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The Rate Card
The Rate Card

Get more readers seeing your ad
Get more readers reading your ad
Get more readers responding

One of the most useful things in a rate card, besides the rates, is the deadlines. At least initially, deadlines are one of the most overwhelming things about selling advertising. There are up to three different deadlines for each issue and product: the proof deadline, the copy deadline, and camera-ready deadline.

The proof deadline would be for any advertiser who wants a proof. The production department needs additional time to create the ad and give it back to you, so that you have time to bring it to the customer, and he can make any changes he needs to make. Then you give the changes back to production, and they make the changes and get it into the newspaper. Proof deadlines are usually a few days before the copy deadline.

The camera-ready deadline would be for agencies who are making up their ad completely and don't need your production department to work on the ad. This deadline is the closest to the actual date of printing. Depending on whether you have your presses in the same building, whether you're a weekly or daily newspaper, and other considerations, this camera ready deadline might be as late as 5pm the night before publication.

Unfortunately, you'll find that some of your advertisers will want to put off preparing their ad for you until the last minute. In fact, don't be surprised if your advertiser agrees to have his ad ready on deadline day at a specific time, but when you stop by to pick it up the advertiser says "Oh, the ad's due today? I better get working on that! Could you come back later?". You've got to be firm with advertisers about deadlines or they'll drive you absolutely nuts. Although we can't recommend it, I've seen the really tough abusers of deadlines only change when eventually an ad doesn't make it into the newspaper in time.

My advice is be firm and be careful. I can't tell you how many times I've seen an ad rep reserve space in the newspaper for a camera-ready ad that shows up 5 hours after deadline. In cases like this, either the press runs without the ad, meaning the newspaper has to print a larger newspaper than necessary, or the press people wait for the ad (if it's a big advertiser), which means the newspaper is printed and on the newsstands late, meaning lost circulation. In either case, a late ad can very easily cost the newspaper lots of money and get you in big trouble. The strange thing is, advertisers will take advantage of you as much as you let them. If they haven't gotten around to finishing their ad at your agreed time and you tell them that's fine and you'll be back later, then they'll continue to abuse your deadlines. Again, if you're firm, they'll usually be more cooperative.

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