Stop us if you’ve heard something like this before: “Print is dying,” or “Who reads a newspaper/magazine anymore?”
Despite this narrow-minded view of the future of print, this line of thinking has an effect on any business in publishing, whether it’s in the newspaper and magazine business or not. And the well-chronicled trend may have some business owners and marketers squeamish when it comes to investing in print products.
So why invest in custom print publications?
While it is true that the majority of mainstream print publications driven by advertising revenue are trending downward, custom publications offer something different than your traditional newspaper or magazine. Custom publications are the oldest form of the growing content marketing trend, which is expected to be a $300 billion industry by 2019.
And they aren’t driven by advertising revenue — they are funded through sponsoring organizations. The sponsoring organizations provide real, desirable and enticing content through these print publications that helps build expertise and inform the community in the company’s area of business.
Because of this, custom print publications offer some of the best ways to engage readers and consumers.
According to a 2017 study by Readex Research for the Custom Publishing Council, 79 percent of consumers remember receiving the product and 77 percent read through at least a quarter of it. Even more impressive, 33 percent read through most or all of it. And on average, readers spend 43 minutes with the publication.
That means the average reader engages with these pieces. They don’t just skim through it and move on to the next one. In the age of smartphones and quick-hit, click-bait articles, custom publications offer a more engaging way to connect with your audience in a way they remember.
Beyond the true engagement your organization gets with the audience, custom publishing can help and position your company in many different ways, including these:
Building brand authority
Content marketing has been all the buzz in the marketing world in recent years, and for good reason. It’s not salesy — it’s actual information your audience can use.
The history of these publications goes back to the late 1890s, when John Deere launched The Furrow magazine, which is still in existence today. The purpose of that publication was and still is to inform farmers of better ways to be profitable.
You can build your company as a leader in whatever field you serve. According to that same Redex Research survey, 56 percent gave high ratings when asked how useful they found the information in custom publications. Furthermore, 77 percent of readers said these publications gave them a more favorable impression of the company.
The key is to identify your niche and give information you already know. Your audience will appreciate it, and it will help build your brand.
The end goal of any custom publication is to attract engagement from your audience, especially when it gets those readers to do business with your organization.
According to the Redex Research Survey, 74 percent of the people surveyed said they had taken at least one action in the last 12 months because of reading or looking through the publications. Of those, 23 percent made a purchase or donation to the sponsoring organization, and 18 percent recommended the sponsoring organization to others.
As you can see, custom publications do more than help your business indirectly through branding and expertise. They correlate directly to business.
Increasing web traffic
We know it sounds silly to talk about driving more people to your website when talking about a custom publication, but it’s true. While your print product is confined by page and space limits, you can direct readers to your website, where you can push more content or inform them of all the services you offer.
While blatantly promoting products isn’t the goal, these custom publications can entice your audience to further look at your products and services. More than 36 percent of adults said they searched online for information about a product or service they saw in a magazine, according to research by BIGInsight.
Promoting events and companywide efforts
Every company tries to find ways to get the word out for new and exciting developments happening within the organization. Whether it be a new office, expansion, product line, charity outreach or a host of other things, custom publications can offer a channel to push that information and get your audience excited about the work your company does.
Within the confines of not being too salesy, telling your audience about these recent developments can position your organization as an innovative and growing brand. Also, displaying the good your company does for the community, like participating in local charities, can do a lot of good for the perception of your organization.
Custom print publications have a large line of benefits, and they truly do help you achieve your brand needs and your desire to engage an audience. If you have any more questions about how custom publishing can help you and your business, don’t hesitate to contact us.