Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Central Penn Business Journal

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Central Penn Business Journal

Central Penn Business Journal helps businesses in the community Bounce Back

As counties across the commonwealth entered the Yellow and Green Phases during the COVID-19 pandemic, news organizations looked for programs that would support local businesses as they reopened to the community.  While many publications seek to connect businesses with customers, the Central Penn Business Journal’s model is instead to connect local businesses to one another. “It is a niche role we play in our community,” said Cathy Hirko, associate publisher and editorial director of Central Penn Business Journal (CPBJ) and Lehigh Valley Business (LVB). “So, we knew we needed to brainstorm to find the right model for a reopening initiative.” The LVB and CPBJ teams reviewed ideas from other BridgeTower Media sister publications and began planning in mid-May what would become the CPBJ and LVB Bounce Back programs.

The Bounce Back program was introduced to the business community in early June and would culminate in an end of the month publication with the same name.  Hirko explained that the program included sponsorship packages with sponsored content as the keystone of the project.  Other options in the packages included regular display advertising as well as the ability to host webinars.  The initiative was met with an incredibly strong response, as businesses appreciated the ability to share their stories and plans for the future via the sponsored content pages. The LVB and CPBJ teams realized that the Bounce Back edition of the publication was going to be unique and should be seen and promoted as such.  “You can see it immediately when you look at the cover photo of the bridges (across the Susquehanna River),” said Hirko, “We didn’t want it to look like the normal publication – we wanted it to stand out and look different.”

The Bounce Back webinars were launched on the same day as the print publication and they have been successful by all counts as well.  Hirko said the range of types of businesses that decided to participate in the webinar option was wide, but each had its own information and services to bring to the business community.  “We had webinars from law firms assisting with legalities about returning to work, accounting firms providing information about helpful tax breaks and incentives available to companies as well as the chamber of commerce sharing about the wide array of resources they have available to companies at this time,” said Hirko.  The CPBJ and LVB reported positive feedback from all the businesses involved in the program, especially from those that chose the webinar option. Hirko noted that these businesses appreciated the opportunity afforded to them by the webinars to make up for the meetings these companies might have had with each other in a pre-COVID-19 time.  That feedback has led Hirko and her team to work on the next large project: a web video series that will begin at the end of July.

Hirko said that she feels the Bounce Back program was not only a success from a revenue standpoint, as it was an entirely unbudgeted program, but it was a great opportunity for CPBJ and LVB to serve the business community while learning what the businesses are experiencing and what they need from the publication.  “In this day and age, you have to be flexible with what type of product you are trying to create,” said Hirko. “We took our time to speak with the businesses, hear their stories and focus on a streamlined theme.  We executed a great looking and highly functional finished product while also learning where we will need to pivot to in the future.”

For additional information, contact Cathy Hirko at (717) 236-4300 or