Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., had a goal to renew its focus on supplemental revenue from the company’s digital offering for The Alexander City Outlook. As The Outlook celebrated 125 years of business in 2017, the timing seemed fitting to start a new adventure. Without hesitation, TPIDigital was born.

Until this point, the digital push had been less energetic than other (print) projects. Not for lack of knowledge, it just simply seemed to fizzle as quickly as it started when account managers were tasked with the usual number of other daily projects that face most media reps.

Priority number one with TPIDigital was to secure a digital-only account manager. We found someone with sales knowledge who also is comfortable in front of a camera and in interview settings.

TPI staff gather to test new equipment and review best practices for live and pre-recorded sports segments.
TPI staff gather to test new equipment and review best practices for live and pre-recorded sports segments.

With the new employee on board and the company’s 125th anniversary upon us, staff jumped in feet first with the inaugural video interview with TPI Chairman and Owner Kenneth Boone. Falling under the umbrella of ​TPITalk​, more newsmaker interviews quickly rolled out, each with a participating sponsor. Sponsorships generated an untapped revenue stream and quickly became popular throughout the community.

TPITalk​ content began with the 125th anniversary and quickly spread to a number of other topics important to the area. Content also mirrored many of the print special sections that were being sold. For example, breast cancer survivor and physician interviews were released in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. In a tribute that coincided with Veteran’s Day, ​TPITalk​ released an interview with a Navy Rear Admiral who now resides on Lake Martin. Keeping content relevant and current was important.

Simultaneous to ​TPITalk,​ TPIDigital also rolled out sports segments with additional revenue opportunities. We began covering high school football with a pre-recorded weekly segment, “Inside the Lines,” and “Inside the Lines Live” every Friday night from the field. Sponsorships were sold, and viewership was impressive. We featured an athlete of the week, pick of the week, and even pet pick of the week — all of which created a new revenue stream for TPI. During the second season n 2018, commercial spots were sold, which generated an even larger amount of revenue.

TPI Digital Marketing Manager Kat Raiford and Business Manager Angela Mullins, starred in a recent commercial for Dirt Road Gourmet.
TPI Digital Marketing Manager Kat Raiford and Business Manager Angela Mullins, starred in a recent commercial for Dirt Road Gourmet.

TPI and The Outlook had already garnered a large following, but with the inception of new projects, the audience and revenue grew stronger:

  • Web site impressions grew 10.71% from 2016 to 2017.
  • Video revenue climbed to an average of US$3,000 per month versus none the year prior.
  • Overall digital advertising revenue increased 83.9% for the same time period from US$56,000 to US$104,000.

The trend continued into the next budget year with the introduction of new revenue sources, including Web site design, targeting, pay-per-click, search engine optimisation, and other components. Video and Web site display advertising is also a continued source of revenue with more options being made available to the company’s other sites.

It is amazing that we have come so far, but not surprising. We knew it was possible with the right people and the right focus. Having a singular focus with a digital sales manager and capitalising on the strengths of others in the office, we’ve produced award-winning content and generated a revenue stream that we can continue to build on for years to come. Our management team understands the importance of forward thinking, and we will continue stepping outside of the box.