Thursday, 3 January 2013

Everything has been diluted.

My eldest daughter in September. I love that life is so simple for her still.  I will keep it that way for her as long as possible. 

Everything has been diluted.

Growing up in the 1980’s meant that people and things had their place.  I remember well my mother would tell me children were to be seen and not heard.  On a Sunday morning my father would make a large pot of coffee and take the Sunday Times up to their bedroom and emerge 3 hours later after they had both read the paper cover to cover. They would lock their bedroom door on some Sundays and we would know to stay downstairs and keep ourselves busy.

In the 1990’s as I started work you knew exactly where to advertise what.  There was no real Internet as such and the newspapers ruled. I knew, for example that the best place to advertise that I was giving one to one French tuition at £10 per hour was in my local Chronicle and Echo. I am smiling now as I recollect that this was interpreted as anything but French tuition and my poor mother had quite a time fending off some of the calls.

When I worked in catering the local jobs were all advertised on the Thursday night.  You know when you picked up the paper that every possible job in the county was advertised in one place.  It was reassuring.  It seemed that everyone had his or her place in life.

Nowadays there is no limit as to where you might advertise. If you want local people to find out about you then my local paper might seem the logical place, until you look closely at the demographics of the readers.  These are not the people who have the kind of profile that buy Cookery courses.  It’s the same with my local BBC.  In the two years I have done my weekly cookery spot on the Kitchen Garden show I’ve had over a hundred people tell me they listen to me.  Not one of them was under the age of 65, bar my aunty who is not far off.  It is a media that is terminal decline. 

Young people.. or at least those brought up in the age of the internet use online as their medium of choice.  So this leaves me with the digital market place.  What a minefield.  I am fast learning that page impressions and click through rates and so on can me targeted to you exact audience, but it is also incredible that they will take your money but with absolutely with no guarantees of any results.  Most of the mediums I spoke to would not give a click through rate. It's a real risk and it's all mine to take. 

I’ve spoken to day to the Telegraph, the Guardian and my local newspaper today and I’ve been astonished at the wild difference in rates. It seems that the National newspapers offer far better value for money, which having worked for my local paper for almost two years galls me.  I actually want to spend my money with my local paper.  It employs friends of mine and after a massive downsize and major redundancies recently, it is now more than ever we need to protect our ever declining local media.  I am afraid, however, that the wider our choices and the more diverse the media becomes then the more our traditional local mediums decline.  I fear they will disappear altogether, and sooner than we think. 

It’s not just the local papers and radio that are under threat.  The media as a whole has been diluted. The once dominant BBC is crumbling ever inward, with managers taking ever more self preserving disastrous short term decisions that erode the fabric of what the BBC stands for.  Watching the decline is painful. 

It is this dilution that makes it even harder to know where to spend money advertising.  The choice is far greater than ever.  There are internet sites, on line newspapers, classified adverts in magazines, above the line and below the line have swapped their positions, and with the small budget that I have I am now practically paralyzed with indecision.  So I am sitting here instead of reading the stats and deciding what advert to put where for my cookery courses .. I am remembering with fondness the simplicity of my youth.. before things were diluted, when you knew you would get a response because everyone had to read the one printed paper.  

How I miss those days. 

We will never see them again. 


  1. see what you mean. I wouldn't know where to start. Well, maybe 'The Lady' wouldn't be a bad idea, for people wanting to learn to cook. And mags like 'Homemaker'.

    I am guilty of not listening to local radio. Haven't done that since the Radio Orwell days, and they were based by the bus stop in town. I'd often pop in with a record request. ah, happy days!

    Hope you can find a good place to advertise. Both paper & virtual!

  2. I know exactly what you mean, sadly along with the bad things about the past, we lose some of the good too. I was going to comment the other day on your previous post but the comments already there said it all for me. I do think you should get editorial in magazines - even the Sunday supplements. Then of course what about advertising in Waitrose magazine I'm sure they have a list of cookery schools or at least they used to. Good luck - you deserve to succeed.

  3. Yes I have to agree, with all this new technology its difficult to know where your advertising $ will serve you best. I have been guilty of not listening to the radio for years but now I am back driving to work instead of public transport I have gained back an hour of airway at least. It is surprising what is advertised but targeting a certain demographic can be very tricky. Good luck.

  4. Hi Vanessa, sorry to hear you are giving up your BBC Kitchen Garden show but what a ride it has been. Thank you for featuring me in the Most Marvellous Cake Off!

    I'm a firm beliver that when one door closes, another one opens and that sometimes we have to let go of one thing to make room for the next. You have so many things to focus on this year - wishing you all the very best for 2013 xxx

  5. I've been out for the day and yome home so such warm lovely comments.

  6. Would it be worth looking at advertising in some of the new magazines like Landlove, Landscape, and The Simple Things? I don't know how much they charge but can imagine that the readers would be the right type. Also the W.I. (Women's Institute) have their own magazine and I believe they have a monthly county newsletter with adverts.

    Good luck with the new venture.


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