Community calendars consistently rank as one of the most requested features on digital news websites, but the benefits aren’t exclusively for readers. The savvy digital publisher can generate revenue from a community calendar by charging local businesses to submit their events.
Consider the community calendar on a local newspaper or city magazine’s website. You could expect the calendar to include information about citywide events, like parades and festivals. You could also expect that an events calendar might include information about upcoming museum exhibitions and children’s story times at the public library. It benefits everyone in the community to have a comprehensive calendar of upcoming events that’s widely accessible on the web.
In order to make money from a community calendar, and also maximize community engagement, digital publishers should start thinking outside the box — going beyond public events — to better meet the needs of local businesses and loyal readers. When they charge advertisers to include their event listings on their community calendars, publishers open the door to new revenue opportunities, and also make their calendars more functional and useful for readers.
Publishers can monetize their community calendars in multiple ways.
The most common way for publishers to make money from a community calendar is by charging businesses and other for-profit organizations to include their listings. Publishers can do this while still allowing non-profits organizations to add their listings for free. This strategy ensures that the events calendar has enough regular content to provide a real service to readers, while also serving as a source of sustainable income.
Businesses are more likely to pay to list their events when they can manage the process through a self-service portal on the publisher’s website. This structure allows the business owner to submit listings and pay for them online, without having to call or email the publisher’s sales team for support. Advertisers should also have a way to re-up their listings automatically by scheduling recurring payments.
Premium listings are another option for publishers who want to make money from a community calendar. With this strategy, publishers collect a fee when businesses submit their events. In exchange for the fee, the publisher highlights the listing in some way — typically by bolding the text, including an image, or placing the listing at the top of the calendar page. Premium listings should also be managed through a self-serve portal.
Upselling opportunities are available for publishers who sell premium listings, as well. For example, a publisher can charge $30 per month for a premium event listing with the option to pay an additional $5 for add-ons like images, website links, longer descriptions, or inclusion in the publisher’s email newsletter. The opportunities here for the creative publisher are limitless.
Venue pages could be considered another form of upselling, but the potential profit to be generated here is so great that it’s worth breaking this strategy out on its own. In exchange for a one-time or recurring fee, publisher can create venue pages for their advertisers. Venue pages are like landing pages for local businesses and organizations. When readers click on the business name or venue name within the community calendar, they’re taken to a landing page with images, additional information, and a comprehensive list of all events taking place at that location. Businesses will pay a premium to have venue pages listed on a digital publisher’s website.
Display advertising can be used in conjunction with premium listings to maximize profits on a community calendar. Google AdSense is a program that lets publishers in the Google Network serve automatic text, image, video, or interactive media ads, targeted based on site content and audience, but Google is hardly the only game in town when it comes to display advertising. Publishers who want to make money from a community calendar have dozens of options for ad networks that pay based on ad impressions.
Larger digital publishers may have greater financial success selling inventory directly to business advertisers in their own markets. Advertising platforms like Broadstreet Ads can be used to manage display advertising that runs alongside community events calendars.
Declining display advertising rates make it challenging for digital publishers to find sustainability through this type of advertising alone, however display advertising does remain a viable option for publishers who want to supplement the revenue they are generating through other channels.
If you’d like more information about how to make money from a community calendar, we’re always happy to help here at Web Publisher PRO.