People, Not Platform, is What Really Matters to Publishers

Rebecca Mock

Rebecca Mock

These industry experts insist that print’s changing role means publishers must put the audience at the center of any strategy.

Print, as we’ve been saying for months now, has a new role in the marketing mix. Many media brands formerly thought of their print content as the hub of their brand. Now, savvy marketers have come to realize that, in a multi-channel environment, the customer is now the hub.

As publishers put the audience first in their content strategy, each channel takes on a different role, including print.

“It’s about relevance, and not about a world of print vs digital,” according to Manifest’s Keith Sedlak. “We have a relevance formula that we use which all depends on the personality of the brand, (ensuring a relatable, authentic voice) the topic you’re using, how adaptive it is, (graduate small bets to big wins) and its presence (creating value around the conversation)—if you touch on those four things your content becomes more relevant and audiences become more engaged,” he continued, as noted in Julie Stott’s article in Content Magazine.

By putting the audience first, your content will adapt across channels to deliver the most appropriate experience in each form.

As Joe Stella notes in the same article, “We tailor content to the channel in which it’s appearing, so we’re not repurposing what’s already in the print magazine for the digital or mobile version, but instead enhancing the experience for the audience, so they see value in that particular channel and want to return.”

“It’s about giving the audience on each channel something unique,” Stella continues. “We would never recommend a single-channel approach to creating and distributing content, because that approach limits access to that information.”

It’s this kind of understanding that spurs digital-first companies to launch print magazines, often looking to that channel as a solid content marketing performer. And it gives traditional print publishers new ways to connect with their audience, like the print catalog that hit the social jackpot last summer.

The truth is, the channels you use must depend on your audience; and the content you put on each channel must be relevant to how they consume there. Your true marketing muscle comes with thoughtful integration of print and digital; that’s where your power lies.

“Magazines can anchor a 360-degree content ecosystem—think web, video, live events, product lines—with great success,” notes Endless Vacation’s Editor Bree Sposato. “They can be an excellent entry point to brand discovery, a feeder to multiple digital channels, and the jumping off point for multiple revenue streams.”

She should know; her team creates a fantastically successful magazine for Endless Vacation’s that is taking brand journalism to the next level of success.

Print has certainly changed, and in many ways for the better. We can no longer take our print readers for granted, just as we can no longer discount the potential of digital conversations. There’s a mix that’s right for every brand.