Edward Dodge – Senior Account Manager at Spreckley
Print is in decline – there can be no doubt about it. While a select few print publications such as The Guardian and The Times are doing well and appear to have all but stemmed their losses (at least for the time being), circulation figures are a fraction of what they were a decade ago. The herd is thinning. The Independent and Independent on Sunday ceased printing back in March of this year, while Bauer Media put the shutters down on lads’ mags FHM and Zoo last November.
Although reports of print’s demise are nothing new, recent figures suggest that this decline is happening much faster than anticipated, leading some to question whether or not print will be around in ten years’ time. But what does this mean for the world of PR?
Some would argue that print carriers a lot more weight and legitimacy than digital forms of media. Businesses and PR professionals alike value the impact of print coverage and there’s something undeniably satisfying about seeing the tangible results of your efforts in good old-fashioned print. But can it really be said today that digital plays second fiddle to print? After all, as the old saying goes, today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish-and-chip paper and if the aim (which it should be) is to give your target audiences as much exposure to your business as possible, then it must be digital that wears the crown.
The digital shift
Now, more and more content is shared online. Publications, organisations and individuals post a plethora of content, meaning businesses may struggle to have their voices heard amongst the crowd and ultimately fail to get their message across. At the same time this very obstacle carries the ability drive a message, as the trending algorithms on social media sites have the potential to deliver a story to the masses –putting it in front of billions of internet users.
The digital era has well and truly been ushered in and in some senses online and digital media enable businesses to better gauge their ROI due to the analytical tools available. This is only increased when combined with social media as companies can get insight into new metrics such as clicks, engagements and shares, which will help organisations understand if their message is resonating.
Both print and online have their merits, and despite print dwindling, a resistance to either medium will leave you cut short. There is a definite legitimacy that’s carried with print coverage, while online has the potential to be driven to a significant audience.
Instead of mourning the fragile print landscape, perhaps we should enjoy the uplift of digital media. It’s clear that online content is continuing to gain traction, especially with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn providing the perfect medium for companies to further promote and amplify their messages. Although it’s a seemingly dark era as publications begin to close their print editions, the digital future is bright.