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  • Your Place: Advertising Knowledge > Advertising Knowledge

    Our Advertising Industry Knowledge to help to improve your knowledge of the advertising industry. Designed for individuals with broad knowledge of the industry and its trends, this covers the following topics: Advertising and Public Relations, Application to Marketplace, Campaign and Media Planning, Online Advertising, Promos, and Specialized Communications.


    • How to Write Print Ads

      Elements of Effective Print Advertising
      Print ads are an effective, affordable advertising medium you'll usually find in magazines and newspapers. If you're an ad agency copywriter, freelance copywriter or small business owner managing your own ad campaign, these elements show you how to write print ads that help you reach customers and get sales:

      1. Headline
      Your headline is the first line of copy your reader is going to see in your print ads. A strong headline will hook the potential customer and compel them to read more about your products and services.

      Sample headlines from print ads:

      How will it move you?
      Print ad for: Wii Fit

      Help Make Bedtime Worry Free
      Print ad for: GoodNites Sleep Pants

      Power is Nothing Without Control
      Print ad for: Pirelli Tires

      It's time to say no to fake food
      Print ad for: Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise

      2. Subhead
      You won't find a subhead in all print ads. A subhead is optional but its purpose is to expand on your headline and draw your reader in even further.

      Sample subheads from print ads:

      Headline: For nine months, you protected him like no one else could.
      Subhead: Now we're here to help.
      Print ad for: Enfamil

      Headline: All New
      Subhead: When was the last time you heard that, and it was actually true?
      Print ad for: The Saturn SKY

      Headline: Feed Their Wonder
      Subhead: Introducing Lunchables Wrapz!
      Print ad for: Lunchables

      Headline: The La-Z-Boy Home Theater Collection.
      Subhead: Because customizing your home theater should also extend to your backside.
      Print ad for: La-Z-Boy

      3. White Space
      Just because you're buying a full-page print ad doesn't mean you have to fill the entire page with text and images. White space is just as important to your print ads as the copy you write.

      White space makes your print ads more visually appealing, which will pull more readers into your ad. If your ad doesn't invite the reader in, they won't ever make it to the end.

      4. Images
      Images are not required in print ads. They can dress up your ad, though, as long as you choose the right image. Any images you use should go hand-in-hand with your copy. They're not just for decorative purposes.

      Photos are best for your print ads but you can also use illustrations if your product is technical and photos wouldn't tell the story as well. You can use multiple images as long as they are important to the ad, such as showing the product's uses. Just don't overload your ad with images for the sake of dressing it up.

      5. Body Copy
      The body of your print ads should be written in a conversational tone. Don't overwrite your ad.

      You have a very limited space to write your copy. Make each word count. Every sentence should explain what it is you're selling and why the customer should choose you.

      Your customer has a problem, such as bad breath, a boring car or a bulging waistline. You're offering the solution in your print ads, such as breath mints, a new sports car or low fat chips.

      Most print ads you'll find in magazines keep the copy brief, unless you're talking about a medical ad that requires legal information on the drug and its side effects to be disclosed. Take a look at a print ad for any prescription drug to see an example.

      Print ad copy doesn't have to be long. You're not writing a book and trying to cram every single copy point about your company into the ad.

      Take a look at print ads in the magazines or newspapers you want to advertise in. Make note of how long the copy is to see what your competition is doing.

      Even if these ads aren't selling what your company does, they are still your competition because you're competing with them for the customer's attention. If your print ads are filled with text from top to bottom and they're placed next to an ad with images and brief copy, your ad is likely to go unread.

      6. Call to Action
      What should the customer do now? If you don't tell them, they'll just put your ad down and move on to something else.

      Tell them to call now, visit your website, receive a discount for ordering before a certain date, get a free trial or offer a gift with their order. You want to make your reader act now as opposed to whenever they get around to it, which is usually never without a solid call to action.

      7. Contact Information
      Do not forget your contact information. Don't just include your website because that is where you want people to go. Put every bit of your contact information in all of your print ads.

      You want to give each customer every possible resource to get in touch with you. Don't just assume everyone will want to visit your website or call you because they saw your number on the print ad.

      Give the customer options so they'll choose to contact you. Right now.

      From Apryl Duncan, former Guide.


    • How to Create Effective Billboard Ads

      The Six Basic Rules of Billboard Advertising

      Billboards surround us. We probably see hundreds of billboard ads every single week, but remember just a handful. With outdoor advertising upping the stakes and becoming increasingly more competitive, it’s important to know how to make your advertising count. Here are six strategies to ensure your billboard has the highest chance of being noticed, and more importantly, remembered.

      1: For Billboards, Six Words or Less is Ideal.

      Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across. You can push this to a few more words depending on their length and ease of reading, but as a rule of thumb, less is more here. Concision is tough, but headlines that are small paragraphs will not get read. And that means, if you have a complex brand, product or service, you should stay away from billboards completely.

      2: Get Noticed, But Don’t Make Your Billboards a Huge Distraction.

      Most of the time, billboards are aimed at drivers, bikers, cyclists or pedestrians (which is why you have just a few seconds to get a message across). This causes an interesting dilemma for the advertiser; you want to get noticed, but you don’t want to be responsible for major, or even minor, accidents. The iconic “Hello Boys” Wonderbra ads were guilty of this. Drivers were so fascinated by Eva Herzigova’s cleavage that they were crashing into poles, medians and even each other. So, while being distracting is paramount in many mediums, it’s a fine balance with the billboard.

