Purchasing advertising in a newspaper without negotiating placement lets the layout artist or the advertising sales manager put your ad where he feels it belongs. Because those people don’t always have your best interests in mind or understand what you’re trying to accomplish, you should set a few rules for where your ad will run as part of your contract.

Know the Costs

Even if your ad sales rep wants to do a good job for you and gives you what she feels is a prime spot, she might put your ad somewhere that doesn't further your goals. Before you ask for your ad to appear in a specific area of a newspaper, review your contract to determine if there is an extra charge for preferred space. Some contracts give the paper control over where your ad will run, charging you an extra fee for guaranteed placement. An advertising sales rep might include preferred or guaranteed placement in your contract at no extra charge to get your business.

Choose a Right-Hand Page

The eye naturally travels from left to right when viewing a page with text, starting at the top left of the page and moving downward to the right. For this reason, many savvy advertisers ask for what is called right-reading page placement, with the ad placed on the bottom, right-hand side of the right page. Include this placement in your contract and ask if there is a charge for this.

Choose Your Section

Newspapers are often published in sections, such as sports, business, cooking and real estate. While you might think the paper will naturally place you in the section most closely associated with your business, that’s not always the case, so request placement in the section where you want the ad to run. Consider the maker of women’s fitness apparel who wants its ad placed in the parenting section to be seen by young mothers rather than amid other apparel ads in the paper’s health and fitness section. The newspaper would not know this advertiser’s strategy if it wasn't told.

Review Editorial Content

In certain instances, you might want your ad placed in a section other than the one normally associated with your product or service because of the editorial content in that section. This often occurs because a particular article in another section appeals to your target audience. For example, a local financial planning firm might want its ad to run near an article on senior health in the lifestyle section, rather than in the business section, because the firm wants to increase its retirement planning business.

Consider the Fold

Advertising is placed above or below the fold, or on the top or bottom half of the page when the paper is folded. This is similar to a website page, with ads running at the top of the page commanding a higher premium because they are seen immediately and not missed if readers don’t scroll down the page. Discuss with your sales reps whether or not being above or below the fold is better for a certain page or section.

Analyze Days

Some newspapers run sections once a week or cater to a particular audience on a specific day. Some papers lets subscribers purchase two- or three-day subscriptions, for example. And many foodies pore over Wednesday’s paper when supermarkets traditionally use inserts, offer specials or include coupons. Ask your sales rep to tell you what day of the week is best to reach your target audience.