Print Is Not Dead! How To Make The Ads in a Print Magazine Stand Out Amongst The Crowd | Print Magazine Ads and Making Them Successful | The Editor's Touch

There's nothing like feeling a print magazine in your hands ... turning the pages, wondering what's on the next page ... When I buy a magazine I feel a sense of ownership ... like, I bought it, therefore I will LOOK AT EVERY SINGLE PAGE and nobody's gonna stop me!  That means something!  Are you advertising in a print magazine??  Is it doing a sh*tty job for you?  Maybe that's because you are in the wrong one ... or your ad looks like crap!

image by Alante Photography

image by Alante Photography


  1. If you are a local wedding professional, then ONLY advertise in LOCAL MAGAZINES.  I feel like I need to follow this up with a huge DUH!!!!  If I was planning my wedding the first thing I would do is buy out ALL the local wedding magazines from the city I was getting married.  I did that when I was planning my Oregon wedding in 2007!  It was fun to see stuff *just* in the area I was going to get hitched and it helped me find people to hire!
  2. Buy a full page ad if you can afford it.  When you are flipping through a magazine what makes the most impact???  FULL PAGE ADS.  Yep.  A full page ad (especially in the pages right before the table of contents where most people will be paging through) is a great way to sell your business to a reader.
  3. If you can't afford or don't want to afford a full page ad then make sure you use your space to your advantage!!  If you know your ad will be placed on a page filled with 4-6 other ads then KNOW YOUR COMPANY!  If the magazine will tell you the colors or the other ads on the page you are on then it will tell you what to add to your design.  For instance, if you are a wedding planner and will be next to a dress boutique, maybe don't use an image of a bride because that can be confusing and your ad won't look any different or clearly show off what you do.  Heather, most magazines won't tell an advertiser who the competition on their page is ... well, then let's move on to this:
  4. Sell what YOU DO BEST ... not just a pretty photo.  If you are a photographer, don't use an image of a tablescape on your ad ... use the most amazing, emotionally drawing portrait you've ever taken!  If you are a wedding coordinator then make sure you are using images that show off YOUR EVENTS and definitely make sure you pull images that support the target market you are trying to reach.  Hate barn weddings???  Don't use an image of a barn wedding in your ad.  Heather, I think we could figure that out on our own ... YOU'D BE SURPRISED!!! ... which brings me to #5
  5. Update your ad EVERY TIME!!!  Honestly, I don't know how this gets missed ... when the print magazine(s) you advertise with email you to see if you have any changes to make before they go to print ... SAY YES!!  Please please please say YES.  You do have changes because you want to stay fresh and appealing to the crowd!  If you run the same ad each time then it's going to get stale ... keep it happening!  Keep it flowing!  And if you've had a logo change then you especially need to update that puppy!
  6. Ask questions about your ad before you design it:  Questions like, what side of the fold is my ad on?  Am I against the middle of the magazine or on the outside?  Am I on a left facing or a right facing side?  This is hugely important to your design!  If you are able to choose your placement and you are on a page with lots of ads, try to pick the top right corner of a right facing page ... this is your investment and it's important to KNOW what you are working with.
  7. Share your ad on social media!  Silly???  NO!!!!  If you are investing in a print magazine then don't you want to spread word of it's awesomeness???  The more you share a space that you have put money into the more you are helping that magazine grow.  A quick Instagram post of the magazine open and styled cute with a: make sure you check us out in 'such and such' magazine!!  We're on page 81 ... is a great call to action for your company!  

I was at dinner with a good friend of mine the other night and we paged through a local Seattle magazine.  It was SHOCKING to me the things I was seeing ... the things people felt comfy PAYING FOR ... if your ads don't work then maybe you need to take a look at what you're putting out there!  The ads we saw were sad :(  And just a note to print ad magazine editors or owners:


If you know a company's ad is a piece of sh*t then maybe you should tell them???  If a business owner feels that they get NOTHING out of advertising in your magazine and you look at their ad and want to vomit, then maybe it's your duty to say:  perhaps we should change it up a bit?  Make suggestions ... offer solutions ... they may decide to stick around if they see that you are giving them advice to be successful amongst your pages.

When I design print ads for my clients I think about EVERYTHING ^^ noted above ... for 8 years my job was to make ads successful ... sure, that was online, but ads won't be successful for people who:

  • Don't choose the right images to sell their business.
  • Have an ugly or dated logo or brand.
  • Have a hideous website with dated material on it.
  • Are not nice or personable people when they speak to potential clients.
  • ... I'm sure there's more

Look, an ad is a way to:


An ad gets someone in the door ... after that it's the job of your social media, your website, your emails back and forth, and your phone calls to CLOSE THE DEAL and make them WANT to work with you ... if ads are leading people to your door and sales aren't happening ... well:


XO~ Heather

Heather SharpeComment