Advertising in print for small organisations

Feb 2, 2011   //   Spread the word

Every organisation has to generate awareness of its existence and its mission.  Even if you have only a limited budget and less time, you can still develop a good publicity campaign.
Advertising is an invaluable means of promotion and an effective part of the strategy.  Its purpose is to inform or remind clients about your services and potentially lead them into contacting you or taking part in your work.  (Or in other words it must Reach, Educate and Inspire.)
Amongst the many forms of advertising e.g. radio, tv, online, outdoor etc – advertising in printed media is the most easily accessible and tends to be a choice between newspapers and magazines.

Cumulative effect

Bear in mind though, that advertising is not always a quick fix but best approached as a longer term strategy since its effect tends to be cumulative.  Experts often say that an ad must be seen around seven times before it begins to stick in the memory and after that may generate a response at the point of need.
E.g. you may have been aware of a carpet cleaning company’s ad for months, but until you need to have your carpets cleaned there is no reason to contact them.  When the need does arise you know the name of the company and feel familiar enough with it to give it a try.

Money Guide - publication cover

Money Guide Cover

Newspapers v Magazines

In general terms newspapers have a broad readership which makes it difficult to target a specific audience.  They are however effective at reaching a specific geographical area.
Magazines are more likely to be aimed at a particular audience, so that there is less ‘wasted’ readership although the readership may be less than a newspaper overall.
Newspapers can offer a range of sizes and prices for advertising, but can only use limited special effects, such as font size and colour. These limitations sometimes lead to advertising “clutter” in newspapers because all the ads look very similar.
Magazines allow better use of logos, pictures, graphics and colour, which give ads more impact on the page.
Newspapers have a quick turnover time and are good for advertising a short-term event or service. However longer-term, more informative ads may need to be inserted more times over more issues in order to reach their audience.
Magazines, on the other hand often have a lag time of a couple of months between placing the ad and before publication.  But the magazine will last longer than a newspaper, with the potential to be read more frequently, by more people when it does come out.

Ten Top Tips

Consider the publication –make sure its readership is as close as possible to the audience you are trying to reach.
Keep it simple.  If you must relay facts and figures then produce a separate leaflet or use editorial.  Print ads are largely visual, and work best when they carry brief, memorable messages.  The idea is to grab the reader’s attention and quickly communicate a simple, informative message.
Use direct language.  A short headline like ‘Free Service’, ‘Fast Help’ or ‘Lose Weight’ can be ‘read’ in an eye-blink.
Use short paragraphs, lists and catchy illustrations to break up the text.
No negatives! Keep the language positive and sparkling.
Leave as much ‘white space’ as you can – it makes it easier to scan the page.
Always include contact details.
Always include your logo – and make sure you have a version of it in a suitable format for print.
Consistency is important – once you have a style that works, stick to it.
Expect to have to place your ad more than once, to build the feeling that your service is familiar and dependable.

Heather Alabaster, ©Jan 2011
0191 386 5918