So the other day, I walked into the offices of my local newspaper. Through the process of endless emails, and follow up emails to check if he got my emails, and follow up emails to confirm that he got the follow up to the email that I had initially sent, he finally responded.
“Fine,” said the editor, “What do you have to show me?”
So excited I could barely stand it, I said, “Sir, I have this awesome listing. I believe that it is the most awesome listing of all the listings out there, quite possibly, even more awesome than the listing I sent you last week, or the week before. Now, I am not sure if this is really up your alley – I haven’t really taken the time to check what you cover honestly, but I LOVE your paper, and, most importantly, it is my belief sir, that your readers will LOVE this. So here it is. A listing of my latest campaign. Please share it with your readers.”
He looked at me with the look that I can only describe as confusion.
“Well, uh, I am sure that my readers would love this listing, and though our division is in charge of covering science pieces, I am sure that there must be readers who drink orange juice and would appreciate the discount code and would enjoy the video of the celebrity chef talking about cocktail recipes for which it can be used. But, this sounds like something for our marketing department. I’m sure they would be happy to discuss advertising with you.”
What? Marketing department? I couldn’t believe it!
“Well,” I said, in complete disbelief, “I don’t have the budget for that.”
It looked to me like maybe his face might have been changing colors.
But, really it was I who was trying to control showing any signs of annoyance. I mean, the nerve of this guy! Trying to get money from me. Who the hell did he think he was? The New York Times? People Magazine? The Huffington Post?? C’mon.
He cleared his throat, and said in a controlled voice, “I’m sorry. But, as much as I like orange juice – and believe me I do – and as much as I know my readers would really benefit from this offer, my work – our work – is in our articles, reviews, research pieces. I would be happy to maybe work with you on discussing the health benefits of your product, maybe set up visits to your orchards for one of my writers.”
I sighed, “Yeah, no. This campaign is running till the end of this month and the logistics for all that are too complicated and again (I tried to control my tone), we don’t have the budget for that.” (Plus, we just dished out a crap load of money on this celebrity chef and he is expecting some publicity too!) “Maybe in the future,” I tried to appease him, “if the opportunity comes up and we gear our focus in that direction.” I was annoyed, really. This back and forth was more time consuming than I wanted it to be.
“Well,” he continued, “This is what we do, without compensation. This is what brings us our readers. This is what gives us the audience you want to supply your discount to, get the hits for your video from. In order to be able to continue to do the work, that brings the audience, that would drink your orange juice, I need to make money. The way I make money is through ads – and maybe some paid partnerships or consulting work here and there – but, young lady, ads is what pays the bills to keep us going. This? Well, this is an ad.”
I stared at him in complete disbelief. I mean, I remember when his stupid little ol’ newspaper launched. I’ve been working in this business for years! Doesn’t he realize how this placement could improve our relationship? Doesn’t he realize that if he just published the listings and announcements and other campaigns that I am working on it would just put him on the map? I would tell everyone in my department and all of our clients how they can go to him for such things! His readers would LOVE him.
But there he was, with his little ol’ stupid newspaper, thinking he was somebody, suddenly wanting to get paid when I can easily go elsewhere, to another local paper with even more readers than him and surely get it listed at no charge. Heck, they might even give my coupon offer and celebrity chef video its own feature! And here he is talking about marketing and ads. Doesn’t he know things are tight? My client isn’t going to want to dish out extra cash for marketing on little ol’ stupid local newspapers!
Granted, I would never go to a legitimate publication and dare request that they promote my campaign, post my video and write up my listing for free, but this isn’t a legitimate publication. I mean, yeah, their audience is legitimate (it would look so great on my report! The clients would be so thrilled!) and granted, people know who he is and he is well-respected in the community…but c’mon! It’s the local paper! Why would I even consider budgeting anything to publish with him? I do that and next thing you know I gotta pay all the stupid little ol’ local newspapers out there for listings and campaigns!
I smiled, gathered my incredibly valuable offer (that he is now missing on for being so darn greedy) and walked out.
It’s ok though. Because I have another really awesome campaign with a national car company sitting on my desk that I just know he will want to share with his readers in his next column!