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What Matters Most With Newspaper Advertising?

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Dec 08, 2015 @ 10:38 AM |


Ask any real estate agent what’s the most important thing when selling a piece of property and they will tell you without blinking an eye: “Location, location, location.” Ask a shop owner what’s the key to getting to the most foot traffic and they will quickly respond, “Location, location, location.”

So it shouldn’t be shocking to find out that when it comes to newspaper advertising, location, or in print advertising’s case – position – is the most important thing.

You Can’t Sell It If They Don’t See It

If you’ve ever placed an ad in your local newspaper and got a dismal response, chances are your audience simply didn’t see it. Even local newspapers are fairly large, and national newspapers… forget about it… some are over 400 pages long. It’s entirely too easy to get lost in there.

Now, think about how people read the newspaper. Before they start reading it, they deconstruct it, kind of like how some people eat an Oreo cookie. They divide the newspaper up into its sections and only read what they want. You Can't Sell It If They Don't See ItWomen may head to the inserts to begin making their weekly grocery list; men might grab the sports section; a college kid might grab the entertainment section while a budding entrepreneur might zero in on the business section.

The point here is, nobody ever reads the entire paper. Nobody. Generally people focus on one to three sections. And even when they grab the section they want, they won’t read the entire thing. This is why to maximize exposure you should be advertising on the front side of a section or the back side.

Even readers who aren’t interested in a section will generally see the front or back page of each section, even if it’s just to grab it and hand it to the person sitting across from them at the breakfast table. And, when they happen to be glancing or scanning and they see an eye-catching ad with an incredibly strong headline, they may actually pause and read your offer.

So, your real goal, or at least first goal, is to get people to simply see your ad. Your second goal is to get them to read it, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

As far as best position then, remember these tips:

  • Front (best) or back (second best) side of a section
  • Upper half
  • Upper right hand corner if at all possible

In the world of newspaper advertising, positioning is what matters most when it comes to getting your ad seen. When it comes to getting it read…


Make Your Ad Look Like a StoryMake Your Ad Look Like a News Story 

Here’s the second biggest tip to placing effective newspaper ads – don’t make them look like ads. Forget about using line art, embellished typeface and cute graphics. This is important – what gets the most attention in newspapers is the editorial content. So, once your ad is positioned well, make it look like a native news story.

Write a killer headline that grabs attention and announces the biggest benefit to your reader, and box and format them so they look just like a newspaper article. While everyone else’s ad will look like an ad, yours will stand out by not standing out.


Track Your Efforts

For some reason people have this idea that it’s not as important – or easy – to track offline marketing efforts as it is online efforts. But this is patently untrue. By using a dedicated 800 number or landing page, you can easily measure the success of any newspaper campaign. How will you know if the section you chose it the right one, or if the headline is working? Heck, how will you know if the newspaper itself is reaching your target demographic? You simply won’t unless you track.


Newspaper advertising is just as effective as ever. But, as with any marketing tactic, there are some definite practices that will increase your chances of success.


Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.


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