A guide to print

When it comes to recruitment advertising in print, there are, broadly speaking, three different categories to choose from: national, regional and trade. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and you will need to consider which media will be most effective in reaching your target audience. This will depend on a number of factors, including the role, company and the type of candidate you want.

The so-called demise of national newspapers has been well documented, and doom mongers say that print is dying. But there is evidence that national newspapers are still thriving, especially tabloids. In January 2011, the best-selling papers included The Sun, with a circulation of 3,001,822 and The Daily Mail with 2,136,568, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. More than 6,100 local newspapers are also sold or distributed in the UK every minute.

National newspapers can reach a large and varied demographic and advertising in established and highly regarded publications, such as The Daily Telegraph or The Guardian, can give your company and role credibility. You can also look at the typical profile of a newspaper’s readership to ascertain if they are the type of jobseeker you are hoping to attract. This could be particularly relevant if you are advertising a £100k-plus role. National papers can usually turn ads round pretty quickly so if your advert is ready to go it could be published within 48 hours. Although the advert may run in only one or two issues, readers will probably read it at their leisure and if, for example, it’s for a Sunday newspaper, may well keep it for reference. You should also have the opportunity to post the ad on the newspapers website (see guide to integrated campaigns for more detail.)

Advertising rates vary hugely for national newspapers, usually from a minimum of £30 per single column centimetre (SCC) to around £34,000 for a double-page spread in a major newspaper. Most nationals also have vocational supplements published on specific days of the week, which may be relevant to your market and/or industry, such as The Guardian Media or The Daily Telegraph Business.

If, however, your company prides itself on being a local employer and this is reflected in your workforce, you may want to consider a regional newspaper. There are around 1,200 regional and local newspapers in the UK and 1,600 associated websites. You may live in an area where the local paper is read by most of the business community and it could be a very effective way of reaching jobseekers and promoting your company brand. The rates are considerably lower than national papers. Advertising can start from as little as £14 for one issue and there are usually packages with repeat selections available.

The biggest advantage of advertising in a trade publication is probably the fact that it will be specifically aimed at your target audience. If you are recruiting for a niche role or industry sector or at a senior level, publishing your ad in a magazine specifically geared towards the relevant profession may give you access to some of the best talent. It may also give you an opportunity to promote what benefits you can offer in comparison to your competitors.

There is also a good chance your advert could be featured with newsworthy and relevant copy in a business-to-business (B2B) magazine. Many B2B publications run specific, advertising-led supplements and will charge an additional 10-20% for positioning an advertisement in a specific spot, such as the coveted back page. There are also advertisement features and one-third, half, two-thirds and full page ads.

There are, however, a number of disadvantage in relying solely on the trade press. The lead time – the time it takes to finalise the ad and for the ad to be published – is usually between six and 12 weeks which can slow down the recruitment process considerably. You run the risk of reaching only a relatively narrow margin of jobseekers and may not reach such a diverse and varied candidate pool. You may also have little or no say over what editorial content (especially news) will be published in conjunction with your ad, which could be a risky strategy.

There are always people who say that newspapers will eventually become obsolete but print is still, arguably, a strong contender in the media field. Any regular commuter  on public transport will see that newspapers are still being read by the majority of people on their way to and from work. So print certainly shouldn’t be dismissed as a viable recruitment media.

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