Creating advertisements for neighborhood magazines and local newspapers that actually make the phone ring

I walked into a client’s shop last week and he was holding an actual printed version of a newspaper.  He showed it to me like it was some kind of guilty pleasure. I’ve talked to other people that just love the feel and even the smell of print.  Maybe you’re like that too.  Does your idea of a relaxing morning involve your favorite magazine or newspaper and a good cup of coffee? If it does, then don’t think you’re strange too love print in this digital age.  A recent poll found that 224.6 million people in the US aged 19 and over still read glossy magazines on a regular basis.  Local newspapers are also still a staple for many people in an older demographic. Creative advertising in newspapers and magazines can be very effective.

With that being said, it’s not surprising that many top quality brands are investing in magazine and newspaper advertisements.  After all, magazines and newspapers are great ways to target very specific targeted audiences. I’ve talked to many business owners who have taken out advertisements in local publications and been frustrated with the results.   So, I want to talk about how you might dream up and create a local advertisement that will actually make the phone ring.

First of all, let’s talk about why you might consider using print advertising

Why use local print ads

According to our sources here in our market, a magazine ad in a local glossy magazine with good circulation starts at a few hundred dollars per issue and can go to a couple of thousand dollars.  You can expect to spend more than $1,500 per ad in a trade magazine and a national magazine like you might find in the grocery store with a huge circulation could cost up to $500,000 per advertisement.

Magazine Ad DesignDespite these steep fees, magazines are filled with ads. Both local and national advertisers and marketers know a few facts about print ads:

  1. Various publications target certain markets. For example, some magazines were solely created for golfers, gun owners, crafters, and radio-controlled cars.  Other newspapers and magazines are regional and cover a specific city or even a specific subdivision. (The ad on the slide is targeting a local fitness crowd that might feel guity after eating dessert)
  2. Most readers pay undivided attention to the magazine or newspaper they are reading. Unlike broadcasting or outdoor advertising, you are not trying to reach people while they are multitasking.
  3. Print media offer permanence. Once you have a printed copy, you can keep that as long as you’d like.

So let’s talk about a few factors that make up an eye-catching advertisement

Factors of a Magazine Ad that makes the phone ring

Magazine Ad Design


When you are brainstorming with your creative team, keep these 4 factors in mind: A concise message, a powerful image, proper design elements, and balance.  Let’s unpack those briefly.

  1. Concise message: Write a concise message. Your headline is best if it is around 7 words. Less is more.  Get people interested in a glance because people don’t tend to stop and read through a lot of advertising copy. In this very clever ad for a taster, they displayed all the different settings with the simple phrase “Finally toast exactly how you like it”
  2. Powerful Image: The image you use should be interesting or compelling enough to stop a person from flipping through the pages. It is a hook that grabs a reader and pulls them in.  In this Febreze ad, I can almost smell the onion and they cleverly cut the onion away to suggest the cone-shaped midst that comes out of the bottle eliminates onion odors.
  3. Design elements: You need to connect the headline and the picture to your brand. Design element help to transform clever copy on a picture from a meme to a great advertisement. Adding a bring and some understated text turn this creative picture from a meme into an effective branded advertisement
  4. advertisementBalance: Your advertisement needs to be aesthetically pleasing using proper color theory, fonts, and graphic elements.

Creating an advertisement with these elements helps to move a reader to take action and it ultimately helps to make your phone ring with new prospective clients.