LOCAL media has always been critical to the business community.
And while it is now more important than ever in delivering vital news and information, the same can also be said for coverage of local businesses in these challenging times.
The St Helens Star is staffed by professionally trained journalists, with a trusted and loyal print readership, an ever increasing online presence and unrivalled social media presence in the town and beyond.
Complementing our editorial success is our digital marketing expertise from Newsquest’s LOCALiQ which is already playing a critical role in the resetting, rebooting and recovery of local economies.
As we have done for decades, our journalists and commercial teams are shouting loudly about business success, highlighting how firms have adapted overnight and working with councils, chambers and other organisations to promote important initiatives and generate revenues. During lockdown there have been numerous successful examples around the country of local partnership working between the media, business organisations and owners.
The Star has always had a strong relationship with stakeholders in the town and is proud to launch its Backing Our Businesses campaign this week.
While huge uncertainties remain, one thing is very clear. It will not be business as usual when things get back to whatever passes for normal. Especially for the thousands of local firms (or small and medium sized enterprises) which are the lifeblood of the economy.
READ> We need to shop local and embrace digital – the message from a leading St Helens retailer
Research published by Marketing Week Magazine showed that while small businesses were best-placed to adapt to squeezed supply chains disrupted as a result of the virus’s impact, they have also been disproportionately affected by the decline in demand when compared to large businesses.
The St Helens Star is published by Newsquest, the UK’s second largest regional newspaper publisher, with a strong and respected national presence.
Nick Ashwood, managing director of Newsquest’s Digital Marketing Services, says the innovation and resilience of business has been the engine room of community prosperity for decades. However many firms will now need to think and act differently.
“There are two very clear issues we’ve identified,” he explained. First, many traditional businesses have always been driven by footfall, high levels of passing trade and the immense power of recommendation. Much of that trade simply disappeared overnight.
“Businesses which might previously have been aware of the importance of the digital environment but not done much about it are quickly adapting and looking at new ways of operating.
“In particular this means having a credible website to promote their services and messages, and where necessary taking transactions via an Ecommerce platform.”
Nick also believes many businesses will need to communicate in a more nuanced way about how they are opening for business while maintaining the new health and safety standards.
He added: “This may sound daunting but it need not be. With the right help, support and advice any business can become more nimble, responsive and imaginative in its marketing, promotion, advertising and communication.
“At Newsquest we are able to bring together the power of digital advertising and the communications skills and trust that has always been at the very heart of local newspapers, to deliver powerful carefully crafted, targeted messaging and communication.”
“So for instance we have responded quickly to help local businesses owners through these tough times with our Local Commerce package.
“This includes a 10-page Ecommerce website for only £499, a package of advertising on local news websites and social media and a spotlight article about the business, published as part of our local news coverage.”
Nick adds: “We all recognise these are challenging times for everyone. But there can be some real reinvention for many businesses and sectors and I believe some big opportunities and positive outcomes for the future. And we know that our business communities are nothing if not resilient and innovative.”
◾️ For more information about how we can help, call Jane Ball at our LOCALiQ digital marketing team on 07525 216 917.
If business is trading send a picture of yourself or a member of your team holding a #StHelensIsOpen sign with details of how you’re operating.
We are looking to include the pictures as part of the Backing Our Businesses campaign.
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