Three Reasons Why You Should Invest in Print Advertising and Public Relations

Magazines in a RowContrary to popular belief, the Internet hasn’t actually murdered the print industry. New media has simply altered the way society interacts with print. First, I’ll do my best to clarify exactly what “went wrong” in the print industry over the last several years. Second, I’ll explain to you why it is in your best interest, now more than ever, to get your name back in print.

So, what the heck happened? Print media is supported in two ways: advertising dollars and subscriptions. It is a known fact that subscription numbers have decreased across the industry as the Internet has become more accessible. As a direct correlation, advertising revenue decreased (fewer eyeballs = less incentive). However, unlike the typical laws of supply and demand, when the demand (circulation numbers) decreased the price of advertising increased.

The reasoning behind this is logical: to support a publication with fewer advertisers, the rates have to go up. Advertisers began pulling their ads, forcing several publications to shrink, merge, or close their doors. It was a dark time for the print industry. Thousands of jobs across the country were lost. It took time, but eventually the industry made adjustments, lowered rates, and everything evened out. To place a positive spin on this controversy, the majority of publications that survived have proved themselves, both to their advertisers and their readers, to be valuable and well read.

Why should I re-include print and public relations as part of my marketing strategy? There are many great answers to this question, but for the sake of context, I’ll just give you my top three in no particular order.

1. Market Segmentation

Quality impressions are targeted impressions. Consumers who are interested in boats read boating magazines. Consumers who are interested in hunting and fishing read publications about hunting and fishing. Whether they read these publications in print form or on a screen depends on demographics and preferences. But if there is an article about you in a targeted publication, regardless of format, they’re still reading about you. In regard to print advertising, the ball is now in the advertiser’s court. Many publications have become more flexible with their advertising rates and are willing to negotiate.

2. Credibility

Most subscribers have developed a relationship with their favorite magazines and newspapers. They know what to expect from them. They trust them. When a subscriber opens their latest issue and sees an article about your company or your latest print ad they will begin to associate you with their trusted publication. To take this one step further (this nugget applies specifically to advertising), compare an online pop-up or display ad to an ad in your favorite monthly magazine. It is much more difficult to convey trust online; there are viruses, identity thieves, credit card scammers, etc. In short, there are more boundaries between you and your viewer. In print, you don’t have to worry about that. The perception is, if you’re in print, you’re real. You’ve got credibility. People aren’t afraid of print ads.

3. Multi-Channel Recognition

When you do an online search for “[name of something that you sell or a service that you provide]” there are hundreds of sites that show up in your results. You’ll find results from organic search, paid search, and even social networking sites, but which sites can be trusted? One of the best ways to increase your credibility online is through multi-channel marketing to increase top-of-mind awareness.

Frequency and consistency are very important if you want your customers to think of you first. Ever seen a commercial that was really great? Great enough that you tell someone else about it but then halfway through your description you realize that you have no idea what company it was promoting? It’s like that. Seeing one commercial isn’t enough. But if you hear it on the radio, too, and then see it in your favorite magazine or newspaper, all within a relatively short time period — BINGO! When your customer tells their friend about the commercial it’s not going to be, “Have you seen that commercial?” It’s going to be “Have you seen [your business here]’s new commercial?” Now you’ve got people talking about you at the water cooler. That’s a two-for-one impression and that helps to increase your ROI and your bottom line.

Print is powerful. Print should absolutely be part of your multi-channel marketing strategy. (Please also read that as, “You need a multi-channel marketing strategy”). If they’ve read an article about you (online or in print) and have seen your print ad in their favorite magazine, you have the advantage. Radio, television, mobile, social, Web, print, etc. — they all work together — the key is to make them work for you.