While print undoubtedly still delivers engagement in ways that digital simply cannot, the reality is print is now just another medium in a busy, crowed, content-rich world. So print must embrace its new role; rather than being a hub to all other activities as it has previously been, it has to become another spoke in a cog made up of multiple channels, where the customer is now at the centre.
Here, in our final part of our series on the role of print in a digital age five global content marketing experts share their views on why it’s essential that print is integrated into a multi-channel approach.
1. Print and digital are no longer separate mediums:
Keith Sedlak, Executive Vice President, General Manager at Manifest says: “Marketers need to stop thinking about print and digital as separate mediums—they work together. It’s more about where and when people want to consume content, that will dictate the format for which they’re consuming it. Brands now need to consider where people consume media, whether it’s online, on a mobile app, in a retail setting, on a billboard or in print; it’s all about the when, where and how and then the formats the content will take dictate themselves.”
2. Audience preference comes first:
Keith Sedlak says: “It’s about relevance, and not about a world of print vs digital. We have a relevance formula that we use which all depends on the personality of the brand, (ensuring a relatable, authentic voice) the topic you’re using, how adaptive it is, (graduate small bets to big wins) and its presence (creating value around the conversation)—if you touch on those four things your content becomes more relevant and audiences become more engaged. Therefore, understanding where your audiences are going to consume content and in what format, makes you a better, more valuable brand.”
3. A multi-channel approach is cost effective:
Sean King, CEO of Seven and publisher of Sainsbury’s Magazine in the UK says: “If a client asked us to do a magazine on its own, we’d probably say that doesn’t makes sense, because the real cost and value comes in creating the content. If we are spending a significant sum of money on teams and the right editors, writers, photographers, all those just to live on a print platform and not anywhere on digital channels, that’s not the right way to go. We recommend a multichannel approach to all our clients. They might not want all channels, but we want as wide a distribution as we can, on which ever channel is relevant.”
4. Print is no longer the hub of the wheel:
Tony Silber, Vice President from Folio, says: “Print brands have to evolve to be successful. In 1973 Folio was just a print magazine. By the late 1970s it had a really strong trade show. Then it had a directory, which was really big. In the early 2000s, it launched a digital business which had several components; one of which was a twice weekly newsletter, another was a monthly webinar business, plus we created a strong digital advertising business on that website too. We did content marketing with our big advertising partners which was major business for us, not so much anymore. Over the years Folio has acquired a couple of awards programmes which have proven to be very successful. You just have to keep looking for market opportunities. Print is still part of the business, but it’s not the hub of the wheel, it’s just one of the spokes.”
5. A single channel approach places barriers between audiences and resources:
Joe Stella VP, Business Development, GLC—a marketing communication agency, says: “We provide content for many professional and trade associations, and we want that content to be accessible however and whenever it’s convenient for the audience to access it. We would never recommend a single-channel approach to creating and distributing content, because that approach limits access to that information. If you’re a member organisation and your mission is to provide resources to your audience, you’re doing your members a disservice by placing barriers to those resources.”
6. Each channel requires unique and tailored content:
Joe Stella says: “We tailor content to the channel in which it’s appearing, so we’re not repurposing what’s already in the print magazine for the digital or mobile version, but instead enhancing the experience for the audience, so they see value in that particular channel and want to return. For example, when we produce content for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s mobile app, Momentum, we include video content or animation and lots of audio, which is exclusive content for that channel. It’s about giving the audience on each channel something unique. Those who read the magazine may want to read a long-form, in-depth article; while those accessing the app on a mobile device may want to engage in video or audio content.”
7. Print feeds multiple digital channels:
Bree Sposato Editor in Chief of Endless Vacation at Story Worldwide says: “Magazines can anchor a 360-degree content ecosystem—think web, video, live events, product lines—with great success. They can be an excellent entry point to brand discovery, a feeder to multiple digital channels, and the jumping off point for multiple revenue streams. For example, the world of Endless Vacation® magazine encompasses not only the print magazine, but also a robust website, EndlessVacation.com, an award-winning tablet app, and more. All year, Endless Vacation® magazine sends respected writers and photographers to research and shoot articles about vacation spots around the world. A single article can be leveraged for social posts, interactive bonus tablet content, or as complimentary web content. The opportunities are incredibly exciting.”