What we do
WE ARE A UNIQUE firm, drawing much of our talent from top working media professionals. We can put together a team of specialists to help you with a wide range of design, content, workflow, management, production, advertising or technical needs. The result is top quality software, training, management, outsourcing and design services.
Bill Ostendorf, who founded Creative Circle in 1984, worked as a front-line editor in large and small newsrooms for 20 years. He spent 13 years at The Providence Journal, holding a variety of positions, including managing editor for visuals and new product development. After 16 years of being a full time editor and part time consultant, he left his day job in 2000 to devote his full attention to Creative Circle.
Most of our full time staff came from The Journal and all have extensive newsroom experience.
IN ADDITION TO OUR CORE STAFF, we can draw on more than 30 other consultants with diverse and specialized backgrounds worked on Creative Circle projects.
Creative Circle has helped redesign more than 650 publications and 350 web sites, led consulting and training projects in 23 countries on three continents and has provided featured speakers for more than 1,000 industry workshops and conventions. We also host about 200 media web sites and we launch new sites every month.
In 2004, after seeing how our clients were struggling with rigid and overly complex software, we launched a software arm. Our goal was to start from scratch and develop platforms that were affordable, easy to use, flexible, content driven and user driven.
SWITCHING TO OUR SOFTWARE WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. We're typically cheaper or the same price as your current legacy vendor. But part of the savings comes from how easy it is to run our software. No more need for technical people to run your site. With a single training session, just about anyone on your team will be able to do everything on your site, including lots of things you can't do at all on your current platform.
Our customers also see a dramatic increase in traffic, click throughs and time on site just by switching to us. Why? Because our sites are better designed and do a better job showcasing your content. If digital is your future, shouldn't you have a modern, effective digital solution?
Our software can do everything your current vendor does. And more. And better.
WE CAN ALSO PROVIDE LOTS OF NEW WAYS TO MAKE MONEY. We were the first CMS vendor to build an integrated pay wall; the first to create a Google Adsense-like platform for newspapers and the first to create a native content platform. WE have an integrated newsletter generation platform and a marketplace/directory platform. Combined with our consulting help and training, we can help you convert these innovative software solutions into money – in print and online.
Print is not dead. Our print problems aren't caused by the medium – print. It's our fault. Newspapers are just doing print badly. We can help you change that.
We'll help you rethink your print products. We'll help you refocus your newsroom on producing content people want to read. We can guarantee your readers will be happy with the results and that readership will increase. That sometimes helps our clients grow newsstand sales, circulation and revenue by reducing churn or raising prices with fewer cancellations.
If you are willing to make real changes, there is no reason print can't stabilize or even grow again.
We provide energizing training that will give your teams a whole new perspective on how to succeed.
We're newsroom experts and can help your editorial team improve every aspect of what they do. More importantly, we can help them find new kinds of content and new approaches to stories that will better engage readers.
In the advertising department, we can help your team improve the content and design of your advertising. One of the most critical issues we see in media is that the advertising we produce is often not effective or well thought out. We can fix that by training both your team and your advertisers about how to produce effective advertising.
There are lots of vendors who try to provide cost-cutting outsourcing options, often by shipping work overseas. That's not us.
The past decade has seen a tremendous drain on talent in the newspaper industry. We've lost designers, graphic artists, photographers, photo editors and copy editors. But Creative Circle has retained those kinds of talents and our Creative Outsourcing program gives you access to that kind of top tier talent again.
We can serve as a high end ad agency. We can produce a new product, like a book about a pro sports team's run for the championship. We can help you edit a major editorial project. We can fill in for your design director while they are out on leave. And we can produce whole products, like a monthly magazine, serving your art direction, design, editing and production team.
Newspapers ask advertisers to trust them with their brands but we often don’t manage our own brands effectively.
IN TODAY'S CLUTTERED MARKET, BRANDING IS CRITICAL. It takes a lot of discipline to maintain brand continuity as you launch new products or branch into new areas. Some new products should have independent brands. Some so play off the core brand. It depends on your strategy.
Does your image and message appear consistently across all your products – trucks, stationary, business cards, web site, newspaper, coin boxes, etc.? Are you using the same fonts and colors throughout?
Will someone picking up any of your products know instantly who produced it? Do your advertisers understand all the products you offer?
And how do you weave a variety of different brands together – web sites, publications, apps, events, directories? Should they look completely different or should they all look related?
We can help you sort through any confusion and make the most of the great exposure your brand should be enjoying throughout your market.
We've got a lot of strong managers who have seen it all in hundreds of newsrooms where we have worked or served as consultants.
We can help challenge and refine your strategic plan. We can help you find savings or grow revenue. We can help guarantee that your new product launch delivers both readers and revenue. We can evaluate your staffing, talent and workflows.
We have found that the same problems exist in every newspaper everywhere in the world. Of course, they are also all different. But the core problems are always there, causing problems.
THE GOOD NEWS IS that every one of these problems can be overcome and we have helped solve most of them. (The bad news is, we’ve never seen a newspaper that was able to solve them all at the same time!)
Typically, it’s not that you can’t solve these things yourself – with enough time or resources. It’s just that you’ve got a newspaper to put out and that, unfortunately, gets in the way.
With our help, you will see problems differently and solve them faster than you could ever do on your own. Sometimes it requires training. Sometimes we can help you sort through the staffing issues or personalities that are getting in the way (that part of our work is a lot like family counseling). More often, there are workflow or technology or physical barriers that get in the way.
Whatever it takes, we’ll help you find solutions that work for you and your staff.