Help us get help

13

by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor

LANSING, Ill. (December 18, 2019) – “We help news organizations build financial sustainability—because the public deserves access to quality journalism.” That’s the quote on the home page of the site I had been told about. I was amazed that an organization I had never heard of could sum up both my needs (financial sustainability) and my hopes (quality journalism for Lansing) so succinctly.

“Yes!” I said out loud, scrolling through the site. “That’s exactly what I need!”

I filled out the contact form, and someone got back to me to schedule a call with their VP of Business Development. You have to schedule a call before they will quote you a price.

For the 10 days leading up to the call I felt like I was preparing for a job interview. I wanted to be ready for whatever I might be asked, so I reviewed our financials, prioritized my goals, and researched our community. I also listed the questions I wanted to ask—about costs, and results, and timeline.

The call was this morning. It was shorter than I thought it would be.

When the VP of Business Development asked how many email subscribers The Lansing Journal has, she was unimpressed by my answer. Most of her clients have thousands, or tens of thousands.

We have hundreds.

Too small to help

As she explained it, their business helps news organizations increase the loyalty of their existing subscribers. They don’t have as much expertise at helping a news organization attract new subscribers.

In other words, our list is too small for them to do anything with, and they don’t have a program for helping us grow it to the point where they could help us.

Sigh.

Working for a chance

The call ended, and I indulged in a few moments of head-in-my-hands discouragement. But then I decided to buckle up and do something. I decided to ask the Lansing Journal community for the help I need before I can get the help I need.

Will you help me build The Lansing Journal’s subscriber list?

I think if we could get to 5,000 email subscribers, I could reach out to that VP of Business Development again and ask her to give The Lansing Journal a chance.

What you can do

Many of you reading this are already subscribers. Thank you.

Will you share this need with your networks and encourage them to subscribe as well? Here are some ideas:

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  1. Will you use the Share button at the bottom of this post to share this to your Facebook page and ask all your friends to subscribe? Maybe they’ll be willing to try it for six months as a way of supporting a small, local business.
  2. Teachers, will you encourage your students to subscribe? Some of you teach journalism classes, English classes, US government classes—all of those would benefit from receiving local news every morning.
  3. Pastors, will you ask your church members to subscribe? Many of you are working hard to serve your community, and The Lansing Journal is a great way to stay informed about needs and opportunities.
  4. Business owners, would you be willing to let me put an email sign-up sheet in your store? If your customers will simply write down their name and email address, I’ll input them. Let me know if you’re willing to let me do that.

And if ANY of you have ANY other ideas about how we could reach 5,000 subscribers ASAP, please contact me. I am desperate for help, and I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you, my friends!
Thank you!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Make sure that the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce knows about this and Amy could let the members know too. I do have a list of organizations, churches and schools and maybe some of them could help.

    • Great ideas, Carol Ann. Thank you! I’ve reached out to the Chamber to see about putting an announcement in their email newsletter. I’ll reach out to some churches as well, and I’ll talk to the schools when they’re back from winter break. I appreciate your help!

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