note from Bernhardt” - Ex: Hi Readers! In this issue we focus on great Mother’s Day tasks and gifts! The Georgetowner features a list of all the fun outdoors things you and your family can do in this beautiful weather, while The Downtowner talks about all the great events going on in the Penn Quarter district for free.
Additional maintenance: • Google Maps - Log into GeorgetownMediaGroup@gmail.com or Siobhangeorgetowner@gmail.com - Go to Google Maps - Click on My Maps - Scroll down and click on relevant map (Waterfront or Penn Quarter) - Click Edit - Icons will appear on top left of map - If address is unknown, Google the location - Click pin icon (middle of the three) on top left - Drag and drop to correct location on map - Edit correct name
Due by COB every Friday
1. Total followers: __________________________ 2. Number of followers gained: __________________________ 3. Total following: __________________________ 4. Number of new following: _________________________ 5. @Replies sent by us: __________________________ 6. @Replies to us: __________________________ 7. Our tweets retweeted: __________________________ 8. We retweeted: __________________________ 9. Number of direct messages: __________________________ 10. Any additional notes/comments: (ex: Job inquiries sent by DM)
1. Total followers: __________________________ 2. Number of followers gained: __________________________ 3. Total following: __________________________ 4. Number of new following: __________________________ 5. @Replies sent by us: __________________________ 6. @Replies to us: __________________________ 7. Our tweets retweeted: __________________________ 8. We retweeted: __________________________ 9. Number of direct messages: __________________________ 10. Any additional notes/comments: (ex: Job inquiries sent by DM)
Total number of fans: ____________________
Number of new fans: ____________________ Any Additional notes/comments: _________________________________________________________________
1. 2. 3.
Total number of fans: ____________________ Number of new fans: ____________________ Any Additional notes/comments: _________________________________________________________________
List each GMG story pushed out during the week and mark it's bit.ly click count
Gmail Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Password: georgetown1
Georgetowner Twitter Name: TheGeorgetownr Password: gmg2010
Georgetowner Facebook Need admin status to update the facebook page
Downtown Twitter Name: TheDowntownr Password: gmg2010
Downtowner Facebook Need admin status to update the facebook page
Bit.ly Account Name: georgetownmediagroup Password: gmg2010
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