Recipe for revenue

Card-style ads with recipes made money in Martins Ferry


Publishing a recipe card a day made nearly $1,000 a month for The Times Leader in Martins Ferry, Ohio, and readers called if it was left out.

Although the 9,000-circulation daily across the Ohio River from Wheeling, W.Va., no longer does the daily ads, corporate executives of Ogden Newspapers presented the idea to the March video conference of SNPA's P2P (Publisher-to-Publisher) initiative. "I think it will work for anybody," said Kim Collette, project coordinator for Ogden Newspapers.

The concept was simple: Sell a 2 x 1 ad that runs along the bottom of a 2 x 5 space, and fill the rest of the space with a recipe. The size is small enough to clip and save like a recipe card, with the advertiser as the sponsor.

The idea was an outgrowth of a popular holiday cookbook published by the paper, Collette said.

"We have a readership that likes recipes. We knew because when we did a cookbook we would get calls and calls and calls for the cookbook," Collette said. "When we did those recipe cards, we actually had readers call if one missed a day, got bumped for some reason or got left out of the paper by accident."

When that happened, the paper would run two ads the following day, she said. The ads ran on a lifestyle page, and Collette recommends using the same page each day if possible.

The most time-consuming part of the process was lining up a month's worth of recipes that matched the monthly food theme, she said. A theme could be barbecue, a holiday, farm-to-table, vegetarian, soups and salads and, on one occasion, homemade treats for cats and dogs. A header noting the theme of the month appeared on top of the recipes.

The Times Leader used websites such as, or recipes from its own past cookbooks. Collette said the recipe's source was published as well. One restaurant and catering company supplied its own recipes for a week's worth of ads.

Collette said the best way to sell the ads proved to be dividing the number of days in the month by the number of ad reps and making each one responsible for a set number of days.

"Make them short, make them easy, make sure you have a picture with them," she advises.

Last year the format was changed to a series of theme pages incorporating multiple ads and multiple recipes. The series format gave the ad reps more time to sell.

For example, for the Fourth of July, the series ran five days in a row sometime in June. Readers still received recipes, just presented in a different way, she said.

For more information, reach Kim Collette at

Publishers: Register now to take part in the next P2P video conference call.  The May 17 call will be on organizing your sales force.  The price of admission: submit a successful idea by May 11. LEARN MORE

Jane Nicholes

Jane Nicholes is a veteran journalist based in coastal Alabama and is a regular contributor to SNPA. Reach her at

Suggestions for future stories and comments on this piece are welcomed.

revenue, recipes, Ogden Newspapers, Martins Ferry
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