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After doing your research, you decide that advertising in a specialty, free, local magazine or newspaper is better than other forms of media (billboards, radio, TV, newspapers, etc.).  Now, which one do you choose?  The answer – the one that will give you the best exposure for the dollar!

First, find out how many magazines or newspapers are printed and how often.  Be careful to get the amount printed and not the estimated readership.  Most publications use a three times (3x) the printed amount when quoting their readership.  This is used because it sounds better, plus most publications quote a 3x national average, which could or could not be true.  Some publications may only get one or no reader per publication, and others may get many more.  The amount is usually based on how popular the publication is.  If a reader enjoys the publication, and there is important information about topics of interest, they’ll either save it or pass it onto others to read, who in turn will do the same.

The next thing to consider is how many aren’t picked up before the next edition hits the racks.  Many publications will print large amounts, just to have a large number to quote, but by the time the next edition is distributed, as many as 50%, or more, of them haven’t been picked up.  Publications that monitor locations and adjust their distribution amounts will have a smaller recycle rate.  Even though they may print fewer copies, more people could be reading their publication over their competitors.  

Ask the publication for a listing of locations near you and find out when they distribute to these locations.  Go by a few of the locations a week after they are distributed to see how many are being placed in each of the chosen locations.  Then, after another two weeks, stop by again to see how many of the publications are still on the racks.  This should give you a good idea of the correct recycle rates.  One more thing you should look for.  Are the publications in racks unbound so that it appears time and pride are involved in placement?  Also, if the publication is on a counter or table, rather than in racks, usually means the business locations of distribution themselves like the publication and are willing to give it better exposure.

The last thing you must consider is the demographics and placement of the area of distribution.  Be sure that the publication is in locations that match the demographics you are trying to advertise to.  For example, if you are trying to reach people that are 50 and over, you wouldn’t want to be paying to have magazines placed in a college town bar & grill that caters only to college students.

Rick Priolo is the publisher of Today’s Senior Magazine at, the most read senior publication in their areas of distribution throughout California.  He can be contacted at: