3 arguments for the enduring power of print

The feel and even the smell of a book, magazine or newspaper appeal to people’s sensory nature, but that’s not the only reason to court consumers via paper channels. Read on.

Digital innovation is part of nearly every facet of our daily lives.

With the prominence of personal devices such as smartphones, watches and tablets, all the way to the rise of virtual reality technology, the digitization of our world is here to stay.

However, humans are innately tactile creatures. We long for the touch of a loved one, the feeling of warm sun on our skin, even the turn of a page. These basic desires can never be sated by a touchscreen or computer software.

No matter the boundless amount of information available at our fingertips today, most people prefer the feel of a book or magazine over that of an e-reader.

For years, the print industry has seen a steady and drastic decline, but evidence suggests that its importance not only will remain relevant, but that it is making a comeback. More Americans prefer print books over e-readers, and more than 90 percent of adults read paper magazines.

Here are three reasons print media won’t disappear anytime soon:

1. People still enjoy holding things.

No matter how empowering or accessible, an e-book can never replicate the feeling of holding a magazine or book. Nate and Vanessa Quigley, co-founders of Chatbooks, used that knowledge to build a thriving business of photo books printed directly from Instagram feeds.

One night, as Vanessa was putting her seven children to bed, she saw one clutching a few printed photos of his early childhood. A wave of sadness washed over her—her child had no memories to hold physically.

Then she had an epiphany. Nate and Vanessa pivoted their business to print those digital memories and give people something to hold. By incorporating new technologies into a timeless medium, Chatbooks honors the need of humans to physically grasp their memories—building a thriving business in the process.

2. Marketers can use it to cut through digital noise.

Online advertising and content creation have been crucial to audience outreach in recent years. Given the amount of time a person spends on social media in a given day, online marketing is a quick, easy way for an organization to cultivate influence.

However, saturation of ads and content on social media platforms has made it harder to gain that sought-after brand recognition. That often leads to misdirected content and a waste of resources.

Interest in print content marketing has been rekindled. Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that content marketing in magazines is an especially relevant tactic for marketing agencies and businesses. Many companies see great marketing success in print media.

Sourced Media Books specializes in nonfiction books that serve as marketing platforms to sell professional services or other products. Airbnb recently announced the launch of its magazine, which will be distributed to homes using its service.

Print media is still a viable marketing channel despite the overwhelming attention put on online consumption.

3. It provides an additional content delivery avenue.

One would be remiss to think of online and print marketing as mutually exclusive methods to reach an audience. In 2012, Newsweek discontinued its print publication in lieu of an all-online news channel. In 2014, Newsweek returned to the print realm to complement its online service.

Most major consumer magazines have begun running online versions of their publications. Of these major magazines, a huge amount of their revenue comes from print alone. However, they have seen the benefit of running online versions alongside their print issues, generating maximum viewership.

Yes, print is alive and well. It’s sharing the stage with a newer, highly accessible channel for information, but it still has its place in our world.

A version of this post first appeared on the SnappConner blog.

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