Advice from a Former CL Advertiser to the NWH

Under the article reporting the Northwest Herald’s dramatic loss of circulation Monday, a new commenter left the following message.

I am certain it will be well read by the paper’s advertising department:

I think the NW Herald is suffering the same pressure (and probable demise) that many, long-time subscription-based news outlets are dealing with.

The front page of the Northwest Herald on Monday featured District 6 McHenry County Board candidate Ersel Schuster walking to the County Clerk’s counter to file her petitions.

Cable news networks, online news sources, and social media is where many people turn to for national and local news – not the local rag.

The NW Herald probably reports a lot of local sports because parents with school-age children like to see their kids’s names in the paper, and this is an easy source for subscriptions.

Plus, I happen to think that their local sports writers are excellent.

I do see a recent effort to offer more in-depth local stories but many of these stories seem rather “sensational” and this can cause great harm to an innocent business or individual that is unfairly accused, but “featured” prominently in the paper.

I’m sure these types of stories sell papers!

The Herald is also trying to diversify into specialized online advertising platforms, SEM, SEO, and small business marketing programs.

I feel they are too late to this party.

From a revenue standpoint, newspapers like the NW Herald are kept afloat with advertising dollars and this is where the NW Herald has, in my opinion, dropped the ball because many local businesses no longer advertise or advertise with the Herald very sporadically.

I used to advertise every week in the Herald, but rarely now.

They stopped calling on our business with advertising opportunities, they stopped offering any help designing our ads, and all of the attention and support suddenly shifted to downtown CL businesses.

I believe a NW Herald ad rep sits in on downtown monthly meetings.

In contrast, we might hear from a Herald ad rep once a year.

The pitch is usually last minute, with minimal explanation.

The last time we ran a story in the Herald was a feature section called, “All About Crystal Lake” and it was pitched to us as a city wide feature for long time businesses.

It ended up being, “All About Downtown Crystal Lake” and they shoved our very expensive advertisement at the back of the section while featuring downtown businesses up front.

Our mayor was interviewed for the article and as usual, gushed about downtown, along with the downtown association director.

They burned the bridge with us on that one.

Interestingly, the City’s main EDC person is a member of the downtown board of directors which, in my opinion, is a huge conflict, considering the City’s favoritism and subsidies of downtown.

Is there a reason why Route 14, the real economic engine of Crystal Lake continues to struggle?

Last weekend the Herald did a feature article about Small Business Saturday, a day that many of us participate in and promote.

The business featured in this article has been featured many times in the Herald and the owner is the president of the downtown association.

It would be nice if the Herald stepped out of downtown CL every once in while and covered some of the many, long-time successful businesses on route 14 and scattered throughout the city.

Heck, it would be nice if they covered other small businesses in other McHenry County cities!

We all know the “historic” downtown CL story – a quaint little shopping area, 2 blocks long, bought and paid for by TIF money and retail tax dollars collected by businesses throughout the city (with no cost sharing or contribution by downtown business owners who have exclusively benefited from all of the City’s handouts.)

The Herald seems to think that businesses in this area are more “special” than other small businesses in Crystal Lake.

I can tell you that there are many, many, small businesses outside of the downtown area who are very active with local charities and contribute every day to make Crystal Lake better.

They do this quietly and without all of the fanfare that the downtown merchants and director like to brag about.

I don’t want to spend my advertising dollars with the Herald any more because of their bias and I think many small businesses outside of downtown feel the same.

They don’t support us or represent us.

The Herald has left a lot of advertising revenue on the table, following the city’s lead and obsession with little downtown CL.

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McHenry County Blog, of course, also accepts advertising. The price is $50 a month for a side ad (revolving images cost more), $10 a day for an ad inserted between stories, if copy is provided.

Since this is a political publication, the charge for candidates doubles in the last month before each election.


Advice from a Former CL Advertiser to the NWH — 8 Comments

  1. Sunshine blogger: How much it is to advertise my very successful lemonade stand in our street corner? Keep in mind we are the real job creators in beautiful McHenry county…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock…

  2. the charge for candidates doubles

    Should be more like 10 times for the honor of it.

  3. There are many fine businesses in Downtown Crystal Lake some of which I have frequented over the years including in 2017.

    But, the car parking is a discouragement to go there.

    It is difficult to find a spot on Williams and more difficult when it is time to leave and back out of your parking spot.

    There seems to always be traffic on Williams and it is very difficult and “dangerous” to back into the Street especially when a huge SUV or full-size pick-up truck parks next to you after you have parked and blocks your view to the Street.

    You have to slowly back out blind hoping that traffic on Williams is going slowly and will stop and give you a break to back out.

    In contrast, the vast majority of businesses along route 14 have adjacent parking lots with plenty of parking spots available.

    The parking situation in Downtown Crystal Lake is a huge negative to potential shoppers.

  4. TMI ….. and too much analysis; the Franks Herald is like an oncology patient that just got a Stage IVe Dx of intrahepatic bile duct cancer.

    Prognosis: Dead Soon!

  5. Maybe our morality-challenged little fiend, Mr. Llavona, will buy the Franks Herald for a song and publish it in a different language.

  6. The NitWits Herald is nothing but a shopper paper. Utterly useless. I

    But GO ERSEL!!!!

  7. If the Herald is indeed paying attention, if I might suggest- you need to look at your subscription rates.
    Right now, the NW Herald is more than the Tribune or Washington Post.

    I’d love to subscribe to an on-line only NW Herald but it’s just too much and I bet there are lots more like me.

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