It's Not Too Early to Plan Free Paper Month Activities!

What are YOU going to do to celebrate Free Paper Month in July?

It's not too early to start planning activities that will both involve and inform your readers. While those of us in the Free Paper Industry recognize the valuable service free papers offer to our advertisers and readers, the only way to ensure that they recognize our value is to toot our own horn. See page 10 for some great ideas to start planning now.

Please use the Free Community Paper Month logo often on your mast head, folios, promotional ads, articles and as fillers throughout your paper leading up to and during the month of July. For original artwork and PDF's of the artwork, visit http://paperchain.org/freepapermonth.html or the Members-only section of the Community Papers of Florida website.

To do with your readers...

• Invite readers to express their feelings regarding your free paper. Print the good and the bad in a special feature.

To do with your advertisers...

• Run a contest for the "oldest drawer or trunk liner" in the community. The winner must bring the paper to your office to claim the prize.

• Run a trivia contest about your paper or community and give away prizes to the winners.

• Print a photo layout of community sites that have since changed. Let the readers guess the sites and award prizes to the winners.

• Ask key advertisers if you can include the free paper logo in their ads.

• Set up a shopping center display. Mall organizers are always looking for displays that will attract people while shopping.

• Give a prize to the person who calls with the 13th (or whatever number you choose) classified ad for each week or month of July.

• Ask several of your consistent advertisers to write testimonials about how your paper works for them and print the testimonials with photos.

• Honor the longest consistent advertiser who currently runs in your paper. Put the business owner's photo in the paper and run some of his/her early advertising.

• Offer all advertisers spot color during the celebration.

To do with your staff...

• Print the objectives, goals and mission statement of your business and how you strive to meet and surpass those ideas.

• Feature your employees in a photo and caption page describing what they do, what their first job in the free paper industry was and why they chose a career in the industry.

• Challenge advertising reps to a record-breaking number of ads during the month and reward the efforts with cash prizes.

• Brainstorm with your staff and develop new ideas on how to celebrate Free Paper Month.

• Encourage your staff to express their feelings regarding your free paper. Print the good and the bad in a special feature.

• Unveil some significant changes in your format, rates or policies during the month.

To do with your community...

• Ask the mayor to proclaim July as National Free Paper Month in your community and feature the proclamation and photo in your publication.

• Set up a shopping center display. Mall organizers are always looking for displays that will attract people while shopping.

• Make arrangements with local radio or television stations to get on their talk shows.

• Remind local civic presidents and program chair people about the celebration as far in advance as possible and offer to help set up a special program for them.

• Establish an annual competition in the name of your free paper for the best news story, photo or feature in the high school paper. Put a plaque in the school or feature in the high school paper. Put a plaque in the school bearing the name of the winner each year.

• Sponsor an essay contest about how your free paper helps the community or why a free press is important.

To do in your paper...

• Run the Free Paper Month logo and advertisement in your publication. Go to www.paperchain.org/freepapermonth.html.

• Add the PaperChain and Free Paper Month logos to your masthead or flag.

• Explain the historical basis of the importance of free papers and the origin of the industry.

• Run a feature on the awards your free paper has won in various state and national contests.

• Explain in a feature how a story or an ad makes it to print - the people who write it, sell it, compose it, print it, deliver it, etc.

• Develop "Did You Know" fillers to use during the month. For example, Did you know...newsprint usage for one year would stretch from local point to local point; the combined experience of sales staff; the miles driven by circulation people in one year; rolls of film or newsprint used; etc. (Use the facts available from the current "Did You Know" sheet.)

• Feature a member of the community who is the same age as your publication. Highlight the growth of both.

• Whatever you do...Celebrate Free Paper Month!


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