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Newspaper advertising is often a double-edged sword. It can provide you with exposure and leads, but your response rate will probably be less than overwhelming in comparison to other advertising mediums, such a Internet or broadcast advertising.

Advertising in regional and national newspapers can be expensive. Advertising in local or community newspapers is less so and may provide a more focused advertising approach. If your business trade is localized, it certainly makes more sense to focus on the community or local papers that your customers are more likely to read.

Running ads in major metropolitan newspapers can be effective if your product or service offering is strong enough or unique enough to pull in customers from throughout the readership or circulation area.

Chances are that your competitors will be spending money on newspaper advertising, too. Remember that this will reduce the effectiveness of your newspaper advertising campaign, because you will be competing for your customers’ attention and “mind share.”

Newspaper advertising is sold by the column inch. Different advertising classifications may have different rates. For instance, a service directory advertisement may be less expensive per column inch than a small ad placed on a regular editorial page. Virtually all newspapers offer discounts for contract advertisers, depending upon the volume of space they commit to over the course of a contract year.


A FEW POINTERS ON WRITING YOUR NEWSPAPER AD

HEADLINE

Get readers' attention with a headline or an eye-catching phrase. Keep it short and simple, and avoid the use of controversial phrases or slang.

COPY LENGTH

Use a copy length that supports your message. Long copy looks informative and is good for technical or business products. Short copy leaves room for graphics. This combination is appropriate for an image ad selling fashion, home decor, and other lifestyle products.

COMPARISON

Use comparative advertising phrases such as "You’ve tried the others. Now try us!" only if your product or service has an obvious advantage over the offerings of your competitors.


BENEFITS

The body of the ad should list benefits or reasons why the customers should buy your product or service now. Emphasize the customer by using the word "you" instead of the word "we." Use bulleted text to highlight key points.


CLOSING

The closing copy should make the sale possible by including any contact, telephone, website, address, or other ordering information necessary for the consumer to act on his or her purchasing decision.

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NEWSPAPER Q & A


Q: Should I take the newspaper up on its offer to design an ad for me for free?
A: Never! While the newspaper’s ad rep may tell you that its art department can produce a great ad for free, don’t believe it! The ads that staff newspaper production departments produce are typically terrible. You would be better off hiring a freelancer, even a graphic arts student, and working closely with that person to put together an ad you are really pleased with.
Q: Should I run the same ad repeatedly?
A: Yes, you should run the same basic ad design or format repeatedly. This will build a company identity for you and create awareness among consumers. It is also easier to come up with one terrific design concept and modify it periodically to meet the requirements of a new product offering or a special sale—say, a new headline, a different copy slant, or a different photo—than to continually reinvent the ad.
Q: Do I need a photograph or artwork to attract attention?
A: Many newspaper ads work well without photographs or artwork. This is especially true in the case of service ads. But whether you are running straight copy or an elaborate multi-photo advertisement, your ad must look professional.


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