It’s been said that content marketing is the only marketing left.
Think about it. At Freeport Press we generate several posts per week, shared across our blog. We’ve curated articles and added our perspectives. We’ve launched a printed quarterly magazine, The PressReport. We’ve mouthed off a bit, and been named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Media & Publishing. We’ve gotten attention from thousands of followers, subscribers and leads.
Yet we are a manufacturing company … not a media company. The truth is, these days every brand is in publishing now, creating and distributing content designed to build exposure and engage a new audience.
Just as we’ve had to rethink “what” we are in terms of marketing, brands must also rethink where we distribute all that original content we create. We have more choices than ever, and digital certainly plays an important role for most of us.
So what does Joe Pulizzi, the granddaddy of content marketing, say about channel selection?
“In counseling marketers to rethink print’s role in their omnichannel marketing efforts, [Pulizzi] clarifies the stake print has in the consumer buying journey: ‘The Web is where we go to get answers, but print is where we go to ask questions,’” notes this article in BrandUnited.
The article refers to a 2012 post from Pulizzi titled “7 Reasons to Consider Print for Your ‘Non-Traditional’ Content Strategy.” It was a great read then, and way ahead of the curve in understanding the strategic advantage of using print in the new multi-channel customer funnel.
Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that print is a bit of a “hidden gem” for marketers. “Those who use it consider it a critical part of their marketing strategy,” the article continues. “One-third use print to distribute their content, and those who do consider it the most important channel after email and LinkedIn (for B2B) and Facebook (for B2C).”
I expect these kinds of return will only increase, as consumers come to expect (even demand?) a more personalized experience across channels. When data is leveraged to personalize the print experience, the results are more powerful than the same kind of personalized in digital.
“A recent study by research firm InfoTrends found that respondents who received personalized print materials exclusively experienced a response rate of around 6 percent and a conversion rate of over 16 percent,” the article continues. “Compare this to the average 2 percent response rate more generic materials generate, and the power of personalization becomes abundantly clear.
“Nicky Milner, vice president of program management for printer Transcontinental says the company sees returns for a personalized print campaign range from two times to 15 times the rate of return for a static job,” the article continues.
For your own branded content, are you truly embracing all your cross-channel opportunities? The speed and ease of publishing on digital have given an awful lot of us tunnel vision when it comes to channel selection … at a high cost.
“Marketers who use print as part of an omnichannel marketing effort rate its ROI as among the highest of all channels,” the article continues. “Those who personalize print outreach achieve response rates several times higher than that of both traditional print and digital channels. Marketers who do not yet use print alongside digital channels would be well-served in integrating it into their omnichannel efforts.”
That content you create is your marketing lifeblood. Give it every chance to perform. Put some of that good stuff in print.