Second Street Summit Recap: Day 1

by Liz Huff Second Street

Audience Engagement – The Fundamental Melody for Local Media

St. Louis is known for its soulful blues music. To explore this topic with attendees, the blues became the theme for this year’s event.

On Monday morning, I took the stage to discuss how the history of blues is connected to audience engagement. Just as the blues did something to change the trajectory of music, there is also the same blues power in engagement.

To illustrate this, I shared the consumer’s engagement funnel. The funnel starts at the top with awareness, brand preference, and anonymous engagement. Then it continues to the middle which includes conversion to known, email permission, data profile, and personalization. And lastly the bottom includes loyalty to brands, commerce, and advocacy.

There are four takeaways when considering engagement today:

  • The consumer is now in control
  • Advertisers are focused on digital conversions
  • We have to provide our advertisers with middle of the funnel solutions
  • We need to commit to building our own consumer database

The Sound of Digital Revenue Lies Beyond the Banner

Stop leaving dollars on the table. If you spend too much time pitching top of the funnel solutions like banner ads, you will not deliver what advertisers are looking for.

Director of Affiliate Success Liz Crider explained that media companies need to present solutions that drive results and conversions to advertisers. A great way to do this is sell promotions and interactive content like sweepstakes, photo contests, and quizzes. The results from these solutions will create loyalty and, in turn, revenue for you.

By selling engagement campaigns, you can:

  • Drive New Business
  • Drive Results and Leads
  • Access New Dollars

Here are some examples of success from our partners:

  • Northwest Florida Daily News ran a sweepstakes, Home for the Holidays, that targeted local military families. With a 62% opt-in rate and new business for the airport, this newspaper found a contest that utilized a perfect advertiser for the audience.
  • WPSD-TV runs an annual sweepstakes, Hear Clearly Giveaway, for an audiology & hearing center. Last year the sweeps generated 381 opt-ins for the advertiser and, by using survey questions, identified 125 people that plan to purchase from the audiologist.
  • A photo-submission contest by WHAM TV created $250K business booked for an asphalt and sealcoating company. The Great Pave Off, which called for photo submissions of driveways in need of repair as an entry to win a new driveway. With a survey questions such as “where do you live” and “how long is your driveway,” they received 148 opt-ins, over 2,000 votes, and 66 requests for estimates for the advertiser.

Behind the Music – KY3 in Springfield, MO

Kent Oglesby, New Media Development Manager at KY3-TV, shared a short documentary of their station’s award-winning success with leveraging promotions, interactive content, and email for their advertisers.

Amplify All Your Revenue Streams with a Strong Consumer Database

The future of media is all about diversifying revenue streams. Today’s media companies are finding success through events, niche content, direct marketing, paid content, and more. The core of all this success comes from a strong email database.

Jed Williams, Chief Innovation Officer at Local Media Association, gave us a look into how using this database can form and strengthen one-on-one relationships with consumers. He was joined on stage with Laura Dacus, Account Executive for St. Louis’ Best Bridal, Josh Pearlman, National Director of Promotions and Events for Entercom Communications, and Tim D’Avis, Director of Performance Marketing for Lee Enterprises.


Pure display is not enough anymore. You must go further than banner ads and dive into revenue diversification. This means using print, direct mail, online resources, and more to shift to direct consumer revenue. Events, subscriptions/memberships, eCommerce/merchandise, and affiliate programs are all mediums that you may use to achieve this crucial diversification.

An example of a local company who excels at this is St. Louis’ Best Bridal. This bridal division of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is built on a database which consists of a bride/grooms name, address, phone number, wedding date and email address. They are constantly building this database using promotions, through their bridal shows/events, and with their new free t-shirt promotion – “enter our program… get a free t-shirt!” They have 7,000 engaged subscribers to weekly newsletters, and they have diversified their revenue with ballots, events, direct mail, and more.

So, how can you do similar things for your company? Again, it all starts with email and a consumer database. Email is the #1 driver of ticket sales for Entercom and their events. In 2017, ticket sales derived from email will surpass $6 million; their Live Nation special offer that generated $120K in ticket sales. Get going with your revenue diversification today by utilizing email in the best ways for your company.

The 12 Million Dollar Hit Machine – GateHouse Media

Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media shared how his company grew their promotions and interactive content revenue by 5x and email database by 80% over the course of just one year. They made it a company-wide priority, hired a team, set goals, supported their markets, and tracked results to ensure success. They now identify promotions as central to their growth strategy.


As a result of their success, this year they are doubling down on their corporate promotions and interactive content strategy.

Breakout Sessions

The second half of day one was filled with four breakout session tracks: sales, marketing, corporate, and content. Each track was designed to provide applicable information and suggestions for the most prominent roles within media companies.

To read the recaps of each of these sessions, click the links below.

  1. Sales Breakout Sessions
  2. Marketing Breakout Sessions
  3. Corporate Breakout Sessions
  4. Content Breakout Sessions

Evening Reception

Day one concluded with an evening of music, craft beer, and sampling some of St. Louis’ best barbecue all while giving attendees the chance to network with peers from across North America.


For more pictures from this evening, click here.