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Nearly half of Louisiana Press Association members say they have little or no skill level when it comes to digital advertising, according to the 2021 LPA member survey.

It's a number, according to Executive Director Jerry Raehal, which is likely higher than that.

"The representation in the survey of large papers was higher than the percentage of large papers in the membership," he said. "When you put those numbers in context, it's more likely that 60 to 70% of member publications have basic digital skill levels."

It's one takeaway from the survey Raehal said the LPA can use to help members move forward.

"As the world becomes more and more digitally oriented, we need to help our members move in that direction."

Another takeaway from the survey, in which 39 members participated, regarded training. Notably webinar training. While it ranked low in terms of the most valuable service and ranked high in the least valuable service, it was the top-ranked item members said they want LPA to offer in the future.

"From looking at the results and talking to people who put their names on the survey, we have found that when items ranked low on most valuable and high on less valuable, oftentimes the service was not being provided," Raehal said.

He added that LPA was already making progress with webinar training with the MediaNext initiative, which has garnered additional attention.

"MediaNext is one area we hope to address the digital divide," Raehal said.

Another service that had similar results to webinars was the top-ranked least valuable service: Site visits. Some said they did not rank it high because they had not seen anyone in a couple of years. Others said they thought the question meant visiting the LPA website. But almost everyone said they would welcome site visits.

"Which is exciting to hear because we want to meet our members in their communities to learn more about them and their needs," Raehal said.

Other items members said they wanted LPA to offer include:

• To bring back the convention -- LPA is looking to do so in April 2022.

• To provide house ads and marketing material to promote the industry -- LPA is currently using the 2021 Coda Venture Market study to build-out. 

• Ad-supported specialty content -- LPA is in the process of developing a brand advertising network as well as retooling the tourism content page already developed, Ruemapper.com

The most valuable services, according to the survey, remain LPA Advertising Placement Service and Lobbying and Governmental Services, which was the same the last time LPA did a member survey in 2017.

Beyond what members said they want in the survey, Raehal said, is valuable data LPA can use to help further conversations, such as how website metrics are being used.

The LPA plans to do another member survey every two years to try to make sure the organization can continue to understand and meet its members' needs.