Talk about forethought -- or in this case, is it afterthought?
Nola.com, the online presence of New Orleans' Times-Picayune, has -- as the very first paragraph of its online media kit -- the following call-to-action:
ATTENTION Current NOLA.com Advertisers ONLY.
Hurricane Advertising Information.
Please fill out instructions for your campaign in case of emergency/evacuation. CLICK HERE.
The form on the landing page requests complete contact information, the name of the advertiser's sales rep, and the following menu button choices:
How would you like us to handle your campaign?
- take down
- leave up
- leave up with new creative
Clearly, New Orleans is a city that knows a thing or two about disaster, and Nola.com's on-the-ground coverage of Hurricane Katrina was nothing short of heroic. While Katrina was the worst, it was hardly the first, and sadly will probably not be the last hurricane to wreak havoc on the Crescent City.
New Orleans media isn't the first to face difficulties with advertising in the wake of catastrophe. The New York Times was compelled to publish a special, stand-alone, ad-free print section for a full year of post-9/11 coverage to cope with adjacency issues.
There's a lesson in this for any publisher, namely that disasters happen. And that disaster planning is best undertaken in advance of the actual disaster.
So here's the homework assignment: implement a plan for your ad inventory before a worst-case scenario occurs where you live, work, or publish.
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Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.
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