How to Advertise a Business

Posted: 11th May 2015

By Sara Charlesworth MA BA Chartered Marketer

Best tips for choosing your advertising

Choosing your advertising medium is no easy thing!

There are various ways of assessing what media might be appropriate for you, for example:

  • Advertising trends and total expenditures for each medium
  • Publication circulation and readership figures
  • Radio listenership figures and consumer profiles
  • Response rates for different media
  • Qualitative data (research) on the effects of different media
  • Your target audience(s) – their profiles and behaviour
  • What is important to your target audience(s)
  • The stage of RADAR you are at (Recognition, arousal, desire, action, reassurance, reminder, reinforcement)
  • Your communications objectives (raise awareness, encourage trial, increase loyalty)
  • Treating the medium as the message

The ‘Useful Contacts’ provides sources of information to help you with the above, but you too can also work out some of these for yourself by being aware of the various local media opportunities and the types of people who ‘consume’ these.

Here are some considerations:

• Magazines are powerful because the readers tend to be passionately interested in the particular subjects reflected in the editorial content. Magazines also tend to be consumed when someone has the most time to sit and ponder.

• Inserts in Magazines are a positively intrusive medium that demand attention and can easily include a response mechanism

• Response rates for door-to-door communication are 3.3% versus 10% for direct mail (although most organisations are happy to achieve a 0.5% and 1% response rate respectively).

• Newspaper response rates are approximately 3.3%

• Regional or local newspapers achieve a higher readership figure than national newspapers

(85% versus 67.7% respectively)

• Radio is a targeted medium and is growing in popularity amongst advertisers

Best tips for free or low-cost advertising

There are myriad advertising and public relations opportunities to help you positively promote your business. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Remember to select the most appropriate medium (communications vehicle) and the appropriate message (your proposition) for the target audience with whom you are wishing to communicate.

Local Events Exhibition Stands, Freshers Fairs, Fashion Shows, Sponsored Events, Village Fetes, Craft Fairs
Local Media Radio Interviews, Local Press and Magazine Editorial and Special Features, Competitions, Press Releases, Letters to the Editor, Direct Marketing, Sales Promotion
Local Community Sponsorship and Fund Raising, School visits/Packs, Local Charities and Organisations, Donations and Gifts, Presentations and talks, Membership benefits
Retailers Designer Stores, Photographers, Wedding shops, Window Opportunities, Product Placements, Supermarket Boards, Shopping Centre Links, Hairdressers, Travel Agents, Florists, Garden Centres
Business Community Chamber of Commerce, Local Company/Employer Schemes, New Housing Developments
Seasonal Opportunities Mothers/Fathers Day, Christmas, Back to School, Film Releases, Skiing Season
Local Networks Business Groups, Chamber of Commerce, BNI, Business Cards, Business Link, HSBC (for sector-specific ideas) and don’t forget WiRE too!!!!!!
Local Directories Yellow Pages, Thomson Local and Business Pages, Trade Directories, Local Websites and Website Links
Piggy Back Marketing Joining forces with any of the above to exploit their local media links (local charities and organisations like Scouts have well established media links that you could ride on the back of)

Best tips for generating local media exposure

Gaining positive local media exposure is a very important part of your local public relations activity. Effective local media exposure can positively inform and educate your target market in a way that matters to them.

There are lots of ways you can generate positive public relations for FREE through your local press (paid for and free), and local/regional radio and television.

Anyone and everyone can do Local PR, just remember that your local media are most interested in the LOCAL angle and that what is happening in their area is either, brand new, the first, the biggest, the best or involves a celebrity or members of the local community.

Remember, journalists can receive up to 500 press releases a day and you have only one chance to make your story stand out!!

So how do you do this?

• Target your media carefully – check that your proposed release is relevant to the publication, its readership and overall style of the magazine.

• Scour your chosen media (local papers and lifestyle magazines) and see what stories are getting coverage. Consider how and why these have succeeded.

• Consider any current news opportunities where you could step in and help?

• Identify any current topical issues that you could exploit (this is less hard-sell than straight contacting).

• Find out the different editors for each newspaper and the different producers/researchers for your local radio stations (eg Health, Fashion etc.).

• Obtain the editorial calendars or forward features of any publications you wish to target.

• Consider the potential opportunities within each section/programme – lifestyle, kids, health, fashion, schools, sports and seasonal opportunities, eg Mothers Day

• Call and introduce yourself. Ask what they are interested in, their preferred method of receiving press releases, their deadlines and whether they would like you to follow up your release with a phone call.

