Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Special Sections

A great resource for targeting demographics
Special sections read more like a magazine, and offer a comprehensive approach to a demographic, rather than trying to target the community at large, like the newspaper.

Special sections are a great way to target demographic groups and provide information and advertisements specifically for niche audience. Your advertisers will probably want to take advantage of the opportunity to advertise right next to information directed to their clients, so special sections are also a really good way to satisfy your advertisers and get them involved. Since this issue focuses on the retired demographic, here are some tips for building a special section for the retired demographic.

First, determine what I going to be the focus of your section. Specifically, for the retired demographic there are a couple different angles to take. You can focus on the financial aspect of being retired, by giving information on how to navigate Social Security, Medicare and other investments. Or you can offer information and advice on how to spend the eight hours a day that would have otherwise been at an office. Whichever direction you choose to go in, you’ll want to provide information for both, just make sure your message is clear.

Based on the type of information you want to provide, start making a list of business types that benefit the retired community the most. If you are taking a financial approach: banks, financial planning and investment firms will be your top advertisers. If you choose to go the lifestyle route, then businesses that are most closely aligned with the focus of each issue should take priority.

We came across a great example of a retired magazine produced by Home Magazine of Mankato, Minn., called Mature Lifestyle. As the name suggests, this publication focuses on lifestyle. In Vol. 2, Issue 1, Mature Lifestyle profiled a retired man named Milt Zernechel and his hobby of carving and painting realistic fishing decoys. The magazine also discussed national parks that are a must see for the retired community and their family alike, and discussed a senior expo that focused on how to make the most of your retired experience.

Mature Lifestyle is chock-full of advertisements ranging from local banks to hair salons. Most of the ads offered discounts if the ad was brought in or gave information to seniors on why their business was positive for the retired community.


You can easily create a special section using the same structure as this niche magazine. You can either ask your in-house editorial staff or local community members to contribute articles (They will love seeing their name in print), asking them to focus on the issues of being retired. They can either talk about their own experience, the process that someone they know went through or facts and statistics. Do your best to have a balance of opinion and factual articles, because too much of either will make your section less interesting.

Find Advertisers

As we mentioned before, advertisers, especially retail, may be more interested in advertising in a special section, because their ads will be very close to the content that their target is reading. Special sections read more like a magazine, and offer a comprehensive approach to a demographic, rather than trying to target the community at large, like the newspaper. Let your advertisers know that this section will also be online, making it more accessible to those who may not have a newspaper subscription.


The design of your special section is very important, and you can often have a little bit more fun with it than you do with your newspaper. The goal here is to appeal to the demographic that you are targeting in the section. If you decide to create a retired special section, discuss with an in-house designer about a color palate and template that you can use throughout the publication. This allows you to have a custom and consistent design, without needing much additional design work. Make sure you think about the colors and design that best suit your demographic. For the retired community, use neutrals with pops of soft or muted colors for a clean, crisp and calming effect.

Although you may want to create this product just for your online audience, it is a good idea to have a printed version as well. You can distribute the print version to local business that serve the demographic you target, thereby increasing the amount of people who see it, and ultimately use it.

It is a good idea to start creating special sections, if you don’t already. Although with crunched budgets you may fell that introducing another product for a limited audience is just throwing money away, you may find that persons from the targeted demographic are appreciative of the specific information you provide for them. Special sections that are full of great content and well designed, might just be the cash cow you’ve been looking for.