By Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)
The emergence of a vast array of digital channels has made printed newspapers stronger. While many newspapers have lost market share, been bought out, merged into chains of newspapers, or have gone out of business, others have been reborn, rebranded, reinvented themselves, or have started up as new ventures, product line extensions, or resurfaced with new owners.
Many small business owners reach customers and prospects via online channels such as social media, and use more traditional channels such as newsletters or direct mail. Community newspapers are all supported by local advertisers, mostly small businesses, who have determined that there is a competitive rate of return on their ad spend with printed media.
Using a combination of print and digital channels helps to move inventory for a higher price and with less time on the market. Advertisers evaluate their success on the basis of a variety of factors, which can be traced back to the specific medium used to generate responses, including an increase in sales volume, leads generated, the direct response by email, phone or filling out a form online, store traffic, and some more intangible effects such as brand loyalty, brand recognition, reputation management, and loss prevention.
Here are some benefits of ad budgets with a combination of print and digital media channels:
1- Connect With Consumers On Their Terms: Reach your target audiences wherever they may be, at just the right time and in just the right place.
2- Earn Trust: Printed newspapers offer the most trusted form of advertising. You can drive readers of newspapers, and their friends and family members, who they share news with, to your online assets where they can engage and interact with you directly. For those who read both in print and online, you can get reinforcement of your message by having it appear in more than one place or multiple places.
3- More Metrics For Deeper Analysis: When you use an integrated marketing approach, you have more methods of analyzing what is working and what isn’t, to help you refine your plan. Some like to include unique identifying information in each form of outreach, for a more detailed and comprehensive analysis. For example, you can try using trackable links or unique landing pages, special offers, and unique email addresses, or phone numbers.
4- Extend Your Reach: Millennials tend to spend more time online than Boomers, who tend to prefer printed newspapers, and the two groups are not mutually exclusive, as they share information with each other. By using a combination of channels, you have a much better chance of reaching a larger audience.
By covering newspapers in print, you get more of an online presence as well, because most newspapers offer an online version of the printed publication, including a pdf, which is an exact replica. Newspapers have social media channels for easy sharing. You can capture audiences in print to help build a following on your social and digital channels.
The printed word will always command a higher ad rate than online advertising, for the equivalent amount of space, due to the likelihood that it will be seen. Visibility of information in a printed newspaper is generally higher because it is more likely to get read cover to cover in a short time than some sites which have many more pages, which can be added at little or no cost, whereas print is limited by the cost to print and mail. Some sites of newspapers have thousands of pages per day, offering news from a variety of external sources.
Print is not dead. It is a highly valuable segment of any marketing portfolio that will continue to evolve, redesign, innovate and prosper. There are thousands of community newspapers that are saturation mailers, offering the opportunity for reaching everyone in a given community. Small towns are the backbone of our civilization, with tightly knit communities that share information, found in newspapers, with their niche groups.