At the beginning of this year, a Campaign article declared that “2017 could be the year of resurgence for magazines”. After years of pessimism surrounding print in general – arguably justified as papers like The Independent have switched to online-only formats – there does seem to be a renewed, tentative optimism that print might just prevail.
But as is the trend in our ever-changing world, it seems to be a case of adapt or survive.
According to the article’s author Sarah Hennessy, engaging audiences through innovation has become an essential requirement for publishers wanting to create a “deeper brand experience”. And in a bid to achieve a service that is more immersive and connected, most – if not all – news outlets are becoming increasingly reliant on online audiences to keep their readership statistics high.
The majority of papers and magazines now have dedicated websites that are kept up-to-date with breaking stories and more traditional features, delivering an of-the-moment service that print editions cannot possibly keep up with. And to further enhance this online presence, a considerable number of these outlets are embracing social platforms – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat – to tell the day’s top stories in more digestible, conversational formats.
So, where does this leave the inky pages of papers and magazines?
Trust and tangibility
In the Information Age, winning the race and being the first to break a story online seems to have become more important than getting the facts right. And, as we’ve explored in previous blogs, worrying click-bait articles, fake news and ‘filter bubbles’ are leaving a lot of people disenchanted with online services. Readers who care about hearing the ‘real story’ are instead seeking the ‘truth’ in its seemingly more reliable, printed form.
Of course, that’s not to say that reputable online news sites cannot be trusted – it’s more a case of taking responsibility for where you look to find the facts. But rightly or wrongly, the rise of fake news has led to a greater distrust in online platforms – and social media newsfeeds in particular.
So it’s perhaps this sense of assurance that we have in traditional media which still makes securing print PR coverage so exciting.
Hitting the headlines
In a piece for The Drum, media commentator Paul Connew expresses a similar feeling when it comes to newspapers, commenting: “There is still something special, sentimental and tactile about flicking through those pages over the muesli and coffee”.
And there is when it comes to clippings too. We can’t quite put our finger on why it’s such a thrill when we receive a copy of a magazine that a client’s contribution has appeared in, or we come across a news story in our morning read of the regional papers – it just is. And even though we have a similar boost when a Google search reveals a client’s story has been used online, it’s just not quite as special as holding that coverage in your hands.
So, even in a world where print media is so much more reliant on its online equivalents and social networking sites to bolster readership and boost credibility – especially amongst millennials – good, old-fashioned newspaper and magazine clippings are still like gold dust when it comes to good public relations.