Print Magazines Preferred Over Digital By Content Marketers


“I like print,” says Yvonne Lyons of Right Source. “I think it’s alive and well. There—I said it.”

Lyons is not, as you might expect, a print industry insider or publishing professional. In fact, Lyons works for a digital marketing consultancy, and yet is unequivocal in her belief that print is an important factor in successful content marketing.

She comes from a newspaper background, and has seen the reality in that industry firsthand. While she recognizes the decline of magazines and newspapers, she believes that print “is still a viable tactic for content marketers.

“In fact,” Lyons continues, “the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2015 study…noted that 32 percent of marketers were using print magazines as one of their content marketing tactics versus 27 percent using digital magazines. CMI itself has a printed magazine that is very successful, CCO.”

With more B2Bs using print magazines than digital ones, it’s clear that the strength of this medium to reach a targeted audience is solid. And while mass market print may be falling out of favor, the medium’s true strength is being shown in its ability to reach highly targeted or niche markets.

“There are certain pieces that just make more sense for print. Would you seek out your college alumni magazine online every month or quarter? Probably not,” says Lyons. “But when it shows up in your mailbox, you read it. Need to reach a high-end demographic over age 65 in very narrow markets? They may be more likely to read print than online media, and might be easier to target via mail.”

Aside from reaching its target more accurately, print offers a credibility factor that digital cannot match.

“CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi says that reactions are much stronger from contributors who are offered features in CMI’s printed CCO magazine, than only on their website,” notes Lyons. There is a cachet about print that lends credibility and clout. Anyone can blog, but getting a piece published in a “real” magazine takes something extra.

For many companies, the decision to market in print means reaching their target audience in a tangible and meaningful way that is not available over the Internet of via email. And there is no “spam” folder in your mailbox.

“There is no Gmail ‘promotions’ tab to hide that email you worked so hard to create for prospects or spam filter for things to get caught in. A print piece that is skillfully designed to stand out from the crowd, and written with attention-grabbing content, will jump out from the other stuff in the mailbox. That can be hard to accomplish with an HTML email,” says Lyons.

Frankly, it’s a relief to read this kind of balanced discussion on the print vs. digital debate. As the furor dies down and digital marketers realize they are not the end all, the value of print continues to make itself obvious.