Value of Paid Print Advertisement
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In theory, publications that publish niche columns and/or articles should be resources for ‘paid for’ consumer advertisement. Nevertheless, when I solicited input from the Industry, no where in the summarized formats, interviewed profiles or surveys did anyone mention ‘paid for’ print advertisement except to say, they either did not participate or had found it to not work-well. So, what is the role of this type of communication in the Green Industry? Industry as well as home and garden publications provide opportunities to participate in ‘paid for’ consumer targeted advertisement. These advertisements assist publishers with covering production costs and provide readers (consumers) access to resources and information. When publishers make the decision to include advertisement, they are making a conscious effort to link their economic well-being to a specific market; rather than, only to subscribers. They are attempting to bring consumers and advertisers together, creating a vested interest that should be beneficial to all. Generally speaking, due to ad revenues, a more in-depth coverage of niche sector topics is enabled. Advertisement from a national perspective is dominated by consumer product awareness. Manufacturers of outdoor living furniture and accessories; tools, yard, lawn and garden products as well as nationally distributed plants compete for brand visibility. At the regional level, advertisement is more specific with the addition of regional shows, festivals and events, plant introduction programs such as ‘Plants that Work’ sponsored by Novalis and interests such as Mid-Atlantic topical books, mail-order nurseries, and a few retail sites which supply content for advertisement space. Then, at the local level, it appears retail sites and installation or maintenance services advertisement enters the mix. Some readers appreciate advertisements because it lets the vendor speak directly to the consumer, without the editorial filtering evident in most reviews and resource articles. On the other hand, most readers view advertisement as a ‘necessary evil’. Still, well-targeted advertisements published in media that sufficiently researches its audience should result in attracting appropriate reader audiences. My colleague, Joyce Davis of Square 1 Creative, LLC, says, “Publications must advertise in order to have content and distribution that attracts the targeted market. As a result, they normally tout the demographics of their readers. Advertisers simply tap into the audience that is already reading the publication for its content, and should tailor their message to speak to this targeted niche. Ads within a publication do not attract readers. It is content (like editorials, articles or photo essays) that attracts readers.” Assuming publishers do adequately research their target market and your niche is a match, the issue becomes creating advertisement formats that attract reader attention. While you would think ‘paid for’ print advertisements consist of a niche logo, colors, slogan and symbols, this is not necessarily true. Effective advertisement is more dependent upon its function. An excellent example is advertisements issued by Novalis for its ‘Plants that Work’ program. Although full-page advertisements contain the word – Novalis, phrase – ‘Plants that Work’ and the program’s web site, it primarily consists of a full-page picture of a plant such as ‘pink double knock out’ roses and information describing the plant and its merits. In other words, it is the plant’s pictorial representation that initially attracts a reader, larger text which explains its merits and finally smaller text identifies the sponsor and contact information. On the other hand, sometimes ‘paid for’ and/or consumer advertisement is simply a matter of establishing goodwill. As a writer, I’ve suggested a particular vendor or Industry personality as a story-line topic and was told, no. Why? The editor says, “Blab Blab does not advertise with our publication.” So, be aware decisions to not support media through ‘paid for’ advertisement can negatively impact overall publicity coverage. At the same time, approach ‘paid for’ advertisement with caution. For, it is the more pricy communication format and can result in little or no impact on consumer awareness. As survey participant Jeff Minnich indicates, “Paid for print advertisement does not appear to work-well for me because my business is service driven.” At what levels of advertisement are you participating? To share comments, ideas or strategies related to this subject or other communication topics, post comment or contact me at Sylvia@TheWrightScoop.com . About the author – Sylvia Hoehns Wright, author of The ABCs of Green Industry Communications: assess, brand & communicate, http://www.lulu.com/content/6083320 , challenges all to ‘grow green their market share’. For assistance or details of Wright’s activities, see www.TheWrightScoop.com or contact her at (804)672-6007.