Is There Still Room for Print in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

By Ian Blake on 19 October 2016 at 17:13:23 BST


Print is dead – or so conventional wisdom goes, anyway.

Certainly, as a business model, print publications are kinda flawed. I’m sure you know the arguments: profit margins are getting squeezed, audiences are reluctant to pay for content when they can get it for free online, you need a fair bit of advertising to cover production costs, it creates a strain between advertisers and editorials, yada yada yada. Ultimately, print isn’t dying because people don’t like it as a medium – it’s dying because it’s so hard to make money from.

But you’re not trying to make money directly from your content. You’re creating value for your customers. And that means that the case against print doesn’t necessarily apply to your content marketing strategy.

That’s not to say you should run out and create a B2B print publication for the sake of it. Definitely not. Although you’re not trying to turn a profit from your content, you obviously need to have a handle on your ROI, and print is pricey. If you’re going to commit such a large proportion of your budget to one medium, you have to know it’s the perfect platform for your content.

So when is a print publication the best channel for you? Here are three top examples.

1. Your Audience Has Plenty of “Dead” Time

Okay, so these days just about everyone has a smartphone. But if you work in a job or industry that involves a lot of waiting around, or you spend a lot of your work time travelling, you might not really want to be glued to a teeny tiny screen for hours on end, or you might not fancy using up all of your mobile data when you don’t have to. You might not even be able to use your phone without interruption, or keep it charged.

So who might that work for? Roles that spring to mind might be sales reps, marketing, advertising and video production professionals who travel frequently, clients of yours who provide onsite customer support such as IT services… but then there are less obvious markets, too. Take Uber’s magazine, Momentum, which it creates especially for the drivers it works with. Uber drivers spend a considerable chunk of their time waiting around by themselves in their cars – so what better way to keep them engaged than to provide content in print form?

  • 2. You Want to Create a Little Bit of Luxury

The great thing about a well-produced print publication is the chance to make something sleek, elegant and tactile – something that feels valuable. And when you can produce a branded B2B magazine for roughly the same cost as taking out a full-page ad in an industry glossy, it’s certainly an attractive proposition.

Of course, depending on your industry, a high-end sheen might have a negligible impact on your content strategy – and the quality of the content should always take precedence. But there are some compelling scenarios where it could prove to be a major asset. Do you offer design services? Do you work with blue chip companies with big budgets to play with? Are your clients drawn from aesthetically-conscious sectors like fashion or hospitality? These people care about detail – so give it to them.

  • 3. You’re Aiming for a Seriously Immersive Experience

Blog posts and YouTube videos make a top channel for smaller nuggets of content – but they tend to presume that your clients are busy people with limited time, and work around that. But sometimes, you want to delve deep into a topic. You need your readers’ full attention. You need them to commit to focussing exclusively on what you have to say. And that means the opposite of snackable content: it means creating a physical publication that your customers can get lost in for a couple of hours.

Do you use print as part of your content marketing mix? How does it fit with your wider strategy? Let us know your thoughts. If you’re still struggling with your content in general, have a read through our Content Creation Masterclass below. It’s a free eBook, but you can of course download and print it off if you like!