Is print dead?

Spoiler alert. No, it’s not. ‘Print is dead’ – is that something you hear all the time now as a blanket statement of fact?  It’s a bit of a silly thing to say, when you think about it. Print will only ever be dead when advertising is dead. And who here thinks that’s going to happen anytime soon?!

Lots of people and lots of businesses thrive off making what they feel are bold, controversial statements – but in many instances, it’s just their way of attracting interest and sparking conversations they hope will lead to business. A marketing strategy, basically. Good on ‘em!

But we prefer to look at things more broadly and explain them in a more balanced way. It’s just our style.

Down but not out

Now, what we can say is that, as a PR agency, we deal with the media multiple times daily. That includes contacts from outlets across all channels including print, online, social media and broadcast. It’s absolutely correct to say that the size and reach of a good number of print outlets has decreased, mainly as their focus has shifted to creating online content. But that’s not a reason to write off this centuries-old medium.

The online versions of newspapers and magazines, as well as standalone news sites and blogs, have a never-ending appetite for content. Most operating on a revolving door timeline in which articles can be there one minute and lost in the sea of new content the next. So, there’s consideration one for you about why print isn’t dead.

Surprisingly, the longevity of a print article is beginning to fight back. Particularly amongst niche audiences. And guess what? As franchisors, that’s where many of your prospects hang out. The trade mag, the enthusiast’s read. That’s where you might need to be.

Media channel effectiveness

The Nielsen 2021 Annual Marketing Report highlighted that in terms of moderate effectiveness by media channel, print ranked 4th at 20.77% beneath social media, email and search. Not bad for a corpse.


Crucially, millennials and Gen Z place much less trust in online media as awareness around fake news, creator authority and fact-checking increases.

And let’s just address that term, Millennials. This isn’t a ‘young’ generation, not fit for business ownership. (Still sounds it though, doesn’t it?) In fact, a millennial is anywhere between the age of 27 and 42. Terrifying.

Anyway, we digress. On trust, due to perceptions and understanding around ownership and control, most viewed editorial content, such as newspaper articles, as one of the most trustworthy sources of information. Food for thought indeed.

Trust in media channels

Then of course, there’s the rebellion to consider (meet us out back)

But in all seriousness, more and more emphasis is being placed, quite rightly, on the importance of unplugging from digital media. Taking digital detoxes for our mental health and stepping away from devices.

Here then, once again, print media begins to come back into its own. There is something comforting and satisfying about its tangible nature – whether it’s the smooth lure of a glossy mag or the ASMR-esque rustle of a newspaper.

Holidays, evenings, weekends – they are all becoming sacred ‘no screen’ havens where hard copies are still welcomed with open arms.

Eggs and baskets

No business should look at itself or its PR and marketing strategy as a cookie cutter or ‘one size fits all’ job, you must make sure you’re looking at the bigger picture.

Instead of asking, is one form of media better or more valuable than other, ask ‘are you reaching your audience in the right places, with the right messaging? Do you have a good mix of coverage, across multiple channels, to ensure your prospects can have multiple touch points you and your brand?’

If the answer is yes, then there really is no difference between the value of print and online media coverage.

So, just in case we haven’t made our opinion clear enough. Print is not dead. Being black and white about it, using the sentiment as a scare tactic or polarising audiences – that’s dead.

We regularly share PR advice and posts like this to help you make the most of your PR activity. To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.  And, if you fancy a chat about this in more detail then get in touch – we absolutely LOVE chatting about this kind of thing. Email or call 07921 572554.

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