In less than six months of rolling out the Column platform, Ogden Newspapers successfully migrated 75% of their public notice orders to self-serve.
Ogden Newspapers publishes 72 newspapers in 16 U.S. states, from New York to Hawaii. Across its prominent portfolio, the company processes an average of 5,000 public notice orders per month. Prior to their collaboration with Column, Ogden representatives were responsible for manually handling all notice volume for multiple newspapers in a single region, in addition to managing other advertising duties. This manual approach was inefficient.
In September 2021, Ogden Newspapers recognized the need for a more streamlined process and committed to putting 100% of their public notice volume across all markets through Column. The goal was to improve time management, reduce costs, and enhance customer experience.
Lori Figurski, Regional Director of Advertising at Ogden Newspapers and Column champion, attributed their successes to the documentation that both teams created to educate not only their clients on self-serve but their newspaper teams, as well as the strategic two-phase roll-out. Over six months, Column and Ogden worked together to stagger two launches, with roughly half of Ogden’s newspapers going live in each wave.
Implementing the self-serve platform involved a well-defined plan, attentive documentation, personal training sessions, and strong collaboration between Ogden and Column.
1. Enhanced Customer Experience. Column’s intuitive interface and self-serve capabilities empowered customers to easily place their notice orders online, eliminating the need for phone calls, emails, or in-person visits. “Our biggest concern from the beginning was client self-serve adoption. We were apprehensive that our clients would not embrace the change,” said Figurski. “But much to my surprise, clients embraced Column right away.” The first group of the phased rollout included three papers in a rural community. In 60 days, 75% of their clients were using self-serve notice placement.
2. Improved Efficiency. On average, it takes newspaper staff 30 to 40 minutes to process a notice order. Column cuts that time in half. The platform automates key parts of the notice process such as invoicing, pagination, and affidavits, dramatically increasing productivity and improving time management. “The biggest benefit by far is the ease of use and convenience,” emphasized Figurski. “Once staff reviews and confirms the notice, all they have to do is wait for the notice to publish. No one’s sitting at the computer hand-typing it in word by word.”
Column attributes part of its success to its volume-based pricing model, which aligns the company’s incentives with that of its clients. Column succeeds only if publishing partners are able to significantly improve customer experience and achieve a high level of automation and efficiency.
Ogden Newspapers’ experience serves as an inspiration for other publishing companies seeking to optimize their public notice business.