• Better still, offer to visit them or even invite them to your premises to see your business. Personal contact is better than press releases in most cases and means journalists/reporters may be more willing to take your calls in future

• Have a brainstorm with friends and family to generate ideas on possible press features

• Produce a fact-pack of quotes, statistics, photographs etc. that you can refer to quickly if a journalist calls you and wants a story fast

• Remember, journalists are hungry for good stories; helping them by providing the stories they need earns you coverage and more importantly, increased attention for next time!

Best tips for writing a press release

1. Be clear about your PR objectives – remember RADAR (recognition, arousal, desire, action, reinforcement, reminder, reassurance)

2. Make your title a simple, attention grabbing, summary of the key point in the story

3. Personalise your press releases (write an appropriate headline for each publication and include an individual personalised note before you add the body of the release).

4. Then title the body of the release with ‘ P R E S S R E L E A S E ‘

5. Identify the main point in the first paragraph by using What, Who, When and Where. What the story is about, what is new or unique about it, who is involved, where it is taking place and when it is happening!

6. Use simple language to explain some facts and details to flesh out the story

7. Remember that including a picture increases your chances of coverage; it makes your product or service more tangible.

8. Write in the third voice “Pirates to Pixies have created a ……”

9. Try and include a quote from a third party if you can as an endorsement

10. Include generic facts about your product/service (where relevant)

11. Avoid overt self-praise and don’t mention your company name more than twice!

12. If there is any time-sensitive material, issue it under an ‘embargo’

13. Write ‘E N D’ when the release is complete. After this, write any information you wish to include about yourself or your business under “EDITORS NOTES”, including your name and your contact number, so that you can easily be contacted for any further information.

14. Put any supporting/optional background information in an Appendix (within the same document)

15. Don’t use attachments unless they are photographs (be careful here because some editors don’t like email attachments to be sent uninvited).

Best tips for conducting a media interview

Before agreeing to any appearance on radio or television, you must check the following:

  • Is the interview live or recorded?
  • How long will it be on air?
  • Will the interview be heard in isolation or as part of a package?
  • If the interview will be part of a package, what is that package?
  • Will the interview be for local, national or syndicated audiences?
  • What will the first question be?

Then, consider the following:

  • If it is a radio interview and the reporter is coming to you, make sure there is suitable background noise
  • If it is a TV interview, make sure there is action happening behind you over one shoulder
  • Pick out and thoroughly rehearse the two most important points youmust make, irrespective of the questions asked
  • Prepare counter arguments to any likely line and demonstrate that you can understand any opposite points of view, and be competent at being able to turn these back to your two key points
  • Use your normal voice and avoid jargon or specialist words
  • Remember the attention span of viewers is very short so make your answers as interesting and succinct as you can

Useful contacts

Topic & Web Site What the Web Site contains
Useful links to sites for all aspects of advertising (for example a link providing information on advertising in consumer magazines)
Information on BBC radio programmes
Business Link
Self-help guides on PR, advertising, internet marketing, direct mail, exhibitions etc.
Community Information
Opportunities for getting involved in activities within your town. Individual sites list organisations, clubs, societies, charities as well as local services and local businesses. Each town  is different, so if in any doubt, contact your local library for local website addresses.
Direct Marketing
Standards/Codes of Practice for non-broadcast advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing (eg Guide on Successful Business to Business Direct Marketing, for SME’s, with do’s and don’ts of direct marketing activities like e-mailing etc.)
Local information
Facts about your local area
Local Radio
Radio stations and listenership figures of commercial radio, Programme types and information, Case studies, Sponsorship and Promotions Best Practice
Local Press
Regional and Local Press – Readership Figures (AIR) as total numbers within individual locations and as expressed as a percentage of households and population. Plus links to the various free and paid for papers (including supplements)
Royal Mail
Postcode finder and various Business Reports

Your Name ______________________________________

Your Business Name ______________________________________

The Nature of your Business ______________________________________


1. ________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________

3. ________________________________________________________________

4. ________________________________________________________________

5. ________________________________________________________________


Headline _____________________________________________________

Story Idea _____________________________________________________


Headline _____________________________________________________

Story Idea _____________________________________________________


Proforma for a Press Release

Please note: things in brackets are reminders for you!

Dear editors/journalists first name,

(Include here a brief personalised note from yourself)

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

(Your headline – this should be attention grabbing, simply written and must encapsulate what the story is all about)


(First paragraph should include what, who, when, where, why & how)

(Second paragraph should give more flesh around the story)


Editors Notes

(Include here any information you want to say about yourself and your name and contact details)

Tips to on how to advertise a business, including helpful advice on advertising and PR.