By Jane Lim | Publisher Relations Manager
Recently, we spoke with Nic Barrera, vice president of sales at MyWestTexas.com, about his company’s publishing challenges, particularly online, and strategies and techniques it uses to generate new and incremental traffic for its website and publications.
As the vice president of sales at MyWestTexas.com, what are the biggest challenges you face?
Midland, Texas is unique in that we are in a hot spot for growth directly associated with a tremendously strong economy based on oil drilling and processing. The influx of people of all different backgrounds, combined with opportunities in the oil field industry, means that every business in the area must compete for employees. The most difficult challenge I am facing right now is staffing. Our revenue is growing, our circulation is growing, our online audience is growing — we just can’t keep up with the demand of getting more feet on the street. Matching our audience with content they want to receive, when they want it and how they want it is the ultimate goal. We seem to be moving in the right direction according to all key performance indicators we are paying attention to.
MyWestTexas.com, like many publishers, faces challenges in sustaining its publication simply on display and banner ads as CPM rates have gone down drastically. What other alternative revenue sources are you exploring to stay profitable?
Again, because of the unique situation — our page views have nearly doubled in the past five months — we have a remarkable opportunity to grow our online revenues. We are selling more online banner ads than ever before and are seeing the revenue to match. We have other solutions, such as mobile banners, SEO/SEM, behavior retargeting options, social media marketing and a variety of other options based on our customers’ needs. There is no lack of alternative revenue sources to keep us busy for years to come.
The near-elimination of barriers to entry in the publishing marketplace has produced an ever-increasing flood of information for readers. What does your company do to differentiate it within your market?
We are the leading source of news and information in our area. Our local brand carries strong credibility with our readers and being a news organization does add validity to the information we publish. I believe our editorial team has done a superb job of offering relevant content and information, keeping up with what is important to our readers and our community.
How has working with MediaWhiz increased your audience reach?
We’ve only been using MediaWhiz since the end of April — I can’t say for sure our audience reach has increased because of it, but working with MediaWhiz has been relatively easy and the revenue we have gained by working with MediaWhiz, with minimal effort, is very much appreciated.