How to Choose the Perfect Publication for Your Print Advertising

Choosing the perfect publication to advertise in can seem a bit overwhelming. There are hundreds of thousands of magazines available, and each title offers something a little different. It might seem like the only way to reach your desired audience is to advertise in every magazine out there, but that’s not the case. Factors like circulation, budget, editorial content and audience can help you weed through your endless print possibilities.

Before committing to a print advertising campaign, follow a few simple steps to ensure you reach the right audience and find the perfect publication.

Know Your Audience 

Researching a magazine’s audience incredibly important. But there’s something even more important than the magazine’s audience: your audience. Who is your product for? Are you selling for men or women? What age group uses your product? These are things you need to know before creating any sort of print advertising campaign.

target audience

Finding your target audience will help guarantee the right people see your print advertising.

Niche or Nation?

This is sort of a follow-up to finding your audience, but it’s equally important to consider. Before finding a publication, ask yourself: are you selling your product to a niche or a nation? Can your product be used by everyone (i.e., a chocolate bar, t-shirt, etc), or is it something very specific that only a select group of consumers would appreciate (i.e., hair loss cream or prenatal vitamins).

Develop a Budget

Advertising can get expensive, especially if you’re looking for large space advertising in big-name publications. If you don’t have an unlimited advertising budget, it might be time to sit down and think about how much money you’re willing to invest in a campaign. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend will help narrow down which magazines you should consider and which you should avoid. If you want to stretch your budget, consider working with an agency that can offer discounted rates.

Gather Media Kits

Media kits are going to be your best friend throughout this process. Media kits, which can almost always be found on the publisher’s website, contain loads of important information about the magazine like demographics, editorial content and rates. Before settling on a publication, look over its circulation, readership, median age, gender breakdown and median household income. These demographics are all incredibly valuable and will help you make a sound decision.

For example, if you’re selling men’s shoes, you’re probably not going to want to advertise in Vogue, because 86 percent of the readers are women. That audience is likely not interested in men’s shoes. However, Vogue would be a great choice for a women’s fashion line or makeup products. The audience’s median household income (HHI) is also a valuable number to look at. A higher HHI means readers are more likely to splurge on a luxury product. Study all these demographics before starting your print advertising campaign.

Editorial Calendars

As mentioned above, the media kit occasionally contains the magazine’s editorial calendar. This calendar shows the publication’s schedule for the coming year, including the closing dates, issue themes and special features. These issue themes and special features can be a great tool to help you decide on a publication. Look for issue themes and/or features that match your product or company. Readers will be actively looking for your product when they pick up this issue.

Here is an example of an editorial calendar from Men’s Health. So, if your product is something like beard balm, maybe the June 2017 issue with the 13th Annual Grooming Awards would be a great issue for you to run some print advertising. See how that works?


Now that you’ve analyzed your audience and the magazine’s audience, checked out issue themes and developed a budget, it’s time for the final step. That last step is to determine the publication’s credibility. Before booking any space, find out if this magazine is trusted and respected by readers. Do you want your product to be associated with a publication like this? Will readers trust your product if they find your advertisement in this magazine? Is this magazine well-known, or some obscure publication no one has ever heard of? Do a little investigating into what readers are saying about the magazine.

Choosing the perfect publication might seem a little overwhelming, but these steps will hopefully make choosing a little easier. However, if all these steps still seem like too much, give us a call or send us an email, and we’ll happily take care of finding the perfect publication for you!