The Transformation of Print
The print-ship has not sailed! Print is simply in the process of reinventing itself and has morphed from ‘ink and paper’ into a multi-dimensional cruise-liner, adding value through additional platforms. Print provides tangible value for advertisers and readers.
“While researching the life of print, I learnt that there are approximately 300 000 published magazine titles across the globe. This alone is testament to the strength and power of print and to the diverse interests that are shaping humanity and society,” explains Jodi Lynn Karpes, owner of GreenQueen Communications. In fact, in 2013, the US news magazine, Newsweek, printed its ‘final’ edition to concentrate on its online platform, only to return to print a year later. Newsweek remains profitable today. “GreenQueen lives in the world of Public Relations where our role is to help shape and build the public image of the well-loved brands we work with and increase their overall positive recognition. We hunt for opportunities to get our clients editorial on all platforms.”
“Print editorial has created an opportunity for ‘native advertising’ (material in an online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser) and if cleverly used, can give clients online presence by dodging the filters used by many web-browsers. But many print offerings will only incorporate editorial coverage to industry that supports them with paid advertising,” shares journalist, Samantha Hartshorne.
A few marketers have expressed that they don’t believe in print: print is dying, they doubt if print competitions improve brand awareness, they question who is truly reading print? Yet, they intuitively long for editorial, as can be seen by the high editorial targets set. This is a conundrum – on one hand, free or earned publicity carries great weight, yet traditional adverts are being questioned. Publishers need the ad spend to be a viable business. The question is – what are marketers doing to support the much-coveted editorial? A possible solution is to use the ad spend more creatively by collaborating with the media to enhance their audience’s overall experience. After all, the media are the gatekeepers to your customer. “With print you discover the unknown, on the internet you uncover what you are looking for”, says Laurice Taitz, publisher of Johannesburg in Your Pocket.
Here are fabulous examples of interactive print ads:
Editorial is indisputably valuable for brands. Media is the ship. To get on board – you must pay your fare. Morrison adds, “Printed publications remain the mothership for all forms of media. Without the original publication, the digital and social media interaction with readers would have no value and are simply drivers to the first, crafted piece of written work that lives on newsprint or in a glossy. I think many readers find digital advertising more invasive because they have to click on the exit ‘x’ or actively scroll past the annoying graphic.”
Print is not dying. It is simply evolving. Being part of the evolution means committing to print with both content and hard cash, remembering that print and its digital counterpart co-exist and are inextricably linked. Use off-line to drive customers online and vice versa.
There is something special and comforting about touching and feeling an actual magazine or newspaper, a welcome break from the intrusive always-on screen. Print and digital serve different purposes and are consumed in different frames of mind.
Print is a five-sensory experience. Print is alive! It is strong, sturdy, and safe – and offers something for everyone. Invest and see your brands evolve. Own the sea!
And Digital is here to stay. So is print. There is plenty of space on this cruise for both. All aboard!