We all know how the newspaper business has been lately and the decline began years before the Great Recession. They have suffered from a decrease in ad dollars and paid subscriptions all at the same time. Newspapers have slashed staff deeply because of this and devalued their brands to the point that consumers are only willing to read it for free online. Meanwhile, they have watched their classified drift to Craigslist and citizens film and post news on YouTube and they simply have no idea what to do about it.

This does not mean that newspaper ads are no longer effective, but it does mean that you need to be much better and smarter at targeting your audience and knowing where they go for their information. The fact is that the old ways of doing business have disappeared, but there is so much potential ahead for the next generation of digital publications and social networking sites. Until the shift happens, newspaper advertising will be most successful in local community papers that have a long shelf life and loyal following because they are so much more than just a paper, they are a part of the community.

This can mean big savings for you as an advertiser because newspapers both large and small are more willing to negotiate ad rates. The key is to target your specific audience by gender, age, income and education. It should be obvious that if you own a restaurant, then you will want to place your ad in the entertainment section both online and offline.

The frequency of your ad and the exposure of your company or product are the most important part of any advertisement. Often, when people turn to the newspaper, they’re looking for ads because they are interested in purchasing a specific product or service. They may be looking for what’s on sale or specific information on certain brands and may turn to the newspaper before going online. So, a one-time ad placement or insertion will not work over time. Not everyone reads the newspaper or listens to the radio on a regular basis and so advertising is more effective when you run your ads on a frequent and consistent basis.

Choosing one media over another and using it exclusively will never work either. So, it is really important to strategically analyze the type of products you offer and where your customer looks for you. The moral of the story is…negotiate your price so you can stay out in front of your customer consistently, throughout the year, whether online, offline or a mixture of both.

Newspapers aren’t necessarily dead. They must change to offer the journalism and original content that people still want with a online strategic footprint that consumers are willing to pay for! Until someone figures out how to do that, stay with your local community paper and run your ad every week with information on how you can be reached online.