Why Tidbits?

Cost Effective

Tidbits offers extremely low cost marketing with exceptional readership.


How are we able to offer our rates at a fraction of all other print options available is by keeping our costs down.

While the local newspapers have commercial buildings with much more cost than my home office. Also, they need many employees in order to create the content for the readers. We get our reader’s content through Tidbits Media Inc. which has over three hundred other publishers paying for the same content.

Alternative to Direct Mail

While direct mail is a good saturation method to get your marketing message out to specific households, it’s impossible to know if the recipient will read what was sent to them or just pitch it. We are able to control the amount of read papers by monitoring how many are picked up each week at distribution locations and make adjustments as necessary to limit our return rate. Then we take the returns to other locations which we like to run out at these secondary locations. 

This keeps us from printing papers that never get read.

Buying Power

Let's say your business may only attract a small fraction of our readers such as five percent. That would mean only 3,650 readers in our two county market may be interested in your business activities. Now let's say that your average sale is not as expensive as a new car is. So if your average sale over the course of one year to a customer is only $825, the buying power of Tidbits for your business is over three million dollars ($3,000,000).

How would you like to learn how to gain some of that potential income?

Nationwide Coverage

While our local Tidbits mainly covers the Linn and Johnson counties in Iowa, we belong to a few other organizations which allow us to place ads in other papers.

We can place your ad in specific papers, by state, country region or nationally.

Contact Russ for more information at 319-360-3936

Print vs Social Media

How to effectively market your business
Several years ago, Facebook was practically your only option in the social media arena. To reach a business connection, you might have connected on LinkedIn. The landscape has changed! One segment of the audience follows Twitter, another Pinterest, and on and on. 

We’re showing twelve social media icons here, but in reality, there are hundreds and don’t kid yourself – in a few more months, there may be thousands. Who are you really reaching with social media? 

Well, only those who choose to view your posts; therefore, you’ll only be reaching people who are already engaged. It never hurts to give them reasons to patronize you again. But shouldn’t you use a method to reach new customers too? 

To make a social media effort, it is usually necessary to hire a dedicated person (we haven’t found anyone willing to work for nothing, have you?) You may need an entire media team to post to all of the social media sites. These posts are needed daily, sometimes several times a day. 

Remember, what would be sent as your post for Facebook is totally different than a tweet or a blog post or an Instagram photo, etc., sigh… 

Here is an interesting stat: Facebook reports that posts are seen by an average of 20% of followers. That means you would need to exceed 365,000 followers to reach the number of people Tidbits of Linn and Johnson counties reaches in print each issue – over 73,000 average number of readers read each issue. And we do that once a week, every week! 

The easiest way to develop a successful business is to follow the decision making of successful businesses. Hawkeye Publishing L.L.C. publisher of Tidbits of Linn and Johnson Counties has a file cabinet drawer full of testimonials from long-standing local business owners and readers. Don’t take our word for it; read their comments. 

Effectively market YOUR business with an ad campaign in The Tidbits.
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Is Social Media the "solution?"

Who are you really reaching with social media?
A Facebook post is different than Twitter, Instagram and others!
So, how many followers do YOU have? Many local business owners have found it saves them a lot of time and money by choosing to market their business with an already proven and effective advertising tool.

Print vs Radio

"Consumers are tuning out radio"
I recently read a book that recounted the opinion of a number of trained economists and business leaders. These experts were certain that the emerging electronic media would mean the end of print advertising. This book was Bill Bryson’s One Summer—America 1927, a history of events which took place more than eight decades ago. What the media pundits were looking at was AM radio, then in its infancy. This sounds eerily similar to what the “experts” are saying today about print and the internet and I believe they are just as wrong! In fact, print publishing is in much better shape than the radio advertising industry.
Radio reps, much like print reps, sell reach, frequency and audience. They use Nielsen Audio Ratings, formerly Arbitron, to justify the value of their products. The reach of a radio station depends on its power. The more watts the station puts out, the farther away the station can be heard. Station power ranges from weak AM “daytime” stations that reach a small area and are licensed to broadcast only during daylight areas, to “clear channel” AM stations which are allowed to ramp up their power after sundown and may reach several states with their signal. The majority of stations now are broadcast in FM, frequency modulation. FM technology became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s and provides a much clearer static free signal. I’ve found that most radio reps tend to have an inflated view of their stations range, quoting areas that may be true under ideal weather condition, but seldom reached in normal operations.

