“If I had a nickel for every time someone said print is dead,” said Andrew Davis of Tipping Point Inc., “it would be a really weird way to make money. Plus, it wouldn’t actually amount to all that much.”
And neither does the death of print itself amount to all that much, added Davis, as he showed us a line graph that clarified…well, it clarified how little you’d make at a nickel a complaint, with every one thousand complaints netting a measly fifty dollars.
Plus, there are better ways to channel that end-of-print angst. Mainly, by reinventing print itself.
The explosion of ideas, opinion, content in all its forms, has created a situation where there is much more to be consumed than there is time to consume it all. Rather than competing against a few thousand publications at retail, every page on the Internet is competing against millions of other pages delivering related content.
Of course, we knew all that already. But according to Davis, who spoke last week at the 2012 MPA/PBAA Retail Conference
, that’s where the opportunity exists. Seeded throughout that explosion are nuggets of content that target the current and evolving interests of every publisher’s audience. A close watch of those trends can show a publisher how, when, and what to publish. It can identify the direction of audience attention and, at times, point to the next big thing.
Because once something becomes established online, a savvy publisher will find a use for it in print. Print delivers something that the internet cannot—the attention of the reader for a half hour, an hour, or more. Every advertiser out there wants to leverage the power of attention that print delivers to the benefit of the brand.
Print continues to have prestige as well, earned as a result of the permanence of the medium. Your print magazine is still on your coffee table weeks or even months after you get it. Your digital offerings disappear from view with the click of a mouse.
So think how you can use your digital presence to discover what it is that your readers want. Think how you can use the fleeting, evanescent brushes with your readers online to build the presence of your print publication.
And in the meantime, for Pete’s sake, stop whining about the death of print.