Obtaining free advertising in a newspaper or magazine is not a given. These publications depend on advertising revenue to run their business and are not in the habit of giving away limited space. The cost of ad space in magazines and newspapers depends primarily on the reach, or circulation, of the publication. The more people read the publication, the more the ad space is worth.
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Use the classified ads section. Many newspapers allow their readers to post ads in the paper's classified section. This section may not be free for larger publications but in smaller local papers, it is often free, as is the case with the Scarborough Mirror, a small local paper in a Toronto suburb. This means a business will be able to put an advertisement in the paper for free. Classified ads may or may not allow the business to post photos; this depends on the paper. There is usually a word limit as well.
Write a press release. Magazines and newspapers are always looking for content and interesting stories. Write a press release about the business that highlights the unique aspects of it, what is new or an interesting trend. Make sure the release is written in a way that it will be of interest to a publication. For example, an editor may not be interested in a story about another ice cream shop opening, but he may be interested if the ice cream shop allows their clients to create their own flavour or if they are on the verge of selling its 1 millionth cone.
Align the business with a charity or charity event. Doing good always helps a business's reputation, but the business can also get free publicity by sponsoring a charity event. Often, charity events and groups are featured in newspapers and magazines. The sponsors of these type of events are often mentioned.
Do something wacky. It may sound silly, but a publicity stunt usually attracts some media attention. Decorate a public venue, give out free samples or create a spectacle. A publicity stunt is something that appears spontaneously in a public setting. Brainstorm what type of publicity stunt would make sense, then execute it. For example, a bakery can give out free samples or an electronics store may put new TVs in public spaces. Publicity stunts are events designed to capture the interest of the public.
Get the newspaper or magazine to review the business. Some types of businesses may be able to get critics who work for the publication to review them, such as restaurants and bars. Niche businesses may be able to get reviewed, too. There are many magazines and publications that cater to different industries. For example, a dive shop may be able to get a scuba magazine to review it. A tobacco shop owner might ask Cigar Aficionado to take a look at his facility.
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