Planning & Staffing for Promotions

by Nick Ehrhard Second Street

Top Takeaways

  1. Promotions are worth investing time and staff.
  2. Planning a calendar is key to success, revenue, and engagement – get everyone on board!
  3. Work to have a person focused specifically on promotions at a corporate and local level.

Rebecca Capparelli, Director of Strategic Alliances at GateHouse Media, oversees 560 community publications, each with their own model and schedules. How does she keep everyone on the same page? A year-long promotions calendar (click here to download your calendar template). They work on the calendar in July to go out each October, and it gives each team something to rely on and develop strategy around.

Rebecca’s Notes

  • Create promotions that align with advertiser categories. Her example: cutest kids contests are a hit in any market. She also surveys market leaders to decide which contests to run throughout the year.
  • Keep messaging to markets simple. Focus on fewer, bigger opportunities, and make the message all about revenue. Put a promotion on the calendar and assign a dollar value to it, then set up dates for review. She recommends choosing holistic strategies across a group, and leaving the niche contests to the local level.
  • Make it easy to for your team execute. Less is more. Try to set up everything on the digital side, and then keep your eyes and ears open to look for ways to improve.


Kim Wildenmann, Digital Promotions and Contesting Manager at Scripps Company, knows that promotions are a great way to bring in major revenue, drive results for clients, and build loyalty for her stations, so she makes sure that her team across the country is all on the same page. She kicked off the session by saying, “Promotions are fun. It’s the sizzle to bring to a campaign. It’s how you can stand out.” Therefore, she works to prioritizes promotions planning and training across her company.

Kim’s Notes

  • Develop a calendar that focuses on building engagement. Building this calendar early helps your whole team – it makes sure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Create promotions that people can plan on each year. Your ability to build engagement and drive revenue with your promotions relies on getting everyone’s buy-in, so give salespeople enough lead time to sell sponsorships and generate revenue.
  • Collaborate as a station or as a group. Set up meetings to ensure your team goals are aligned. At our stations, all site directors have revenue goals too – so they have to work together with sales/revenue during the year. Bonuses are dependent on building viewers/users and generating revenue. This ensures that everyone works together for common goals.
  • Designate a champion. Whether it is the digital sales manager, a strategist, sales or contest/promotion manager – there needs to be a point person that is passionate about the potential of your promotions and will create, promote, and encourage salespeople to build these opportunities into presentations, recommend advertisers to target, and keep promotions top of mind.

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