Is Print Media Making a Comeback? [Content Marketing Podcast 226]
As the tsumani of electronic messaging reaches epic proportions, more and more people are seeking refuge in print … and smart content marketers are giving it to them.
Welcome to Episode 226 of the Content Marketing Podcast!
If you joined us for last week’s podcast, you’ll recall we looked at a report on the state of email in 2017 and picked up some clues on how to win with today’s complex, sophisticated subscribers. (Need to get caught up?)
Today we’re re-visiting another old friend — print media — and looking at some signs that the tried-and-true printed word just might be making a comeback.
Give today’s episode a listen to hear:
- MarTech Conference is just a couple of weeks away — who wants to join me there?
- How to grab your copy of our complimentary audio and e-book “B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line“
- Our latest News Feed segment:
- Twitter to offer premium video content
- Not to be outdone, Snapchat expands its TV content deals
- Content Hit of the Week: “Creative Work Relies on Failure,” by Josh Ritchie on the HubSpot blog
- Why some of my formerly sad friends in the printing industry now have big smiles on their faces
- How the overwhelming number of electronic messages we’re bombarded with every day is generating a shift in preferences towards print media
- Why people love print … and marketers do, too
- You might be surprised which generations are getting excited about print
- Why a resurgence of print made its way onto Content Marketing Institute’s list of Five Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017
- Tip of the Week: What you need to know about creating content for print publications
Please remember that this podcast is about you — your questions, your frustrations, your hopes and dreams for your content marketing program. So please take a moment to send me your feedback, questions, or comments via email, on our Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Today’s Video Transcript
Content Marketing Podcast 226: Is Print Media Making a Comeback?
May 11, 2017
This is the Content Marketing Podcast, episode number 226: Is Print Media Making a Comeback?
Hello, and welcome to the Content Marketing Podcast. This is the show where we help you grow your tribe and your bottom line through insanely good content. I am your host, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing, and today is May 11th, 2017.
Hello, hello, or as we say in Texas, “howdy,” and thank you for joining us for today’s episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. Just a reminder to my Houston peeps: Martech Houston is just a couple of weeks away I will have the honor of presenting on Podcasting and Video at this wonderful one day conference focused on the latest marketing strategies for small and medium-sized businesses.
I would love to see you there! Spaces are still available, but it’s going to fill up fast; for more information, and to grab your spot, visit bit.ly/MARTECHHOUSTON, and of course if you have any problems with the link, just ping me on Twitter I will be happy to send you to the right place.
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I also invite you to download our complimentary audio and e-book, “B2B Content Marketing: from the Blog to the Bottom Line“. Download today to learn how to drive engagement at each stage of the B2B sales process. To snag your free copy, go to contentmarketinggift.com.
Last week, we shared some insights from the latest research on the state of email in 2017. If you happened to miss that episode, feel free to check it out on iTunes or via the RSS feed.
Today we’re re-visiting another old friend — print media — so if you thought email was old school, we’re going really old school today. We are looking at some signs that the tried-and-true printed word on paper might just be making a comeback. But first, it’s time to check in with our News Feed for this week’s rundown of news you can use.
Some news out of Twitter to kick of today’s news feed: Recently Twitter announced the launch of 16 live-streaming content deals across sports, news and entertainment, which will, according to their blog post, bring hundreds of hours of new premium video content to Twitter.
Their partners include Bloomberg Media, Live Nation, the NBA (National Basketball Association), BuzzFeed News, MLB(major League Baseball) and many others.
According to Social Media Examiner, a Twitter spokesperson has shared that brands will indeed have the opportunity to “buy pre- and mid-roll ads against the new shows and channels through Twitter’s Amplify program, and that the company plans to share ad revenue with the media companies producing the programs”. So pretty exciting news out of Twitter.
Not to be outdone, Snapchat had a similar announcement this week. Snapchat announced that it will be expanding its slate of live and pre-recorded TV content.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., “has deals in place with NBC Universal, A&E, Discovery, ABC, the NFL and is in talks with CBS and Fox , they have also announced a deal with Scripps Network Interactive, which is responsible for the Food Network and HGTV.” So lots and lots and lots of TV coming to a smartphone near you, courtesy of Twitter and Snapchat. Exciting times!
Content Hit of the Week:
Okay our Content Hit of the week is a wonderful post that I came across on a HubSpot blog, it’s written by Josh Ritchie and it’s called “Creative Work Relies on Failure.” I was really drawn to this piece it was a very introspective piece that will resonate with my fellow content creators.
I don’t know of a single creative — myself included — who does not deal with fear on a daily basis. When we create content, we put a little piece of ourselves out there and man, that fear of failure lurks around every corner — and what strikes me is how broad my definition of failure is. It could be the blog post I thought was going to just have people beating down my door, only got a few hits, or got a few visits, or it could be a negative comment on a social media post, or someone disagreeing, or presenting a different perspective — the definition of failure is broad and deep and I know that is the case for many of my fellow creatives, and so many times we give into that fear and slip into risk-avoidance mode. We just play it safe, don’t rock the boat, take the neutral path, etc., etc.