      3: This is Not the Time for Direct Response.

      I’ve seen billboards covered in phone numbers and website addresses, knowing without a doubt that 99.9% of the people who actually read the billboard would not have called or logged on. A billboard is a secondary advertising medium, which means that it’s ideal for brand-building and supporting a campaign, but it just cannot do the heavy lifting. If you want a more intimate conversation with your target audience, use print advertising, television, radio, flyers, websites and direct mail. But billboards, they are the wrong medium for anything other than a quick message. However, if your website or phone number IS the headline, and makes sense, then you have an out.

      4: Billboards Should Be Smart, But Not Too Clever.

      A boring billboard will be ignored. A smart billboard will grab the attention and leave a lasting impression. A billboard that’s trying to be too clever, well, it will get lost on the audience. As a rule, you don’t want billboards to make people scratch their heads and wonder what is going on. Complex visual metaphors are no good here. They say advertising should be like a puzzle to solve, it gives the audience a sense of fulfillment to know they figured it out. But billboards should be much simpler than that. Be smart, have fun, but don’t give people puzzles that Einstein would have trouble solving. You’re in the business of advertising, not showing off how clever you are.

      5: The More Billboards, The Better.

      One billboard is not cheap. But it’s also not very effective either. Billboards are a mass market medium, but they need support. So, you want more than one, and you want as many eyes on them as possible. Every billboard has a rating, called Gross Ratings Points (GRP). It’s based on traffic, visibility, location, size and so on. This rating gives you a showing score between 1 and 100. If it’s 50, it means that at least 50% of the population in the area would see one of your boards at least once a day. If you have only one board, your impact chances are obviously less than if you have four or five. You really want a 100 showing, but that’s not going to be cheap. You can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a 50 showing for one month. In a major area like New York, the price shoots up.

      6: Don’t Say It, Show It.

      Get creative with your billboard ideas. A flat billboard is the standard, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. You can go 3D, have moving parts, have people interacting with it and even have your billboard animate. There is no reason that it just has to be a large, simple print ad. This is your opportunity to do something eye-catching and memorable, so go for it. The upside to this is it can create additional press, for free. A recent example of that is this simulated crash billboard that got major coverage from multiple news stations. The price of the 3D board was more than the cost of regular artwork, but it paid for itself many times over with PR impressions.


    • 10 Ways to Run Your Own Advertising Campaign

      Taking on your own advertising campaign is no easy task. You can do it on your own but get ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

      Your Marketing Plan
      Nothing can help you identify your goals more than your marketing plan. You learn a lot about your company, your competitors and your long-term goals by creating and following your marketing plan. This is crucial to knowing what type of advertising is best for you.

      Create a Plan of Action
      Once you have your marketing plan, you must create a plan of action. This model shows you how freelancers and agencies put their own plan of action in place. Your plan of action also gives you crucial info you can use in executing your ad strategy.

      Define Your Advertising Budget
      How you advertise depends on your ad budget. You need to strategically use your advertising money. If you're only allowing a small portion of money to advertising, you wouldn't want to throw it all into the production of one commercial that runs at 2 a.m. Know exactly how much you will spend on your advertising first so you can make wise decisions in the creation and placement of all ad mediums.

      Hunt for Affordable Opportunities
      Running your own ad campaign means you have to be your own media director. You've got to find the best ad placement and the most affordable opportunities to fit into your budget. If you're limited to a very small budget, you can find many ways to bypass high advertising costs.

      Know Your Target Audience
      You can't advertise effectively if you don't hit your target audience. Know who they are before you start creating your ads. If your company sells scooters to seniors, you don't want to invest in cable ads to run on MTV.

      Advertise in Appropriate Mediums
      Of all the different advertising mediums you can use, you have to be able to use these mediums to your benefit. Spending all of your money on a direct mail campaign when your ad dollars would be better spent on print ads is going to limit how many customers you could've gained. Take a look at each medium, think about your target audience, take a look at your marketing plan and your plan of action and decide which medium(s) will be best for your ad dollars.

      Don't Be Afraid to Hire Freelancers
      If you can't turn your advertising over to an agency, still consider hiring a freelance copywriter and/or graphic designer. These professionals know what makes a good advertisement. Many freelancers have worked in advertising agencies so you get the benefit of their expertise. Plus, freelancers can give you professional copy and materials at an affordable cost.

      Consistency is Key
      If you're running TV and radio commercials, print ads and a direct mail campaign, keep them consistent. Use the same announcer and music for your commercials. Print materials should use the same colors and fonts. Use the same tag line. You want to keep everything consistent so your potential customers start identifying your tag line, your colors, your font, your announcer, jingle - everything - that relates to your company's ad campaign.

      Buying space for one radio commercial that airs once at 4:30 in the morning isn't going to get much of a response. You want commercials to have a larger frequency so you can increase your chances of hitting that target audience. If you're running a direct mail campaign, decide the frequency of your materials up front. Once you send your initial materials out, how many times will you send out follow up materials? Know the answers before you begin to help maximize your strategy's success.

      When all else fails and you still run into questions, there are plenty of books you can use to give you guidance. Also be on the lookout for titles that have just been released so you can keep on top of current advertising trends.


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