Futures Lab #187: Community Impact Newspaper

    by Rachel Wise
    March 24, 2017
    Community Impact Newspaper uses data to target businesses to run hyperlocal ads online and in print.

    Community Impact Newspaper is a hyperlocal news company that delivers a free monthly newspaper to every household in the geographic areas it covers. The company uses revenue generated from advertisements to serve 22 communities across Texas. John Garrett, founder and chief executive officer, explains what makes Community Impact’s targeted advertising model unique.

    Reporting by Rayna Sims

    For more information:

    • The company serves 22 communities across 34 cities in Texas, including Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metro areas. It tailors the content of its newspapers to each community.
    • Earlier this month, Community Impact Newspaper announced a new partnership with the Texas Tribune.
    • Community Impact is able to distribute its free newspapers to more than 1.7 million households in Texas because of revenue it makes from advertisements. The company’s advertising model allows it to target ads to readers at extremely hyperlocal levels, even down to individual postal carriers.
    • In September 2016, Community Impact opened a $10 million printing and mailing facility in Pflugerville, Texas, adjacent to the company’s main offices. The 36,000-square-foot building also houses a new printing press. The Community Impact website features a special section devoted to its printing press — including a 360-degree tour, video and step-by-step look at the printing process.
    • Leaflet inserts and sticky-note ads are part of the model Community Impact employs, but it also has taken it a step further. The team has developed its own technology to merge carrier routes with databases containing demographic information of readers, Garrett said.
    • In this extended Q&A, founder and CEO John Garrett talks in more depth about Community Impact’s advertising model, print versus digital advertising, and what publishers can do to stay ahead.

    Rachel Wise is an editor at the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    RJI Futures Lab web bannerThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: community impact newspaper futures lab print reynolds journalism institute texas

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