Video killed the radio star … is digital killing print?
By Terri Wiebold
The 1979 pop song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles posed the hypothesis that radio as a musical medium was no longer viable due to the explosion of video in the recording industry. And yet nearly four decades later, I still listen to the radio when I am cleaning my house, driving my car or waiting at the doctor’s office. I do enjoy videos from time to time, but radio is still a staple for me.
It is with that in mind that I tackle the frequently asked question, “Is print media dead?” As the publisher of a monthly community newspaper, the question is a daunting one. Thankfully, the answer is a resounding “most certainly not!” and here’s why:
Chances are you are not sitting at your computer or desk at the moment; you have likely poured yourself a beverage and you have selected a comfortable spot to sit and spend some time “in” your community. You look forward to connecting with the things that are familiar to you without the intrusion of unwanted messaging that you have no control over. This is on your terms. There is something somewhat nostalgic about the lingering smell of the ink on the paper and the feel of the newsprint on your fingertips. No bright harmful lights, no instant messages, no keyboard clicks or pop up solicitations; just you and your newspaper.
This is important because many newspapers, and The Connection is no exception, are funded by advertising dollars. If not for the businesses that advertise in the paper, the newspaper could not be produced. And yet businesses are being inundated with messages that digital marketing is king and that print news is a dying breed. So here it is, my case for why businesses need to invest in print advertising campaigns to stay viable long term and why as readers, you should support the businesses that commit advertising dollars to your community newspaper:
For starters, reaching consumers when they are in that relaxed mental space and they are a captive audience is important for long-term brand recognition. The visual images you present (a logo for example) become associated with the feelings the reader is experiencing while reading the paper – which is likely to be positive. They read a story about the accomplishment of a neighbor who has started a new business or a friend’s child who has won an award, and they feel good. Those feelings automatically translate to the product or service being presented, which often leads to product affinity.
Participating in a reputable publication that is valued and has established trust in the community also builds brand loyalty. When you trust someone or something, you tend to be loyal to them or it. Presenting information in tangible print gives the message accountability and a legitimacy; you have evidence that the offer or promotion exists, and you trust it is not going to disappear from the screen or get lost in some cyber cloud. There’s no virus that is going to attack you for viewing the message, and you are not vulnerable to any “unknowns.”
Newspapers offer an extended value. Much like sharing your favorite book with a friend, they can be passed along to other family members or friends and viewed multiple times. Readers often tell me they keep the paper all month long, referring back to the many resources in it (teen services page, community calendar, etc.) Some keep back issues for future reference or permanent record. This not only becomes a valuable resource for readers, it also provides opportunity for multiple additional exposures for advertisers.
Did you know that all stories in The Connection with the exception of the front cover (which has no advertising on it) start and finish on the same page? As readers, you can engage in a story and know exactly what you’re committing to. For advertisers, this is important because readers stay on the page longer – an average of roughly two minutes, or 120 seconds) and they don’t turn the page, never to return. This gives advertisers longer exposure time to messaging, which is critical in establishing brand recognition.
As a reader, if any of these tenets resonate with you, be sure to take note of the advertisers in this issue (and every issue) and thank them for their participation in The Connection. Also, we invite you to share your thoughts, opinions and experiences with our editorial staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To our business partners, we say thank you for recognizing the value of print advertising and for honoring us with your continued participation!