Using newspapers as a marketing tool has been a long standing, industry recognised method for many years; longer than almost any other media. Though newspapers today are declining in popularity to move interactive forms of media, such as TV and internet, there is still a vast market to be utilized by many companies.

As a little background, there are typically two main styles of newspaper, each with their own demographic; tabloid and broadsheet. Tabloid newspapers are usually those geared towards more social news, and are often sensationalist in their style. Papers such as The Sun and The Daily Mail are tabloids, with a heavy focus on celebrity news, sports, and certain political views. Broadsheets, in the ideal sense, are papers which focus on geopolitical and financial news, and are still very popular among professionals looking for a distilled view of world news. The Guardian, Times, and Telegraph are some examples of broadsheets. Obviously, advertising methods among these two main styles of newspaper differ greatly.

When it comes to newspaper advertising, choosing your target demographic is by far the most important first step. Generally, it’s easier to market a product in a tabloid than in a broadsheet; tabloids are cheaper and read by more people who are interested in new products. This is not always the case, as some products are better geared towards broadsheet readers, such as for services like accountants or lawyers. If your product is intended for a certain audience, it is much easier to decide where to advertise. Using accountants as an example, it would likely be best to advertise in a broadsheet such as the Observer or Times, while an advert in The Sun may not do as well.

When the newspaper will be read is also a massive consideration for any marketer. For instance, say your company is a travel agency, and you have a large supply of available holidays for the upcoming weekends. In this case, your best bet would be to advertise in a newspaper read by commuters, such as the Metro. Tailoring the advert to commuters is quite simple, targeting people travelling to work by enticing them with a cheap, convenient city break which they won’t have to book time off work for. These types of holidays aren’t as effective when advertised on the weekends or in holiday times (such as school half terms for families) as the urgency has gone. This method can be further improved with both market and weather analysis, advertising a warm place on a cold day, or a ‘white-winter’ around the end of the year. It’s critical to tailor your advertisements as best as possible, and any difference can make a world of difference.

There are many different options once you have decided which newspaper and when to advertise in, with the main two being on-page print, or inserts. On-page printing is simple; adverts which take up a page or part of one within the normal columns. Inserts are generally alot more variable, as a marketer can put anything they would like inside a newspaper (with permission). These are always glossy, and range from single A5 sheets to full-blown magazines. Again, it’s important to know your target before deciding; an insert doesn’t work too well within a transport based newspaper, they fall out and go missing very easily.

One word of warning for all of this; beware of market saturation when advertising. Your insert is more than likely to be lost within a sheaf of other inserts, and are often overlooked when there are many. On-page printing however, is much more manageable; people will scroll past on-page adverts, but they will never be lost altogether.

Inserts work best when a newspaper is getting delivered to a residence, as the person will have to physically look through all adverts to see if there’s anything important, such as an offer or desired magazine. Newspaper adverts are relatively cheap, and provide great brand awareness, if not direct sales. One caveat to these types of adverts is that the return is very hard to measure. Internet and telephone sales are easy to monitor, while an increase in foot traffic through a store from an advert can be easily misinterpreted.