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Teaching Tips

We are collecting tips from high school newspaper advisers nationwide on how to run student publications and deal with the issues from administrators, students and parents.

10 easy steps for selling ads

Valerie Kibler
Newspaper Adviser
Harrisonburg (Va.) High School

Step 1. Select an ad sales manager and find a student who is good at designing ads on the computer.

Step 2. Drive around your community and write down the names of all businesses and their locations.

Step 3. Divide your community up into sales zones.

Step 4. Assign staff members to specific sales zones only AFTER you have allowed staff members to match up with businesses where they have personal or family contacts.

Step 5. Set up a table at your back-to-school fee days or back to school night to sell ads and patron ads.

Step 6. Go over how to design an ad in class and what goes into developing an ad that will work to increase profits for the businesses.  They have to understand that you are providing a service that can help them, not just begging for money.

Step 7. Practice how to sell an ad in class.  Set up mock situations and have students practice in front of the class.

Step 8. Set up a competition between students and have a tangible reward.  Update the results in the classroom as ads comes in. Students can travel in pairs, but if they do go together, make sure both names go on the contract.

Step 9. Set up ad sales packets that will make reporters look professional when they enter a business and talk to managers.  Make sure that all reporters have business cards to give to business managers.

Step 10. Sit back and watch the contracts pour into the publications room!

After the contracts are in, what now?

  1. Set up a database so that you can clearly keep track of all accounts.
  2. Turn ads over to designers who will organize by issue and keep all contracts alphabetized in notebook.
  3. Design ads and save in correct folders on the computers.  Place on correct pages in newspaper.
  4. Make sure you have one person designated to keep up with bills.  Document when you bill businesses and change from billed to paid in data base so that businesses are not billed twice incorrectly.
  5. Make a huge deal in class about people who are doing an exceptional job selling ads.  Recognize people who:
    1. bring in new accounts never before seen in the newspaper
    2. sell the largest account
    3. get an account to increase the size of their ad
    4. get an account to change their ad monthly
    5. any other spectacular thing an ad salesman does!