The View From The Tree: 6 Things Digital Natives Should Know About Print
With several prominent web sites launching magazines, Newsweek starting to rise from the ashes, and many titles seeing increased ad pages, 2013 was the year print forgot to die. It was the year our industry seemed to reach consensus that, for many years to come, we will derive much of our profit from putting ink on paper.
But now that it’s clear Gutenberg won’t be leaving the building any time soon, we face a new challenge: ourselves. The “print is dead” mantra has so permeated our brains that in our meetings, conferences, and publications, we’ve stopped talking about how to be successful with dead-tree editions or the implications of the latest print-related developments. I can’t remember the last time I saw an article about cool inserts and other special print options for advertisers or on the best methods for recruiting new print subscribers. And pity the newcomers who thought they would work only in the digital arena but are now being told to sell integrated ad packages or to promote print subscriptions.
So to help those of you who joined our industry in the iPad era, as well as those who’ve been around since before Al Gore invented the internet but need a refresher, here’s a look at some of the unique challenges and opportunities of printed magazines:
Printed Magazines Have Multiple Uses
It’s not just about subscriber and newsstand copies. Some sponsors pay big money to attach their message to magazines distributed at events and to other targeted groups. Distributing to hair salons, waiting rooms, and other public places will boost your brand’s visibility and web traffic—and your circulation. Magazines are a great “leave behind” for salespeople who are pitching to prospective clients, even if they’re only selling digital media.
Printed Magazines Can Be Customized
Magazines are so versatile because they can be customized with stickers, special cover versions, regional and demographic sections, polybagged brochures, and personalized messages. Putting a belly band on every subscriber copy would be expensive and cause problems with postal delivery, but putting a sponsor’s message on 500 belly bands for copies at a conference can be extremely profitable. A cover wrap can remind a reader that her subscription is about to expire. You can send a jewelry insert only to your female subscribers or a luxury auto ad only to the affluent ones.