Magazines – 7 Terms to Know If You Want to Get a Job Selling Advertising


These seven terms are general ones related to the selling of print advertising space in magazines. Understanding them will help you be prepared and also help you ask the right questions of the publication.

One – Closing Date

While some weekly publications close and go to print very quickly, most monthlies and quarterlies have a closing date well in advance of the "newsstand" or publication date. A typical monthly closes one-month to six weeks before, so in July you are closing your September advertisers.


Two – Paid or Non-Paid

This is when or not the magazine is free to be picked up and read by anyone, or has a newsstand price and / or subscriber price.

Three – Media Kit

This is the primary literature giveaway of an advertising salesperson. It includes general information about the publication, reader demographics, editorial calendars, and rate cards.

Four – Rate Card

This is a page or document which lists the formal, fixed rates for advertising for the various size and color of the ad spaces in the book. Some publications are very strict about staying on rate card, while others discount rate card case by case. Ask what the rate card integrity is at the publication.

Five – Frequency Discount

This is usually a component of the Rate Card, and gives a sliding scale discount for the number of issues the advertiser commits to when they purchase the ad.

Six – Ad Placement

This reflects to where in the magazine the ad is placed, and highly desired spots usually command a premium price. In general, the back cover is the most in-demand, followed by the inside cover. Some advertisers like a specific spot, such as facing the crossword puzzle, or facing a monthly column.

Seven – Ad to Edit Ratio

This reflects to the percentage of the "book" or magazine that is allotted to advertising space and the percentage allotted to editorial content. While a 50/50 ratio is common, there are not any exceptions. Vogue for example, generally runs a 70/30 ratio. Ask what the ad / edit ratio is at the publication. This will tell you the relative importance of the advertising department to the overall health and may also tell you where the power is within the publication.

Use these terms to ask smart questions and really get to know the publication you want to work for – you may find you prefer certain policies and styles as the basis for your product.

An additional thought is that you may use this knowledge if you want to barter your product or service for magazine advertising.

Copyright 2009

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Kimberly Bates


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