“Who says print is dead? Ashleigh received her copy of the 125th anniversary issue of Vogue today. It's 774 pages, about an inch thick and weighs close to five pounds...”
These words came from my friend Jim Swope, Owner and President of Swope Public Relations, in a Facebook post a few nights back. It helped me put a smile on a little article I had been drafting about the importance of print in your content management strategy.
Don’t be too quick to abandon print collateral, a mistake I have seen many small businesses make (especially non-profits) in trying to save precious dollars. When you include content marketing as a critical part of an overall marketing plan, you should consider that your constituency might be of mixed ages. What are their generational communication preferences? That is certainly part of the equation. Joe Pulizzi, author and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, thinks print should be a part of your plan no matter who you are talking to.
In Pulizzi’s article “7 Reasons to Consider Print for Your ‘Non-Traditional’ Content Strategy”, he makes the point that print never died, but “flattened” along with TV and radio as digital media gained popularity. He notes that while some publications are still phasing out their print versions, many are going stronger than ever. Why?
“Just think about that for a second… print is non-traditional marketing,” said Pulizzi. “That’s where we are today. Blogging, social media, web articles… that’s all very traditional. Now, am I saying that brands should be looking at print as an opportunity right now to get and keep attention?”
“Even our own Chief Content Officer magazine has a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace because it’s in print. At a recent event (not ours), three marketing executives came up to me and told me how much they enjoy the magazine and can’t wait until the next one arrives (they didn’t mention our daily digital content… they just mentioned print).”
This is a revealing statement coming from the Content Marketing Institute. Pulizzi goes on to state that print maintains an excitement factor as the printed word is still perceived as more credible than web content. Additionally, print magazines and newsletters were developed for customer retention, a way to nurture customers after the sale. That still works.
‘We’ve seen this firsthand with Chief Content Officer magazine,” said Pulizzi. “Contributors love being featured on the CMI website, but they crave having their article in the printed magazine. It’s amazing how different the perception is of the print versus online channel when it comes to editorial contribution.”
You may not be able to produce a 700-page magazine, but no matter how big or small, something tangible can help give your business a point of difference. And when imagery is important, a computer monitor is absolutely no match for ink on paper. Even the smell and feel add to the appeal of something that will be around far longer than that last Tweet. Creative and relevant content in well-designed newsletters, flyers, catalogs, postcards (postcards can be very effective at a low price) - pieces that can’t go unnoticed in the mail room or when they land on the kitchen counter, still catch the eye.
The thought to take away from all of this is that print has become new again. It has become ‘non-traditional’. But it still does everything it ever has. If used selectively and creatively as a part of your content marketing, it may be more effective than ever… and far from dead.