In reality, the range of the station is not the issue. The question that advertisers should look at is how well the footprint of the station matches their business area. It does not matter if the station reaches a hundred thousand people, if only a few thousand of them are in an area serviced by the advertiser. Radio is a “BROADcast” media and cannot target geographic areas, like print publications. Radio is sold in “dayparts.” The most expensive buy in most markets is “drive time,” when commuters are stuck in traffic and are theoretically a captive radio audience. This is also the time that most national radio advertisers prefer, making it hard for smaller advertisers to get the best spots.
Radio reps like to sell open ended packages for a certain number of spots. This can mean that some customer’s spots will run at 3 a.m. on a weekday. Advertisers should get a full schedule of spots before agreeing to advertise and demand a certified report detailing where and when their commercials were broadcast. Radio people are well trained to sell frequency. They need to sell out their inventory, the available ad space on the station, and ads must run frequently to have any impact on consumers. Once upon a time, families gathered around the radio to listen to their favorite program, think about a quiet evening on Walton’s Mountain, but today radio is just background noise. People will switch on the radio when they are making dinner or have it on in the car. Very few people actively listen to the radio.
Recently, I was talking with a customer who was considering purchasing radio advertising. We were meeting on the sales floor of his business and I noticed a local “easy listening” radio station was playing on the store’s public address system. I asked the customer to tell me how many commercials he remembered hearing that day. I was not surprised when he told me he couldn’t recall a single spot. Radio reps encourage their customers to run their spots over and over in the hope that the message will sink in through repetition. This is also why radio producers use all sorts of technical tricks, such as increasing the volume or using spokespeople with annoying voices to grab the listener’s attention. These audio tricks tend to put off more listeners than they attract, often causing the listener to switch stations when the commercials come on. As I’ve stated in earlier Link & Learn columns, “print advertising is a destination, other media is a distraction.”

People pick up and read our papers because they see the content of our publications as useful and interesting. We do not have to coerce them to read our customers’ ads. Audience demographics are a big part of the radio sales pitch. They claim that they can deliver a specific group of consumers to an advertiser’s business. This is less and less true as the population of the country becomes more diverse. It is true that a Spanish language station playing Latino music will attract a Spanish speaking audience, while an AM talk radio channel tends to attract an older listener. In reality, there are many sub-sets within every demographic group and the narrow picture that radio reps paint of their audience is far from accurate. The demographics of radio in general are changing. Radio was once promoted as a way to reach the youth market, but that is no longer the case. The average radio listener is much older and much less affluent than they were in the past. Younger, wealthier consumers are more tech savvy and have more sophisticated musical tastes, so they are inclined to use digital musical devices.
While this affects print as well, young people still consume community and free papers because of their unique content and availability. Radio today faces a number of technological and internal challenges. The development of Satellite radio, portable digital music players, and online radio has taken a big bite out of the radio audience. We recently had a call with an auto dealer who was investing a large part of his budget with a local group of radio stations. During the call we asked the dealer how many of the cars he sold were equipped to receive satellite radio. He responded that all but a few low end models were set up for Sirius radio and that they also received this service free for the first year. We then asked him how many of his cars could interface with MP3 players. He told us that virtually every vehicle he sold includes a jack for these devices. Once he realized where this conversation was going, he began to wonder if radio was the best choice for his business. These advances in entertainment technology calls into question the wisdom of investing in high priced prime “Drive-time” radio spots. Internet radio has had the same impact on radio listening in the workplace. Stream radio has become increasingly popular.

My company started its own online sports station a few years ago, focusing on local coverage and high school sports. (An idea that I have to admit, I thought was crazy at the time.) This station proved immensely popular and has overtaken a number of local broadcast stations in the short time it has been available. FYI, Online radio technology is relatively simple and very inexpensive to add to your existing website. Digital radio can be a profitable addition to your product mix.
One of the strengths of free and community papers is our localized coverage which matches our readers marketing needs. Radio, on the other hand, has become increasingly isolated from the communities they serve. Many local stations have been absorbed into large radio conglomerates as the radio industry has consolidated. They will broadcast the programming into a number of markets, inserting local call letters and advertising, creating an illusion of local coverage. These large radio networks partner with music publishers and try to use their reach to promote particular musicians or bands. Consumers have been accustomed to choosing from a wide range of musical options to create their own personal programming. The radio industry is no longer in a position to dictate musical tastes. This cookie cutter top down approach drives listeners away from broadcast radio in droves.
Radio does have its strengths. It is very personable; it is after all someone speaking directly to the listener. Radio can be used to raise awareness of a business. The problem is that impact radio advertising is fleeting and shallow. Listeners will soon forget what they heard if it is not supported. While I feel that there is value in other media such as cable, daily newspapers or direct mail, I generally feel that radio commercials are in one ear and out the other. If the customer insists on using radio, we can help them increase the response. We can help them leverage the name recognition generated by being on the air, and by running ads with a strong call to action. For instance, if a restaurant repeatedly runs a spot, saying they’re the “Best steak house in the area!” they will see a significant increase in sales if they support it with an ad in your paper repeating this claim and offering a coupon for dinner. Using print to “anchor” their media program gives consumers the information they need to act on their desires. Radio was once a powerful force in local advertising. They still absorb a major portion of local businesses’ advertising budgets. Radio sales people are well trained and know how to present their product in a positive light. Unlike our industry, radio has failed to adapt and to stay in touch with their customers and their communities. Our job is to help our customers and prospects understand the reality of radio today and where broadcast fits into their media mix.

