How to Use Newspaper Advertising in Your Business

February 13, 2016 | By | Reply More

newspaper advertising

There’s a lot of talk about the shift to digital and predictions about the demise of newspapers. However, studies by Pew Research Center show that “most newspaper reading still happens in print.” As such, newspapers still present a viable advertising vehicle, especially for small businesses.
>> RELATED: Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Advertising Mediums

Why Advertise in a Newspaper

Newspapers remain a good advertising vehicle, for the following reasons:

  • Despite its decline, newspapers still have a wide reach. The Newspaper Association of America reports that circulation of both daily and Sunday newspapers reaches about 83 million.
  • The quality of newspaper readers are hard to beat: they are typically upscale, with about 20% of its readers earning $100K and higher. About 25% of newspaper readers are college graduates and higher, and significant number are employed in professional or managerial positions.
  • The different types of newspaper advertising allows you to target your ad placement.
  • Newspaper advertising has extremely short deadlines that allow ads to be created and placed in a matter of days.
  • Newspapers are passive, non intrusive media. They tend to reach only buyers who are looking for the product. They are poor at reaching prospects before the need arises.

Think about it, there are few times you have been driven to go to a store to buy a product you never heard of because you saw an ad in the paper. You had to have an earlier impression about the product for the newspaper ad to point you to the location to buy it.

Types of Newspaper Advertising

There are 4 ways to use the newspaper for advertising:

Display Advertising

Display advertising from one column wide by 2 inches high to a full two pages, display ads can be so numerous the news stories have to be cut so both can live on the page.

There is usually no protection. Competing store ads can be next to each other (next time you see the paper look for tire store ads on the same page).
>> RELATED: Elements of a Successful Advertising Campaign
When designing your ad, remember it’s all about them. Use a catchy headline and tell them what you will do for the. Forget about your picture or your “Number One in the District Award”. Good advertising “feels their pain”.

Classified advertising

The effectiveness of classified ads varies by paper and by who wrote the ad and by what the ad is selling. Many classified sections have turned into giant car dealer pages and huge homes for sale sections complete with four color pictures.

The small, private, “gotta sell my Bow-Flex” ads can be lost in a giant classified section. Many shoppers and Nickel Savers have smaller, and cheaper, classified sections.

Some small business operators find success with a series of small classified ads. Small blurbs tend to build “top of mind awareness” and is a relatively cheap way to keep your name out there.

Tabs and Special Sections

Tabs, the cash cow for newspapers, are manufactured events designed to sell ads. Progress Edition. Easter Shopping Special. Dollar Days. You name it, there is a tab every idea.

Typically a tab is the regular paper page turned sideways (landscape) and folded in half.

Tabs get ad-on advertising dollars from existing clients and offer one time only exposure to those who don’t normally use the paper (i.e. the giant corporate ads in every Progress Edition). Most papers have so many tabs, they print an advertising calendar.

Understand them for what they are, vehicles to get extra bucks from you. If you want to be in one, rearrange your budget, don’t ad to it.

Inserts and Stuffers

Some Sunday papers weight 4 to 5 pounds each, mostly for the weight of stuffers and inserts. Usually reserved for national advertisers and big box stores. They print them and deliver them to the paper and pay a per piece fee to have them stuffed and delivered. For smaller businesses they become cost prohibitive. Better to stick with display ads.

Sunday papers have the biggest circulation, and ad rates are more expensive. Regional and national papers can be expensive, too. Local papers and shoppers are less expensive, but nonetheless can be a major part of a small business ad budget.

Newspaper advertising is sold by the column inch. Different categories of ads and section placement determine the rate and rates vary throughout the paper. Rates also vary with advertisers, depending on how many column inches they have agreed to buy in a one year period. The more the cheaper.

Plan your advertising well in advance and stick to your budget. Sell to needs, not ego and newspaper can be your buddy.

Recommended Books and eBooks on Newspaper Advertising:


Lyve Alexis Pleshette

Lyve Alexis Pleshette is a writer for She writes on various topics pertaining home businesses, from startup to managing a home-based business. For a step-by-step guide to starting a business, order the downloadable ebook “Checklist for Starting a Small Business” from

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Category: Advertising Strategies

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