How to write an ad

Although not as prominent and cost effective as digital advertising, press ads are still relevant and useful for a lot of businesses. But not everyone knows how to write a really seductive ad. 

​Even if you are not able to afford print (aka press) advertising right now, it’s a very useful business skill to learn how to write an ad. Most print advertising comprises of magazines and newspapers. Most monthly magazines work on a print deadline that is quite the way in advance, so you may not see your ad come out for two months. Bear this in mind if you’re advertising time sensitive information.

Sometimes publications offer last minute discounted advertising if they are unable to fill their pages – you can take advantage of this if you have an advert almost ready to go.

Here are some tips on how to write an ad that is effective:

Writing a statement or question

how to write an ad key

Start with an eye catching statement or questions. Be very direct and get straight to the point, there is no time to be vague or misleading when someone is scanning a publication. For example; Business Name provides cost effective marketing service.

Be very clear about what emotion you are aiming to elicit from your readers. Desire for relief? Hunger? Anger?

If you write an ad that includes a question or leading statement, be sure to include HOW you will SOLVE the question or problem by the end of the ad. Generally, your services or products are the solution but it is best to make it obvious.

Include timeframe

Include a timeframe when writing your ad. Such as “now”, “today”, “this year”. For example, ‘Make your business thrive in less than a month.’

how to write an ad

Call to action

Include a clear call to action. A call to action is a direction given to your readers to make them explicitly do something. For example 

  • ‘book today’
  • ‘contact me now’,
  • ‘buy this product immediately’. 

You press ad’s call to action must point them to your website or to contact you, book an appointment or buy something. It has to instruct a clear and tangible action that they can do straight away. 

how to write an ad copywriting

Ad design

Depending on which publication you are advertising with, they may provide an option of creating the design for you inhouse. This is generally an inexpensive and efficient option and they will already know their specifications of sizes etc. Alternatively, you can hire a graphic designer but you will need to provide them with the specifications (sizes and dimensions, deadline, file format that publication requires etc). The publication will let you know what the specs are. You will also need to provide a designer with the copy (words) that you want in your ad. You can design it yourself but remember that the visual aspect of this ad is incredibly vital. People will be flicking past your ad and you want it to get their eye and convey the information effectively in a matter of microseconds.

how to write an ad for news

Which one sticks out?

Try writing out a few and if you are having trouble deciding which statement or question is more enticing, then write down three options and stick them on your fridge. Over the next three days (any longer and they will become too familiar) notice which one pops out at you the most.

how to write an ad for print

Final tips on writing an ad:


  1. Keep it short and clear.
  2. Include minimal images and depending on the size of the ad, the logo should be the only image.
  3. Include clear contact details (especially your website), phone, email and social media icons
  4. Talk directly to a person, eg ‘Do YOU want to lose weight?’
  5. Keep your branding consistent and recognisable. Which means, including your logo. This is far more important than including a picture of your product or service.

Still having trouble with how to write an ad? Let me get stuck into some advertising copywriting for you.