Who’s in charge—you or your advertiser? Every once in a while, I have to rant. There are magazine publishers out there who still accept ads way past the deadline. And then only after that would they start working on the next issue.

This is one of my BIGGEST ad sales pet peeves: ad deadline extensions that have no real deadline. 

Does this scenario sound a little too familiar? This is a totally crazy way to sell magazine print and online advertising. If advertisers know they can get into an issue at the last possible moment, why would they ever bother with your previously stated deadlines?

When I published monthly magazines, I’d never worry about one particular issue. Why? Because we were looking at building long-term relationships and selling complete advertising programs. Selling issue-to-issue is a recipe for wasting time and energy while never getting ahead. You really do need to “train” your advertisers. If you constantly give in to them and let them control deadlines, prices, and editorial content you’ll never earn their respect.

Here are 4 quick tips for managing your deadlines AND your advertisers:

  1. It’s not a bad thing to say “No” to an advertiser. I’ll say it again: Tell your advertisers “NO!” Ask them how you can help them better meet future deadlines. Show them how running a program vs a one-off ad makes a big difference in their time and money.
  2. Keep your deadlines real. If they value your audience and the effects of advertising, they will come into line pretty quickly.
  3. Don’t worry about losing the few that don’t get their ads in on time. They are probably troublemakers who eat up too much of your org’s time anyway.
  4. Think creatively.  I’ve even seen magazines that actually print the advertiser’s business card, with tongue-in-cheek text that says they’ll do better about being on time in the next issue!

So please stop waffling on ad sales deadlines. All you have to do is stop thinking (and selling) month-to-month to get ahead of the curve. You can’t run a successful magazine business if your advertisers are the ones calling the shots. Now get out there and take charge, Niche Peeps!



More about Carl: Carl Landau is Grand Poobah of Niche Media. In his past life, Carl launched 5 successful niche magazines. He is a media/event guru, SF Giants fan, podcast host and part-time blogger. His 15 minutes of fame took place in the mid-eighties when he launched his famous, “Buy an Ad, Get a Cat” ad campaign. He has long since patched things up with the SPCA.


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