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Calendar success stories

Kevin M. Cox 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Mike Stickler 2 weeks ago 5

I'm looking for some examples and experiences from other papers who are successfully utilizing (or gave up on) the BLOX calendar feature of their sites.

Ours is currently empty: https://www.galvnews.com/calendar/

But we're looking to see how hard it would be to jump start it and then of course what opportunities there would be to monetize it.


I'd appreciate any thoughts, examples and/or experiences that y'all are willing to share.


Thanks!

+1

We ended up keeping our Tockify calendar because the TownNews calendar is a bear for readers to use and requires registration. We also don't want to get stuck inputting events for them.


You can embed Tockify on any page or in individual articles. We use it for community events for free but sell spots to real estate agents and brokers on our Open House Calendar version. 

+1

Ours is relatively well used, https://www.newsargus.com/calendar/ but we haven't had but one person use the up-charge option to promote an event (in a bit under a year). We had a calendar on another CMS for a long time, so I think our readers were used to using us as a service. We do spend the space to have a little month calendar on each page with a blox asking folks to submit events, maybe that helps?

A few thoughts I have had on this subject:

* It would be really neat to have a way to roundtrip events between web to print. If editors could easily dump print events into the CMS, and then get dumps from the CMS for print, that could help jump-start things and potentially lower the number of emails and faxes for events for the print side. Admittedly, I'm not sure what a UI would look like for this. The current way to add an event through the CMS is probably too cumbersome to work for an editorial staff.

* Getting the sales team on board to help promote the up-charge aspects of the calendar. Perhaps by giving some away for special customers or as part of packages. Understandably, most sales teams have a lot of stuff to sell these days and it can be hard to get them excited about something that doesn't really add to their commissions.

+2

Kevin, here's what we have currently: https://www.nuvo.net/calendar/

(and here's a redesign I've been playing around with: https://www.nuvo.net/test/calendar/ )

I would say out of all features in Blox, we've had the most overall / organic success with the Calendar, but it definitely took some time to establish. A little over a year ago we barely had five listings for a given week. I started having an intern scour local music and arts venues for two hours a day, and also edit/improve imported listings via the Jobs function from a local Arts Council calendar (a little tip with that, make sure your imported listings are .ics files and not .ical files - avoids a huge headache with fields not matching). After a few weeks, we saw a dramatic increase in user submitted events. Eventually I had my intern focus more on approving /editing submitted listings and photos (users still can't section tag their event themselves, it will be tagged to just "/calendar" by default and you'll have to assign it to calendar/music" etc. if you want). Once we started getting some Featured Event upsells rolling in and displayed on the homepage, that increased user awareness of the calendar section even further. You can set the pricing options for that however you want, charging by day or week or whatever.

Currently, I spend about half an hour each morning approving listings (you won't want auto-publish on until TN figures out how to combat SEO spammers a little better) and the upsells pretty much run themselves, once the listings are approved. I still have some improvement requests here and there, but they're mostly minor things. Definitely nothing frustrating enough to start looking into third-party options, in my opinion.

Hope this helps!

+1

A few years ago I put some effort into getting users to use the calendar and never could get the other employees out of their silos long enough to buy in.

For example - enhancing web banner advertising with calendar events. Advertising saw the ability for users to create their own events for free as a problem not an opportunity. Likewise our we run a weekly calendar of events as editorial content in the paper. However the people that compile that saw doing the online calendar as "additional work" and the didn't want people submitting events to use the online calendar instead of emailing them. Likewise the people emailing events in were doing a single mass email to multiple outlets (radio, city gov, chamber, etc) and didn't want to do something specific just for us.