Cippel: Journalists turned entrepreneurs can be successful at ad sales

By Meg McGuire | Sep. 30, 2016

Eleanor Cippel speaks at the LION Publishers 2016 Summit Friday at Columbia College in Chicago.

"Without a plan, you just have hope. Hope is not a strategy." Those were some of the many words of wisdom scattered through a talk given by Eleanor Cippel on "Effective Ad Sales" at the LION Publishers 2016 Summit at Columbia College in Chicago on Friday.

Cippel, a former VP of advertising at the Denver Post who know does consulting work, including with many local independent online news publishers. Many in the audience at the LION Summit are former full-time journalists who have become entrepreneurs, launching their own news sites and suddenlly being responsible for ad revenue. Cippel preaches the gospel of selling in a way that makes even this journalist comfortable and even - gasp - enthusiastic.

She shows how your sales efforts have to be "intentional" -- you know, the way that your reporting is intentional. It's important to set yourself a schedule -- especially if selling isn't your favorite thing.

Focus just on sales during the time you've set aside for it. Prioritize: know where the low-hanging fruit is and where more effort can reap rich rewards. Capitalize (and sell) capabilities that arise from your interests, talents or previous experiences. Find multiple revenue streams, Cippel said.

And here's her gift sentence to get sales conversation started: "Hey, I was thinking about your business and I have a few ideas that I'd like to run by you."

Check out more entries in our 2016 conference blog »