There is at least one piece of good news for newspapers struggling through the shutdowns: Announcements may be making a comeback as a revenue category for newspapers.

Graduation announcements are leading the way. This year students have been left out of proms and parties due to safety concerns and parents desperate to celebrate their kids’ accomplishments have been posting lawn signs, buying billboards – and paying for announcements in the local media.

iPublish Media Solutions, the leader in self-serve advertising, was in a perfect position to help parents honor graduating students. Even before the pandemic, the Celebrations platform was in place at nearly a hundred newspapers, allowing newspapers to obtain revenues from announcements including weddings, engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, and of course, graduations.

Today, Celebrate Graduates is also taking off as a revenue category. “The entire announcements category is going through a rapid transformation,” said Brian Gorman, Co-founder of iPublish Media Solutions. “People want to make a bigger splash than just posting an online notice. It’s just not enough to replace big weddings, birthday parties or graduation parties that are no longer taking place. This is the chance for local media to win the category back.”

Here’s how iPublish Celebrate Graduates works: The newspaper can select to use either ad templates or post small stories with celebration messages.

If they select advertising, the platform builds a print/online ad in seconds from custom designed templates. Parents enter the platform from a custom page hosted on the newspaper’s website.

The Day Celebration Graduations

Then they select a publication or in this case, the school from where the student graduated.

The Day Publications

Bright, cheerful, congratulatory ad designs provide proud parents options for sharing best wishes to their graduating students.

The parents customize the message using options to upload photos and change color based on their preferences. Within a few clicks they have proofed, paid, and submitted their unique message to the newspaper to share their joy with friends, family, and the local community.

The local media company determines the ad sizes, rates, overall look, and editorial for these special graduation sections. Medium markets are pricing their congratulatory ads around $50 to $100, while larger markets may go above the $100 mark.

For newspapers that choose a text-based format, the announcements look more like a newspaper article, and price is auto-calculated based on number of words, photos, and other features, so families can add as much or as little as they want. Recently, families are choosing to spend more than before.

The Day, in New London Connecticut, turned to iPublish when they were looking to create graduation sections to help celebration their local high school and middle schools graduates. They wanted something simple and turnkey that they could launch immediately. To learn more about their project, read the case study.