But the point that Josh makes in this post is that failure is a necessary part of the creative process. He then goes on to show us how to reframe that fear of failure so that we can do our best creative work. It’s a wonderful read, and I will of course share the link in the blog post for this episode, which you can find at resonancecontent.com/podcast (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/why-creative-work-relies-on-failure)
That’s it for this week’s update — if you stumble across something you think might be of interest to your fellow content marketers, please tweet it to me at @rachparker so that we can share it in next week’s episode. Now it’s time for this week’s spotlight segment: Is Print Media Making a Comeback?
Last week we spent a little time talking about the state of email marketing in 2017. I was looking through my show notes after I recorded the episode and I came across the part where I talked about how many marketers view email as “old school.” It’s ironic because a tactic that’s even older school (if there is such an adjective) — print media — appears to be making a comeback.
Now we know from our content marketing history, that the first instance or what we usually cite as one of the first instances of content marketing was John Deere’s magazine, The Furrow, which was published first in 1896, and now this tried-and-true medium is seeing a bit of renaissance.
In my personal experience, I know a lot of printers. If you network in the marketing community, you’re going to need a lot of printers, they are wonderful people, they are master networkers and they are everywhere, and they have fallen on hard times for several years. They have been very sad, because so much has transferred to the online world, but now some of them have big smiles on their faces, because some recent trends are actually breathing new life into the print industry.
Now I have to say, I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised. It makes sense if you think about, think about your average day as a consumer of content, think about how many electronic messages you are bombarded with on a daily basis: think about email, think about text messages, think about notifications on your phone, think about websites, social media, podcasts, video. It’s just endless, and I tried to Google and find some estimates of how many electronic messages the average person sees on a daily basis, and I think researchers are afraid to go there, I really do, it’s just, it’s got to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions, the number of electronic messages we see every day.
So we — and I mean not just us marketers, but everyone on the planet — we are in a state of overload when it comes to electronic media and, as any good trend watcher will tell you, when the pendulum reaches its peak going in one direction, what happens? It begins to swing the other way. One way that is happening is in with a growing interest in print media.
So I want to take a few minutes talking about, what advantages print media offers. Why should it interest us? Online is convenient, it’s cheap, it’s instantaneous, people are in tune with it, why should we even consider print? Or what do people seek, these people who are overloaded with electronic messages, what do they seek in print?
The first thing that people see in print is it offers a more sensory experience: when you interact with a beautiful magazine, actual paper magazine, it’s not just an image on the screen, but you can pick it up, you can hold it in your hands. It engages your eyes, your sense of touch, even your sense of smell.
That reminds me of an old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — now yes I’m dating myself here, but hey! Buffy rules and I will not accept any other perspective. Anyway there is an episode of Buffy, where a new teacher at this high school where Buffy attended was coming into digitize the school’s library, and this new teacher is talking to Giles, who is the librarian (and of course Buffy’s watcher if you follow the mythology), and he’s talking about how he hates computers, and she says, “Why do you hate computers so much?” and he says simply, “The smell.” She says, “Well, computers don’t smell.” He says, “Exactly.”
That sensory experience is something that we can’t discount. The experience of picking up a beautiful, a lovely, well put together print piece is a sensory experience that electronic simply cannot match.
The second reason why people are attracted to print is that It’s quiet — and I don’t just mean that the book or the magazine in your hands is not going to talk to you, but think about the average webpage, or like you’re reading a blog post or you’re reading an article, think about how many things are on that page. You’ve got a big banner at the top, you’ve got a menu, you’ve got sidebars, you’ve got stuff at the bottom, stuff at the top, and then the content, just kind of tucked in there — and hey, my website is right along there with them, I’m not pointing any fingers here — but if you think about the average print page, you’re reading this article and there might be a couple of ads on the page, depending on the publication. But compared to electronic it’s, for your brain, it’s a much quieter, calmer experience, and that is why in print we can publish much longer pieces, than we can in electronic, on average, because peoples’ attention is not being constantly pulled in other directions, they are focused, they have got this printed piece in front of them, there aren’t electronic notifications popping up, or text messages, and for the brain it’s a much quieter, much calmer, much more pleasant experience.
The third reason why people are drawn to print — and this is an important point for marketers — it has a lasting physical presence. It is not just something on the screen that as soon as you click away disappears from your cognizance. And I was thinking about my own practice here. I prefer physical books to e-books and one of the reasons, it sounds goofy, but e-books I forget that I have them, I will open my Kindle app and say oh wow! I have got three or four books that I downloaded and completely forgot about. So I love that lasting physical presence of print.
