Getting Noticed

Getting Noticed is the Key to Good Advertising

By Dave Baragrey


Developing long-term relationships between your paper and advertisers has fended off other media for years. Local papers have weathered the arrival of television, radio, yellow pages, direct mail and all types of advertising media by developing strong relationships between their papers and advertising buyers.


We often credited our glowing personality or community involvement as the factor that most influenced this loyalty, but the fact is, if we did not provide results for the advertising expense our relationship soon diminished. That has not changed. We still must provide great results or even our most loyal customers will find a new advertising source (despite our wonderful personality).


The key ingredient in developing advertising readership is to get the ad noticed by your readers. (duh) Following are some tips for creating advertising that gets noticed in your paper and provides great results for your customers:


· Use Color to Attract Attention – My good friend, Charlie Mouser, provided some information in one of his Mouser Report newsletters a few years ago that showed the results of a study conducted by a newspaper in California that proved readers remember color ads much better than black and white ads.


The readers were shown sample copies of a newspaper complete with articles and advertising. In one paper the ads were black and white. In a second sample edition, one of the same ads was printed using spot color. The ad using color was recalled by 64% more readers from the survey than the same ad without color.  If you can improve ad recall by 64% for an advertiser, you will become a hero to your customers.


· Use a Large Illustration – Readers are challenged for their time from many sources. Often when they read your paper they are scanning the pages to see if there is anything of interest for them to read. They typically scan the paper for photos or illustrations that entice their interest. If there is 3 feet of snow on the ground and another foot on its way, I may be interested in a snowblower. Using a large illustration of a snowblower in an advertisement quickly identifies the product offered to your readers and invites people who are interested in a snowblower to read further.


Large illustrations make it easier for the reader to identify what to expect from reading the ad. They want information, but they want to complete reading the paper as quickly as possible. That is why they will scan the paper to see what is of interest to them.


The same is true of using photos with articles. If they see a photo of someone they recognize or something they are interested in, they are more likely to read the article.


· Use a Great Headline – This is the same theory as using a large illustration. You have to catch the reader who is scanning the paper to find something that is interesting to them.


Take a look through a popular magazine (Better Homes & Garden, Readers Digest, etc.) to see how they use headlines in their advertising. The advertising in these magazines is usually expensive and advertisers want to get the best results from the ad space. You will find great ad ideas here.


Most advertising in these magazines will have a headline that is 7 to 14 words. It will probably use the words “you” or “your” within the first 5 words of the headline. The headline will usually offer some benefit to the reader.  You will probably not see non-productive headlines in these magazines (“summer sale”, “it’s snow time again”, “super sale”). They will all have headlines that interest the customer, get them involved (using “you” or “your”) and offer a benefit to reading further. The headline generally will take up 20% of the space in large enough type to capture the attention of the reader who is scanning the magazine.


· Entice Readers with Coupons – Consumers are always interested in saving money. Coupons provide an immediate feeling of saving money on a purchase.


Once the reader puts the paper down he/she is likely to forget some of what they just read. The coupon that is clipped from the paper serves as a reminder to the consumer of the savings offered and where they can save money on their purchase.


Another benefit of coupons is the commitment is already made to buy the product. Once the consumer clips the coupon they have made a commitment to at least stop by and check out the item for sale. We all know this doesn’t always happen, but the paper has done a great job of creating enough interest in the product to make the consumer take out a pair of scissors and cut apart the paper. That is a good start to get the consumer into the store.



Here is a quote to remember:

"If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks."

- Leo Burnett



Dave Baragrey is a business consultant and sales trainer for Publishers-Edge, a Special Section syndicate for print and on-line special sections, and Consulting business specifically designed to help newspapers and shopping guides.

Websites –, www.Coupon-America.NET and


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