This section is from the "Studio Light And The Aristo Eagle - A Magazine Of Information For The Profession 1909" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light And The Aristo Eagle - A Magazine Of Information For The Profession 1909.
The average price paid by a general advertiser for space in the standard magazines is a little more than one dollar per page (5 1/4 x 8 type) per thousand circulation. The very high-class magazines like Harper's and Century get rather more than this, but such publications as Argosy, All-Story, etc., where the rate is only 60c to 80c per page per thousand, bring the average down so that we are not far wrong in saying a dollar per page per thousand.
Now, the Knights of Pythias are about to hold a picnic and they sell the advertising privilege in the program to some good fellow out of a job. He pays $50.00 or §100.00, or perhaps §200.00, and starts out with a dummy under his arm. He hits up the banks and the local merchants and perhaps the photographers, and bye and bye goes up against a national advertiser.
The advertising manager doesn't believe the medium is any good anyway, because an ad to be influential should have a responsible publication behind it, but he puts the question:
"What's the price?"
"Why, you pay 8500.00 for a page in Everybody's Magazine."
"Will you accept an order at the same rater"
"Why, what do you mean? Yes."
"Very well. How many copies are you going to print?"
"I'11 take a page at the Everybody's rate - that would be 80 cents."
"But it costs me more than that to print it." replies the solicitor, beginning to back water.
"Certainly it does, but 80c is what it costs me for a page in 800 copies of Everybody's Magazine. You said your rates were low. As a matter of fact, they are 25 times as high as the rates in the average magazine, and in my opinion the advertising is far less valuable per copy."
Likewise you should make comparisons with your newspaper rate when the program solicitor attacks - not a comparison of page for page, because your newspaper page is large and his page is small, but a comparison of space for space. It is evident that the rates are higher in proportion to circulation in the country newspaper than in the big city daily because newspaper making is simply a manufacturing proposition after all, and the newspaper publisher with a hundred thousand circulation can therefore easily undersell the one with only a thousand, but it's the paper with the thousand that interests you if it goes to a thousand people in your neighborhood who might be induced to come to your studio.
On the average you can buy space, if you contract for a reasonably large amount at one time, for about seven cents per column inch per insertion for each thousand of circulation in small papers - much less in large ones. At that rate a double column advertisement, eight inches deep (total 16 inches), would cost you one dollar and twelve cents for a thousand circulation. This space is about equal in size to that offered you as "a page in the program of the Amalgamated Aviators picnic of which one thousand are to be printed (and 600 thrown away) at the very low price of ten dollars."
"But sometimes," you say, "I simply have to go into the program of the church entertainment, the firemen's convention, etc." True. But don't charge that up to advertising; charge it to "good-will" account. But investigate the matter before you go into such things and find out whether you are really paying your money to the church or other commendable charity, or whether you are paying it to the solicitor who has taken over the advertising as a private speculation. On one point you may be sure - he won't volunteer the information.
In my opinion the newspaper should form the backbone of the advertising for every photographer in cities of 25,000 or less, and of the centrally located photographers in cities up to a hundred thousand. In the big cities this doesn't apply. For instance, the photographer on 125th street in New York could not afford to advertise in the metropolitan dailies because probably not more than 3 per cent, of the total circulation would be in his immediate neighborhood. He would have to pay, therefore, for 97 per cent, waste circulation, waste, that is, so far as he is concerned. Above all, newspaper advertising should not be spasmodic. Small space every week in the year in small towns where there are no dailies, and say two to three times a week where there are dailies, is much more effective than a big splurge three or four times a year; but best of all, if your bank account will stand, is the constant small ad and the occasional big one. And change your copy, change your copy, change your copy. Give 'em new stuff every time if you have to sit up nights to do it. The best way is to write up a lot of advertisements when you have the time, so that you won't have to tell the publisher to "run the old ad" when he phones you about it at the last minute. Make the ads short, simple, and as conversational in style as you can. When you get something new tell folks about it in just a plain homely way. Just talk common sense in your ads, and use the same sense in buying space in the papers. Compare rates and circulation, and in comparing circulation make the comparison both as to quality and quantity. Use the same care in preparing your advertisements that you do in making your pictures, use the same care in buying space that you do in buying materials - and keep at it.
There are other methods of advertising that are of unquestionable value to every studio - but in my opinion the newspaper should be the backbone of all local publicity work. Just good, dignfied, common-sense talks about pictures in general and your pictures in particular, without the expectation of immediate and overwhelming results must help in the building up of the business of the studio, provided, of course, that the newspaper advertising is backed up by an attractive show case, an inviting studio, courteous treatment of customers, and above all - good goods.