Three zones added north of expressway
by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor
LANSING, Ill. (July 14, 2019) – Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Or a dozen zip codes.
First, an intro to affordable mailing
The Lansing Journal uses a United States Postal Service program called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) to deliver the monthly print version of our newspaper to Lansing residents. This program is an affordable way to mail because each piece is not addressed to a particular name or address. Instead, the postal carrier is given a bundle of Lansing Journals, and he simply adds one to the mail he is already bringing to the addresses on his route. The Shopper began using EDDM because it was more convenient and cost-efficient than managing cadres of young paper boys and girls.
EDDM allows you to select which routes in a given zip code you want to deliver to. Choosing every single carrier route in Lansing was cost-prohibitive, so a decision was made to deliver only to routes that did not include apartments or condominiums. Selecting those 14 routes, the Shopper could mail to approximately 7,500 homes in Lansing for $1,125 each month.
Second, questioning the list
The Lansing Journal has been using the same EDDM mailing list that the Shopper uses in Lansing. That is, everyone who gets the Lansing Shopper should also get The Lansing Journal. We print 10,000 copies, and we mail to the same 7,500 homes. The remaining 2,500 copies we distribute by placing them in businesses around town.
But some recent conversations on various occasions prompted us to take a look at our delivery routes and distribution model.
Third, numbers vs. pictures
Requesting the route numbers gave us this list:
It wasn’t until we plotted those routes on a Lansing map that we became aware that we had completely missed Lansing residents north of the expressway:
By adding just three routes, we can reach most of north Lansing:
These three routes comprise 1,575 homes in Lansing. So we will now be mailing to about 8,770 Lansing residents each month.
Results of this change
We plan to begin adding these routes to our mailing list with the August issue. Most of our current readers won’t notice any impact, but here are some possible outcomes:
- For financial reasons, we don’t want to increase the print run when we add the new carrier routes. That means we will have fewer copies to distribute to local drop-off points—about 1,200 instead of 2,500. So we will be limiting the number of drop-off points we bring papers to as well as the number of copies we bring to each drop-off point. (See Where can I pick up a print edition?)
- Adding these three routes will cost us an additional $260 in postage each month. That’s not a huge amount, but our margins are pretty thin as it is. One option for absorbing that cost would be to reduce the number of pages we print, from 24 to 20. But we already have a difficult time fitting all the news into 24 pages!
Advertising and support
Personally, I’m hoping we can find an additional advertiser who will commit to a quarter-page ad each month. That size ad costs $275, which would cover the added postage. This might be a business in north Lansing that wants to get a message in front of all Lansing residents. Or maybe it’s a church in south Lansing that wants to let north Lansing know about programs, worship times, and special services.
Or maybe there are government entities—like the Lansing Police Department, the Human Relations Commission, the Fox Pointe Marketing Team—who want to make sure north Lansing knows about events, programs, hiring opportunities, and more.
For any of those advertisers, $275/month is a cheap way to get a message delivered to 8,770 homes.
In addition, there are many individuals who send us cards and occasional checks expressing how much they appreciate having a local news source. These people understand how much work goes into this newspaper, and they are willing to pay for that service. We are grateful. Sometimes those checks are what make the difference between being in the red and being in the black in a given month.
The Support tab on our website makes it very convenient for people to set up a regular monthly contribution. We already have 15–20 people who give us a monthly contribution this way.
It would take only 26 more people to donate $10/month, and we’d be able to cover the cost of reaching a whole new section of our community. Is that achievable?
Lansing helping Lansing
We have always wanted The Lansing Journal to be a newspaper for all of Lansing. And we are intentional about serving as much of our community as we can. That’s why we were stunned to realize our oversight and why we are working to quickly correct it. Will you help us?
Now, those of you who already support this community newspaper with your advertising dollars, your monthly gifts, your occasional checks, and your notes of encouragement—we are not asking you to do more! We are asking more people to do a little.
Whatever you can do in terms of advertising or individual contributions, we are grateful. Thank you.
With the faithful support of this community, we will continue the work of reaching all of Lansing with Lansing news.