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Paul Burton, was the youngest ever editor of the Plymouth Herald. In this episode, you're going to hear Paul talk about how some cardboard sunglasses persuaded the people of Plymouth to queue around the block to buy a printed newspaper. Paul is also going to talk about the future of printed media, the rise of influencer marketing, and how businesses can write better copy and more effective headlines.
Paul started his career in Bristol around the turn of the century. In his own words he “kind of worked as a reporter for about seven or eight years”. The industry went through an enormous amount of change about 10 years ago, and then every year seemed to get even more enormous, and every year new challenges would present themselves, things like Google, Facebook etc, and continue to disrupt the industry just like they disrupted most other industries.
Paul’s opportunity to become editor in Exeter presented itself about eight years ago, it was the company that owned The Herald in Plymouth and many other papers around the country, it was all the talent reinvented, and there were lots of opportunities available. Paul was asked if he would like to come down and help in Plymouth, and at the time The Herald was in a sort of state of flux, the paper's sales were in decline, in quite steep decline, but that said it did have a loyal audience, and there was certainly a big opportunity digitally, it was just defining how to seize that opportunity.
Do you remember the eclipse? Paul certainly does, he decided to have a load of branded cardboard sunglasses made, in order to receive them you had to buy a herald of course from certain retail outlets , this resulted in people travelling from all areas of the country to Plymouth to buy a paper so that they could get a pair. Paul learnt a lot from that, strategy marketing is always trumpeted as one of the best illusions that you can construct, and that was certainly what was at play that day, he doesn’t think for one minute that everyone who bought a Herald that day actually wanted a pair of cardboard sunglasses, they just thought they did because everybody else wanted one too.
Paul initially took 4 weeks off for a break which turned into 6 weeks, and within that time he thought hard about what he wanted to do. Paul knew that he was good at helping creating content, he knew that he was good at planning content, and he knew that he had helped lots of businesses in the past, he had spoken to lots of advertisers about the future of their business and how they weren't going to be able to take a quarter page ad on page three anymore, they were going to need to think more broadly about how they market themselves. And so that sort of germinated really into the business that he runs today……
For links to everything we talk about, including the video recording of the episode and transcription of everything we talked about, head over to the show notes at bigidea.co.uk/podcast.
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