Tidbits vs Newspapers

Newspapers are just what they say they are. I’m a strong advocate of following the daily news and used to be a daily reader. Years ago I used to get the morning newspaper and the evening newspaper was always updated so it was a valuable tool to read in the same day. However in today era of 24/7 news channels on television, news web sites and direct feeds into our tablets and smart phones, the newspaper is outdated sooner than the date on the cover.

Another problem that newspapers have are multiple sections. Most people only read certain sections so if your ad campaign is not in the right section the reader may never see your marketing ad. So the total number of readers reading each newspaper needs to be very high to reach enough people for you to gain benefit over what you spend on the marketing. Often time you will not find a newspaper where you will find the Tidbits. Businesses that allow the Tidbits are not interested in multiple sections thrown around their waiting room or break-room. Tidbits is normally folded back and set in place where the reader found it if they do not take it with them.
We've all of heard that newspapers are a disappearing like the dinosaurs, I don’t quite buy that all together. But they are having many troubles of their own to overcome. In our local market the newspaper tends to cover the local DMA (Designated Market Areas) which has several counties included. So over half of the local newspapers circulation is outside of any one county, Tidbits markets in a specific county. Yes we have done limited circulation to neighboring counties by demand, but our focus is saturation of the primary market. Check the audit numbers, while each of the local newspapers have been losing circulation since the start of Tidbits in our area, the Tidbits circulation has grown each year and continues to increase.

Another problem newspapers are facing due to their lack of readers is a decrease in ad revenue that allows the publication to continue. With this revenue shortfall they have been forced to dismiss local reporters and focus more on national news stories that they can purchase on contract for much less then the payroll demands are. Besides the fact that they never were able to fully cover their entire DMA so many of the towns seldom if ever had local interest content. Tidbits on the other hand is well written and can be enjoyed all around the country and even years after the paper is printed. Tidbits Media Inc. provides our content to publishers all across the country and Canada. Our content cost is much less then what newspapers have to pay for their content. This is one of the main reasons why our local Tidbits works so well. Tidbit clients just pay a fraction of the cost of the what the local newspaper charges and our readership level is higher in our target market area.

Shoppers are another option for business owners to market with. Tidbits provides a high quality full color publication which attracts readers of all demographics. Our Circulation Verification Audit shows a well rounded readership which you can view the full report on this site. Many readers of local shoppers are mainly looking for discount coupons for specific businesses. Once they find and clip the coupon they may just discard the remaining paper. Tidbits clients can also have great offers, but we have readers that enjoy our editorial, puzzles, comics, trivia, special interest content. So while some may be looking for discounts and bargains, most of our readers are willing to spend full price for the services our clients offer. The main objective is to let consumers know who you are, where you are and what you sell.
Tidbits has great readership, low overhead that is passed along to our clients and we are extremely easy to work with.
A local business owner always wanted to have a book store. So after selling a restaurant he had for many years he finally had the time to open the doors to a very nice book store. This was not the ordinary book store selling everything possible or discounted used books. But what he encountered was the name that was included in his logo of his business did not seem to relay what his store entailed. The business was called Mystery Cat Books. Now to most of us who would read this far down a page would probably know that the store sold mystery books. But once they started running some large going out of business ads with us, the owner found many new customers that said they drive by all the time but never knew what the store sold. His logo had a cat in it and people quickly assumed it was a cat store of some type. So don’t just assume the people that have not visited your store are not interested. They need to know more about you in order to entice them to stop in. Even Dominos has now figured out that they needed to remove the word pizza from their name and any logo use since they would like to increase the sales of all their other products. If they started out as Dominos wings they would have been on a uphill battle to sell pizzas.

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+1 (319) 360-3936

Our Mission

Our goal is to cost effectively increase business for our marketing clients
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