Extra! Extra!

Dropping a Line

The 11th grade students of DCTS were knee deep into an advertising project. In fact, as we peeled back the layers of onion, two students actually took it upon themselves to cold call some newspaper places to find out just how much these ads cost. When we got a return phone call, we invited the gentleman in to speak to our class. Our contact was Patriot News’ Paul Mehesy. His visit opened our eyes to the world of digital advertising.

Digital Advertising Presentation

The presentation began with Paul and I conducting a meeting in front of the students. He asked qualifying questions to determine my needs. Below is a result of the dialogue that was exchanged.

  1. We’re looking for ways to increase enrollment at our school
  2. We want to help brand “Career & Technical Education” as well as Co-op and SOAR
  3. We want to use a cost-effective method and reach as many people as possible

Based on these needs, Paul made some recommendations on where/how to maximize our advertising budget:

  • High school sports are the best pages to advertise your message
  • $2,000 for 100,000 impressions — good for one month
  • 15 minute intervals — the ad graphics and message change
  • How can this impact DCTS: Drive traffic in to specific programs

Proven track record:
Digital advertising helped an underachieving program with verbiage and visuals for Open House…the re-message increased frequency. Two programs lacking attendance saw a dramatic rise in participation with this simple investment.


  • 20 click rate – 190%; .05-.09 is normal
  • Leader board – spans across the top of the page much like a billboard
  • Drops a line of code on each page – drops on device to track your web habits increasing the amount of times you see the ad
  • What also worked – parents registered online for Open House and once they hit complete it dropped a line of code on that page and it was able to track the number of people coming


Successful advertising is about implementing the right mix at the right time in the right place. We lucked out in terms of how the stars aligned for us in regards to this digital advertising presentation. It was an equal effort on the part of the students, teacher, and Patriot Newspaper representative.

Overall, the students provided positive feedback in regards to the presentation. As a result of the Collin’s Writing Prompt — a reflective essay — the consensus is that DCTS should spend money going the digital route because a full-page ad in the Sunday paper can run upwards of $9,000. Likewise, there are no guarantees or statistics that can prove the amount of hits in a newspaper ad versus digital. In my opinion, I believe Paul’s pitch was effective because he laid out the costs starting with the highest amount. He set our expectations to think that we could not afford advertising at all. Then his go-to button was talking about how much the school would benefit from digital advertising and how the cost is significantly less, which makes it appear like a sweet deal. However, if he simply began the presentation with the digital advertising budget, our perception would have been different. The only thing that is for sure — you never know unless you pick up the phone and drop a line.