Promotional Spotlight: Bedford Gazette

Promotional Spotlight: Bedford Gazette

The Bedford Gazette builds new relationships and thinks outside the box during COVID-19

If the local businesses in a region can’t afford to advertise, and the local publication doesn’t want to take the financial hit to provide free advertising space, is it possible to find a solution that works for both? That was exactly the conundrum that Sherri Growden, associate publisher of the Bedford Gazette, faced. “We needed to find a way to provide the ad space for the businesses,” said Growden. “But when they are dealing with questions like, ‘Do I advertise or pay my employees or pay rent?’ we can’t be the ones to make them have to choose.” Growden said it was time to put the concept of “thinking outside the box” to the test. She was approached by the executive director of the local visitors’ bureau who said the bureau wanted to assist local restaurants and other eateries. Growden saw a window of opportunity. She worked with the visitors’ bureau, helping it to sponsor a full-color directory of local take-out and delivery options, by county, on the back page of the publication on March 21 and 24.

Readers and restaurant owners responded favorably, and since a large number of still open businesses needed similar free or low-cost advertising opportunities, Growden moved forward with a similar project. This time, she sought the support of the Bedford County Commissioners to sponsor ads for those local businesses still considered essential. The response from those businesses was beyond Growden and her team’s expectations. “We had people (companies) calling right up to the deadline,” said Growden. “They were like, ‘Can we still get in? Can we make this work? We really want to be a part of this!’” The full-color directory of local essential businesses, by county, was featured on the back page of the April 14 and 15 issues of the Gazette. The enthusiastic response from the county commissioners was equal to, if not greater than, that of the featured businesses. “We received very positive feedback and those businesses that participated were very appreciative.  Sherri made a special effort to help set the ad in a way that would highlight various regions of the county, which was very helpful to our citizens,”  Bedford County Commissioner Barry Dallara said.

Growden is considering launching several new ideas that she’s developed from the recent campaigns, including working with the local Chamber of Commerce for a sponsorship and speaking with local restaurants to feature a second directory at a reduced rate.  Growden said she does her best to lead her ad team by example. “I am a very aggressive salesperson. I am not going to sit back and wait for people to come ask me to run an ad,” she said. “I encourage my entire team to think differently – approach advertisers in a different way – always, but especially now.”

For additional information, contact Sherri Growden at 814-623-1151 x220 or