Building Brands: Share your Progress and build your brand

Progress season has officially arrived at View Newspaper Group!
For those unfamiliar, Progress is a special edition of The County Press, Oxford Leader, Lake Orion Review, Clarkston News and The Citizen published in late March in which our clients are able to share their story with our readers, along with a traditional marketing message.
The result is an annual outstanding newspaper edition filled with stories of growth, of long-serving employees, of giving back to the community and more. Readers can find the faces of their friends, neighbors and team members among the pages of the special publication.
The name Progress speaks to the fact that edition shows the Progress, the forward motion, the success of the community.
The annual edition comes with a bit of newspaper folklore. The story I’ve heard is that while the concept of paid articles, advertorials, native content (whatever you’d like to call it) existed prior to the 1960s, it was late County Press Publisher Bob Myers who took that concept and turned it into something special — The Progress Edition.
The story goes that once Myers published his first Progress Edition, newspaper publishers around the state and eventually the country followed suit.
Home to 14 community newspapers, including The County Press where Progress originated, View Newspaper Group is proud to continue the Progress tradition more than 60 years later in Lapeer and North Oakland County with plans for expansion in the other communities we serve.
The challenge is that Progress is so engrained in the minds — and I’d argue souls — of our team, it can be easy to take for a granted that a client, new or old, will be a part of it. When it comes to marketing dollars, however, nothing should be taken for granted. That thinking can be a slippery slope leading directly to our team forgetting to share the value of Progress with our clients.
Luckily, our team’s favorite Emmy-winning motivational speaker and sales and leadership coach Ryan Dohrn is here to remind us that we must show a client value in everything we do, from sending an email to requesting an in-person meeting. As Dohrn says, we have to “stop” and show the value to the client.
In our case, why would a client be a part of the Progress Edition? Our team came up with a great list at our last sales team meeting, and I’m happy to share that list and in turn the value of Progress so that every business leader reading knows exactly why they have to be part of this publication. So, why Progress? The bottom line is it builds your brand, and it does that by allowing you to:
Tell your story: By its very definition Progress allows each client to tell their story to our readers. Articles can focus on the history of a business, the present, the future, the team, the mission, the vision, the day-to-day operation and more. We like the articles to give readers a look inside the businesses and nonprofits in their communities.
Share your picture: Each Progress article includes a photo. This is a great space to show off the smiling faces of your team.
Be seen among your peers: With hundreds of clients featured in our annual edition, businesses and nonprofits who join in are among their smart, respected and successful peers in the community.
Get a deal: Who doesn’t love a deal? Advertising space in the Progress Edition is heavily discounted, after all we want everyone to participate! Plus, each ad includes a free article that, while valued at $800, I’d argue as a public relations professional that it is invaluable. It’s not often that a newspaper offers up space on their pages for anyone to tell their story. Readers view the articles in Progress as editorial content, meaning something they need and want to read.
Receive an invite to our Progress party: Held each year in celebration of Progress, our Progress party is tons of fun featuring great food, drinks, live entertainment and best of all, a chance to network with fellow community business and nonprofit leaders.
As Publisher Wes Smith said, “Our annual Progress Edition is Lapeer and North Oakland County’s yearbook where readers, business owners and community leaders turn to see who’s who, what they are doing and how long they’ve been doing it.”
Now that you’ve seen the value, I know you want to be a part of Progress! If one of our team members hasn’t already contacted you, email me at or call me at 810-513-8501 to reserve your spot.

Emily Caswell is the Brand Manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group.

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