Staying in our lane

February 3, 2021

When the team relaunched North East Times in 2015, we were focused on our ambition to establish a brand that raised the bar for regional print. A publication that has journalistic integrity, is representative of the diverse business landscape, and informs, engages and inspires.

This commitment to retaining quality has always, and continues to be, reflected in our commercial strategy, and how we position North East Times in the marketplace.

We have continuously invested in the team, and now have 100+ combined years of experience in publishing and media. That unparalleled expertise in producing a print publication is showcased in our offering.

We have always demonstrated value through long-term partnerships, working intentionally with a client to understand their objectives and implementing a tailored, multi-channelled strategy to make real impact in the marketplace. And what have we learnt in the past twelve months?

That it is more important than ever to retain our focus on the long-term, with a purpose-driven vision, to be the voice of North East business.

We now have more clarity than ever. We need to stay in our lane.

Reflecting on the past year

In the wake of the first lockdown, we quickly realised the impact the coronavirus pandemic was going to have on our business and got to work, quite frankly, to save it.

The themed editorial plans we had for 2020 were no longer relevant, and the team adapted to produce the ‘Disrupted Issue’ in May last year, exploring how the North East was coping in light of the pandemic.

It was a pivotal moment for the future of North East Times, a shift in perspective that opened up a conversation about our editorial and commercial strategy moving forward.

In an ever-changing business landscape, we considered how we could we be more reactive, engaging and reflective of what was happening across the region.

We have continued to print a monthly publication – which at times has been no mean feat – and as a result, have been in a privileged position to recognise the resilience, tenacity and determination of the people living and working in the North East to get through this crisis.

We couldn’t have done this without the ongoing support of our advertisers, readers and advocates, so thank you to all that have supported us.

Embracing a new era

What is the future of print? It’s a conversation we are always exploring.

In these very different times, we know the media landscape is evolving, and as a business we also need to adapt.

Interestingly, the direction emerging from conversations with our readers, is that they’re increasingly appreciative of the opportunity to escape the digital noise.

They want a break from the ubiquity of smart phones and social media, and in this context, print has been given the recognition it truly deserves.

To provide a pause, a slow read, a moment to reflect, and an opportunity to learn.

The intrusion of digital media into more and more aspects of our daily lives has given print a new currency, and there is a growing generation of readers who are embracing that new magazine smell.

Print offers a medium for you to connect with your audience on your terms. It’s more than just ink on paper – the words, imagery and design help us to tell your story.

But we also recognise that digital media has its benefits.

It’s instantaneous. And access to information is endless and accessible on- the-move.

With the challenges we had distributing the magazine, aside from our direct mailing, we have invested more than ever in our digital platforms over the past twelve months.

In a note to the business community early last year, we outlined that we would be changing the way we communicate our business features and news to you, the reader. And I feel confident we have delivered on this.

Richard Dawson, our business journalist, researched and curated a daily read article, to better understand the challenges facing North East businesses and share knowledge and expertise.

This everyday communication with our readers was hugely valuable in a time when most conversation was limited to a video call.

Engagement with our digital channels increased exponentially as they became increasingly integral for businesses to share their news, views, and advice, with our website experiencing a 50 per cent increase of users year-on-year in 2020.

This has kick-started our ambition to evolve our digital platform further.

We are now more attuned to the demand for digital content and advertising, and are mapping out a landscape where print and digital can work in synergy.

A work in progress – watch this space!

Supporting the North East’s recovery

Alongside our plan to embrace the new media landscape, is a recognition of the fact that the old ways of selling print advertising are over.

It’s no longer enough to simply provide space for an advert or advertorial and set it on our pages, our advertisers rightly want more. They want to know how their investment with us is going to support their business objectives, and in this way, marketing has become increasingly part of business development.

This is something I have driven forward with North East Times over the past year.

Our advertisers want us to provide bespoke advertising campaigns that can amplify their message, and North East Times has never been better placed to provide this.

As well as coverage in print, our clients can now utilise our digital channels, and get tailored marketing advice and support for the duration of their coverage.

We continue to be driven by the long-standing values we’ve always had – transparency, integrity and creativity.

As we look to the future, we are more determined than ever to be part of the region’s recovery, and to provide a voice for North East business.

The pandemic has been a catalyst for change, a lot for the better.

Let’s keep the momentum going.

Chloe Holmes,
Marketing manager

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