If you go into my kitchen, on the island of my kitchen you will see two things, well you will see a lot of other mess in there too, but you will see two things on the island #1 is my church bulletin, which I pick up every week, and #2 is my copy of this week’s Houston Business Journal, and I will never give up my print subscription to the Houston Business Journal because it has that physical presence. It lives in my kitchen and I read it while I’m waiting for my pasta to boil, or for my oatmeal to finish nuking and I don’t forget that it’s there. And when I interact with it, like I said, I’m not dealing with a million different electronic distractions, and for marketers that physical presence is key because it’s a lot harder to ignore and it’s harder to throw away. You ever think about that, something that is maybe a magazine that you subscribe to or something that you’ve gotten in the mail or your church bulletin — I love my church bulletin. I read it every week. It’s physical, and it lives in the physical world, it’s harder to ignore and then when you go to throw it away, you are like, did I really get everything that I wanted to out of this, do I need to give it another look? Compare that experience to deleting an email. How much easier is that? From my experience at least, I have talked to other people and they feel that much the same way.
Another key point about print media — and studies have borne this out I don’t have any numbers to share with you — but people tend to trust it more. People trust print, and this is especially true for millennials, and I will share some numbers on millennials here in a few minutes, but the thing about millennials, they grew up in an electronic world. They grew up in a world where spam, phishing, identity theft, viruses, malware, etc. those risks are a part of their daily existence, and we’re seeing that people tend to trust print more, because it doesn’t have those perils that are inherent in a lot of electronic messages. So that is why people enjoy print. But I want to talk about the advantages of print for marketers.
- Number one, there is far less competition in the print world than in the electronic world. Again, think about how many thousands of emails, thousands of electronic messages, think about how many millions of blog posts are published on a daily basis, and compare that to the print market. Now yes print costs money. If you’re talking about the same amount of content, publishing it electronically is far cheaper than publishing it on print. You’ve got the graphic design, you’ve got the layout, you’ve got; you need higher quality photography, you’ve got the print, you’ve got the mailing, it’s far more expensive, and not everybody in your space is willing or able to make the investment. So it’s much more of a, what we call the blue water field, rather than the red water where the sharks are feeding constantly. It’s a much quieter field as far as competition goes, because not everybody is willing to go there.
- Another plus for marketers is that targeting has come a long way. Back maybe 20 years ago, you would put a print ad out there and you know you would kind of gauge okay the publication has so many subscribers, so maybe we can count on this many impressions, and we can ask people when they call, how did you hear about us — it was very, very fuzzy. But targeting has come a long way: we can get custom phone numbers, vanity URLs, custom landing pages , through all those methods, we can actually track response to print almost as thoroughly as we track response to digital.
So if you’ve been holding back from print, on grounds that we won’t be able to track it, look into those work contemporary targeting methods, and I think you might be pleasantly surprised.
- So what is the downside of print: It’s the cost, it costs a lot more, as I said a few minutes ago and the content itself is probably going to cost you more, we’re going to talk about that in the ‘Tip of the Week’, so if you are thinking about getting on board with print, you’ve got to make sure that, that budget is in place, but on the upside there are tremendous benefits to be had.
- So next question “Who cares?” who cares about print? Now, you may be thinking that this trend is just driven by old-fogie Baby Boomers or Gen X’s … people who remember the day when print ruled but actually, you’d be wrong. According to a survey among US adults age 16 to 26 by TRU, which is a division of TNS Research Global, they found a strong preference for print over electronic media in several categories. Now 16 to 26 year olds, keep that in mind
- 78% said they preferred print over tablets for reading books
- 71% said they preferred print for magazines, and
- 52% said they preferred print for newspapers
So when you think about millennials, who constantly have their face in front of the screen 24/7. If it’s not the smartphone or the tablet, it’s the laptop, or it’s the iWatch, or what have you, but actually these folks are — not going to call them kids, I promised to stop calling you guys kids, be proud of me. But these people, these men and women have grown up in this online, always connected environment, print actually has a lot of appeal for them, there is that sensory experience, there is that quietness, there is that sense of trust. So when you think about print, keep in mind that it’s not just for your old-fogie boomers and Gen X — and I can say old-fogie because I’m a Gen X myself, so I’m making fun of myself here. It’s a real viable alternative for reaching millennials.
So next question, “How big is the comeback?” Hey, Parker, if we’re going to devote a big chunk of our budget to starting a print publication, whether that is a physical newsletter or a magazine, how big of a field are we talking here? Well I will tell you, we’re going to go to the master on this one.
When Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute published his “Five Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017” when that came out last December, guess what was one of the five trends? Print resurgence. It’s right there; I will share the link with you. As Joe put it, quote, “I expect a number of big brands to launch print magazines in 2017. The targeted, niche publications will complement some online component (but be valuable in and of themselves).”
