Toronto Star’s Newspaper in Education division recently launched a new annual publication for teachers in Ontario.

The Toronto Star Classroom Connection Field Trip Guide was distributed free to approximately 17,000 teachers across the province in September. The 60-page guide is full of educational field trip options and offers a convenient way for educators to plan field trips for their students.

The Field Trip Guide was free to interested educators but created C$90,000 in ad revenue.
The Field Trip Guide was free to interested educators but created C$90,000 in ad revenue.

While the guide was free to teachers, advertisers paid to feature their school programmes in the guide. The response was good for this inaugural edition, with more than 50 advertisers listed in the guide.

The promotional plan

We used our media assets to promote the free guide to teachers, including ads in the Toronto Star as well as e-mail, digital, and social promotion using our Classroom Connection brand. A digital edition of the guide was posted on our Web site and will remain on the site for the whole school year, providing even more exposure for advertisers.

The sales plan

We identified and contacted more than 100 advertising companies we knew, or assumed, would have an interest in reaching educators. The sales plan to advertisers included a digital promotion incentive for booking an ad early. They were also offered a discount for booking more than one ad.

The logistics (design, assembly, distribution, etc.)

The guide was designed in-house. Teachers requested free copies using an online form on our Web site. Advertisers were also directed to our Web site to upload their ad files and build their profile details. This streamlined the process substantially. Distribution to schools was handled by our contractors, which saved on distribution costs.

Our initial ad revenue projection ranged from a low of C$30,000 to a high of C$75,000. But we exceeded those expectations by generating close to C$90,000 in ad revenue. The publication was so successful, we have already started planning for the 2017-18 edition, with a goal of doubling the advertising revenue.

The lesson we learned is that niche or specialty publications appeal to advertisers looking to reach a very targeted audience. They also deliver a powerful sense of exclusivity for the reader. We are now focused on exploring more opportunities like the field trip guide to meet the needs of our advertisers and readers.