Are Print Clips More Valuable Than Digital?

[responsive]printclips[/responsive]As more companies embrace a multi-channel marketing approach, should digital coverage be considered as valuable as print? After all, space is space, right?

Not really, according to many marketing pros quoted in this piece by Apple Lam in Marketing Interactive.

“Print clips have had a long history of being valued more highly than digital clips in PR,” Lam writes.  “While print clips could easily be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars, it is much harder for digital clips to hit the same dollar values.”

Part of that value stems from the continued credibility of print over digital.

“Digital clips have not yet fully shaken off the stigma first associated with online journalism a decade ago – amateurism and a lack of professionalism,” said Amy Wendholt of APCO Worldwide.

Lam notes that the way the industry is measuring value has been forced to change, and marketers can no longer assume that a piece of editorial coverage has the same value as a similarly sized ad. As with any type of marketing, the value is dependent not just on placement but on message and context.

“The days of measuring PR coverage by comparing the value of an equivalent-sized ad should be long gone. This model is completely flawed; it measures output rather than outcomes and does not take into account the article’s tonality or the message it might convey,” agreed Rachel Catanach of FleishmanHillard.

Digital strategists are quick to point out the longevity and searchability of a digital clip, although proper targeting is always a challenge.

“Digital facilitates the ability to be incredibly targeted or reach a huge audience, depending on the objective, because of its fluidity and flexibility. A successful digital campaign can truly create social movements – look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” said Jane Morgan of Edelman.

As with any marketing strategy, what to strive for comes down to the return you seek.

“I don’t think it’s an either-or situation as both are important. Online tends to be the convenient and instant source of information. But given the reliability of news sources in print, I think many readers still look to publications for thorough insights. Print and digital are best utilised in tandem, and we can’t do without either,” said Shih-Huei.