Find out why Joe Pulizzi calls The Content Marketing Coach “a simple yet effective guide to an approach that most businesses get flat out wrong.” Download your free chapter today.
And this reminded me of my conversation with Joe last year when he came out with his latest book. I asked him “Joe, is print making a comeback?” he said “Yes, but …” He said print media as a business is not as viable as it once was, so if Joe Average decides he’s going to start a magazine that he’s going to offer for subscription, and get advertising for it, he’s going to be facing a huge uphill battle, but print in the context of brand publishing has a bright future, and if you want to listen to that interview, I will share that link in the blog post for this episode, but you can also look it up on my website.
Given an even more contemporary example: Airbnb recently, just in the last few weeks announced that it was partnering with Hearst Media to create a print magazine, called simply Airbnb Mag. So this is going to be a magazine that’s going to appear in Airbnb’s all over the world. It’s going to be travel focused, and it’s going to exist primarily as a print publication.
Also don’t forget the Content Marketing Institute itself has a print publication, it’s called Chief Content Officer it is a free publication, so you can go to http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/— it gives you a free subscription and it’s been around for years. I can remember when I first got into content marketing, one of the first things I did was to subscribe to Chief Content Officer — beautiful magazine, they do a great job with it, and they’ve been doing it for a while. If it didn’t work, “Papa Joe” wouldn’t be doing it, right? So there’s got to be something to that.
So that is my take on the question “Is print media making a comeback?” and the short answer I’ve got to say is “yes!” There are so many trends pointing towards that direction, now it is up to us marketers to say “Okay, how are we going to respond?” And that is the question I leave you to mull this week.
If you have any questions or want to add to the conversation, or if you are killing it with print media, I would love to hear your story, feel free to tweet me at @rachparker, or you can always reach me via the website http://www.resonancecontent.com/
Now it’s time for our Content Marketing Tip of the Week.
Tip of the Week
This conversation about the resurgence of print media has kind of reminded me of some conversations I’ve had with clients and potential clients recently, and indeed I’m getting a lot more inquiries about print newsletters and even “short run” magazines I believe is the term, so it’s a smaller, not hundreds of thousands of subscribers. But people are realizing, and by people I mean marketers are realizing that the pendulum is swinging back towards print media and they are looking at the possibilities. As we said, the cost is going to be your primary consideration, and I want to talk about the content related time and effort and of course costs, to keep in mind if you’re thinking about getting into print media:
- You’re going to need more content: Unlike an online publication, print publications have restrictions in terms of their page counts. Those page counts have to be in multiples of four (4, 8, 12, etc.). So either four pages, which is a simple bi-fold or basic newsletter, or eight pages, or 12 pages, etc. etc. etc. because when the printer prints, these are the flat sheets that have two pages on one side and two pages on the other side, so it’s got to be in multiples of four. So keep in mind you are going to need more content for a print piece than you would for an equivalent electronically.
- Also consider the content needs to be good. I mean really, really, really You can get away with slips in quality in electronic that you could never get away with in print. We talked a bit about how people put more trust in print, and that’s all the more reason to have premium-quality content. And if you’ve been following this podcast you know that quality is a big sticking point of mine. Quality doesn’t just mean everything is spelled right and there are no egregious grammatical errors. We’re talking journalistic quality content. Remember you’re going to be taking that content and you’re going to be laying it out you’re going to be printing it, and you’re going to be mailing it. This is a huge investment, so you have to make sure that, that content is up to speed, that it is journalistic quality content. When you think about the cost, think about the content cost. It’s not going to be a case of just transferring what you’ve got going on electronically to what’s going to happen in a print publication. Think about the quality and think about the quantity of content you’re going to need, and make sure you budget those needs into your plan.
- Yes, producing an impactful print publication does take an investment of time, energy, and yes, money. But if you do it right, you can capitalize on the public’s renewed interest, renewed craving for print and take your audience loyalty to a whole new level.
OK, campers, that’s it for me today — hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Content Marketing Podcast. If you like what you’ve heard today, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play Music or via our RSS feed. And if you REALLY like what you’ve heard, please leave us a quick review on iTunes. I would so appreciate that.
Also, if you want to learn more about content marketing, I recommend you pick up a copy of my book, “The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and Win,” now available in book and Kindle format. To learn more about the book and to download a free chapter visit http://contentmarketingcoachbook.com/
As you know, I always like to leave you with a quote, and today’s comes from American author John Updike. He once said, “The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.”
Again, this is Rachel Parker with Resonance Content Marketing. Thank you again for listening and we will see you again next week. Take care!
Remember to snag your copy of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN! — now available on Amazon!
- Find out how to connect and convert with content marketing.
- Learn to cut through the clutter with intelligent content that resonates with your specific target audience.
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About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!