Advertising A Publication
( Originally Published 1902 )
Daily there travels to this desk various letters, circulars, cards, etc., purporting to advertise various publications. Some of these bits of mail contain a great number of words-some very few wordsóbut in brief the essential information that most of them give is: " Our circulation is constantly increasing, therefore ours is a good advertising medium."
What the exact circulation is, was, or is likely to be is a subject often surrounded by heavy silence and Egyptian darkness. And upon That point is the advertiser most desirous of obtaining information.
There are three things a publisher is most anxious to obtain, viz.: Advertising patronage, circulation and influence. The first naturally follows the latter two. A publication with a limited circulation may have a wide influence by reason of the force of its editorials and other newspaper excellences. Its field may be limited, hence, it has a limited circulation. A publication may have a wide field with a wide influence and circulation, and frequently not get the advertising patronage due it, because advertisers are not made acquainted with its exact circulation and approximate influence.
I have always believed such matters should be made known to the advertiser who, as a rule, is a clear-headed business man, thoroughly familiar with the exact measurements, weights, and numbers of whatever else he buys.
This is a commercial age and a man wants to know what he is giving his good money for, and in every case he wishes a good money's worth.
If the publication has not much of a circulation, boldly tell what that limited circulation is, state what particular field is covered, and how well it is covered. This information will be respected and accordingly appreciated. If it has a big circulation, with a wide influence, say so in every good advertising way and get all the business that should come to it. Newspaper directories are relied upon by advertisers and the American Newspaper Directory in particular.
The argument has been often brought to bear upon the advertiser that " were our paper to state its exact circulation, our rivals would give false and higher figures."
This argument is unsound as truth is contagious, as well as a lie. The publisher standing behind truth can reiterate it again and again with the eloquence of sincerity, and occasionally nail the lie to the other fellow's mast. For lies constantly discomfit liars by coming to the surface. The honest, straightforward publisher need have no fear in occasionally publishing and proving the other fellow's mistatements. Advertisers as well as the community at large will appreciate suet action.
Whether it is the letter, circular, card, copy of paper or the bright advertising manager who solicits advertising for a publication, let the gist of the story be:
Assuming that the publication is sincere in its circulation and influence statements, its next step in bidding for advertising business is to sufficiently familiarize itself with the advertiser's business and render such aid in the preparation of advertising, the giving of good positions and reading notices as will make the use of the paper an object to the advertiser.
Cleverness can be shown by giving an acceptable variety to the story-tactful persistence should be observed in its presentationóa due allowance ought to be made for the advertiser's peculiaritiesóbut one thing is sure if the medium amounts to anything and that is: SUCCESS.
Considering that every advertiser who amounts to anything reads one or more advertising journals, it does seem an exceedingly wise policy to reach his attention by taking space in his advertising paper.
In advertising a publication with a view to obtaining subscribers, the time honored plan of sending out sample copies and offering special rates for three or six months is good. The New York Sun, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Ladies' Home journal advertise extensively in other publications and the plan is a good one.
Prospective subscribers can be secured by good circularizing, and many large papers advertise their features by billboards.
But after all that is said and done on the subject, a sentence will hold all the milk in the cocoanut. So here is the sentence:
Get up a good paper, then let readers and advertisers know it.