The enduring influence of traditional media
No one can dispute that traditional media have taken many blows in recent years – papers have come and gone, the most recent one lasting only a few weeks, and the industry has been subjected to the glare of ethical scrutiny that many would not have weathered. Yet, against all odds, traditional media – papers, magazines, radio, TV – still exist and, in some cases, continue to thrive. Granted they have had to evolve and develop new offerings to match the demands of their consumers, but while they now have dynamic and interactive digital channels, in many cases their original formats still exist and we can still enjoy the colour and gloss of celebrity pages in the doctor’s waiting room.
Readership numbers across all print titles are of course much more modest than back in the day. Once the guilty pleasure of many millions of city slickers as well as blue colour workers, the Sun’s circulation has shrunk to just 1.7m. But, that’s still 1.7m people who consume the traditional print version of a newspaper that has been around since 1964.
The earliest newspapers were published back in the 1600s, consider for a minute how many other innovations have come and gone in that time and you’ll have some understanding of the enduring influence and strength of the traditional media.
The fact is that from the day we’re born we love to absorb information and learn about new things. We whoop and sigh at the successes and failures of colourful people, witness events from across the globe, absorb the luscious images of places we one day hope to visit. So, what is it that makes some traditional media more successful than others? Marketing professionals will understand that it is all about understanding your audience and tailoring your offer to suit their changing needs – media need to be flexible in their approach in the same was as other products and services. Customer loyalty will not withstand the test of time any more than a relationships with someone who refuses to understand you or pay attention to your needs will.
This is how the longevity of special interest and niche trade titles is secured. One of our most famous and robust trade titles, The Grocer, has been around since 1862, demonstrating how it can be done. There is absolutely no doubt that these titles have retained their influence and that the independence of their editorial, and their knowledge of their markets, has enormous equity. It also explains the relative success of newspaper hybrids like i, and the growth of digital news platforms, all of which appeal to our time-poor on-demand lifestyles.
The advantages for your business or brand of being mentioned in print editorial are still many:
- By carefully selecting your target media with your editorial you are able to speak directly to customers and potential customers who have a genuine and current interest in what you have to say
- These media can reach many thousands of people and the ‘wastage’ can be considerably less than through other channels
- Editorial carries the implied endorsement of the journalist who puts their name to it and the publication in which it appears
- Your views and opinions expressed through the pages of a newspaper or magazine will carry a considerable amount of weight, more than if they were posted on a website or distributed electronically
In the same way that many people still prefer to shop for groceries in person, enjoying and valuing the tactility of the experience, many people still enjoy the touch and feel of a good book, newspaper or magazine, or the immediacy and familiarity of their favourite radio station. But, ultimately, the key to success is in approaching your marketing and public relations holistically; researching and incorporating the right channels into your programme, whether they’re traditional or ‘new’ media.