Your newspaper advertising has a zero percent chance of succeeding if your prospect doesn’t notice it. Attention is everything in newspaper advertising. You need visual impact , white space, a distinctive border, font, angles, or whatever it takes to stand out on the page. You newspaper advertising must be distinctive, unusual, and it should contrast with the other ads on the page. Be different.
The number one issue in laying out an ad in a newspaper is to make it eye-catching. Because several ads are typically placed on one page, each ad needs to be distinct and stand out. Consider this: When you flip through a publication like a newspaper, you will at least stop and glance at the pictures if you do not read the articles. If the picture looks interesting, you will read the headline. If that looks interesting, you’ll go on to read the rest of the story.
Artwork should be the main element. If you look at ads generated by national ad companies, the artwork occupies well over 50 percent of the ad space, sometimes as much as 100 percent of the ad as the text is embedded in the picture. Text occupies 20 percent or less of the available ad space. The best ads have the art occupy 70 percent or more of the space and the text 20 percent or less.
When building ads for a local newspaper, it’s best, if at all possible, to use pictures of local people in the ad. Local people mean local news. By getting local people in the ad, you are making a connection between the advertiser and the community. Readers will see the picture of someone they may know and will stop to find out what the person is doing. The picture should be interesting – not just a mug shot. Get a picture of the car bodyshop owner and a customer talking or examininga completed repair. This puts the customer in the paper, which shows the business is interested in serving its customers. By getting product in the picture as well, the ad will show what kind of business is being advertised.
It’s unfortunate but true that a surprising percentage of weekly newspaper subscribers are illiterate. Truly. Text does them no good. But they can and do look at the pictures to see what their friends, family and neighbors are up to. By including product in the picture, you are helping the illiterate readers understand what is being advertised.
The picture should be at the top or high up in the ad. Take a tip from the news side of newspapers. Pictures almost always go at the top of the story. It’s because the picture draws the reader into the story and we are conditioned from long habit to read a newspaper page from the top down.
The picture should reach horizontally from border to border or very close to that.
White space, as defined as open areas with nothing there can be good and can be an art element but most advertisers will look at this as wasted space. White space is not the space between letters or the leading between lines, unless the spacing is taken to extreme. White space can be wasted space, but doesn’t have to be. Except in rare cases, the white space should not be more than 15 percent of the ad. The rare cases where white space is the art element, the space should be at least 80 percent of the ad. A full page with two short lines of copy in the bottom half or middle of the page is one of the most effective ads you can get. It demands your attention.