Those are much more than three common everyday words. Behind those words is a powerful resource that delivers true value each week to thousands of communities around the U.S.
“Free” has been termed the most powerful marketing word in the English language. Like anything with tremendous power there is both a good side and a negative side. When used recklessly, the word can repel as strongly as it attracts, which is why the word has become such a magnet in our society. Most of us recognize nothing is truly free. Somewhere along the way, somebody has paid something in order to give something away.
The second word — “Community” — is commonly defined as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings. A community becomes an extended family with whom you share your immediate living environment.
It’s been falsely reported that the third word — “newspaper” — is a thing of the past. Some may have you believe that newspapers are dying, and for some, that may be true. Those newspapers are ones whose owners place far greater value on the revenue generated from their instrument, making it an “Instrument of Wealth.” Those are not the newspapers I refer to here.
The two words in front of “newspaper” are truly what differentiate the true meaning of the term and the significant impact a newspaper still has when given a proper foundation to serve its true purpose in life. That’s the story I want to tell you about today.
Put them all together — “free community newspaper” — and you have a strong locally oriented asset, independently delivered at no charge, to more than 56 million homes in the U.S. as a welcomed communication tool providing the community with valuable information to be used by each recipient without consideration to give something back.
What has made the free community newspaper concept work so much better than that of the paid newspaper concept is the indirect relationship to what’s expected in return from the person who receives the free community newspaper. Our industry was built on the premise that if the information provided is of strong value to the recipient, the funding for such a product would be derived not from the recipient but from the community that seeks to provide the information to the general public. In other words, we don’t think you should have to pay to receive information from advertisers whose revenue to the publisher can more than compensate for the costs of providing the service.
Free community newspapers have been around in one form or another for as long as man has existed and it’s why they will continue to be around for as long as man inhabits this globe.
The free community newspaper industry, under its national marketing association PaperChain, has recently chosen to celebrate its service to the nation in July each year. The effort will be joined by more than 2,000 free community publications throughout the nation. Every one of these publications has elected to prove their circulation claims by undergoing a rigorous third party audit. In the areas served by these papers, it has been reported that more than 97 percent of the homes in those communities receive the paper free of charge, making it an irreplaceable valued service.
This free community newspaper is proud to be a part of this independent movement and encourages all of its readers to enter a national contest by logging onto http://www.paperchain.com/contest. One lucky reader will win a $500 gift certificate to a local establishment in their immediate area.
On a personal note, I’m also pleased to announce that Denton Publications’ own Scarlette Merfeld is the national chairperson for this event and DJ Alexander has been chosen to provide all the creative artwork for the celebration. Watch this publication for more details.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.