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Cutting Costs for Your Business's Print Ads

Most print media list the costs for assorted print ad sizes on rate cards. But to calculate the cost of your business's intended print ads, don't rely only on this rate card. It's nothing more than a starting point in the media-negotiation and -buying process. Newspapers, especially, have created many permutations of their basic (or open) rates.

Newspapers and other publications generally price print ads by multiplying the number of columns wide, by the number of inches high, by a dollar amount for each column inch. For example, a quarter-page ad in most newspapers is 3 columns wide by 11 inches high, which makes it a 33-column-inch ad. So if the open rate for your local paper is $50 per column inch, you have an ad that can cost you $1,650 for one insertion.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it’s not always that simple. Here are just a few of the seemingly infinite variations on that simple pricing structure that can help you save money:

  • If you’re willing to commit to running your ad multiple times over a certain time period, you can reduce the open rate by as much as 50 percent.

  • Newspapers and other publications often give discounts for new businesses, minority-owned businesses, first-time advertisers, and so on.

  • If you’re willing to commit to three ads per week over an extended time period, you can dramatically reduce your rate per ad.

Usually, newspapers offer what they call pickup rates. A pickup rate is a discounted rate newspapers give in return for running the same ad two or more times in the same week. And the discounts apply to all ads you run.

The discounts definitely have a way of adding up, so be sure to look into them!

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