The New Interface – You are measured by print content
One of the things that irked me incredibly was the idea of ‘breakers’, which emerged (and presumably sank) in the very late Nineties. The idea was trumpeted by a large agency as an idea for creativity in placing media. The triumph that they breathlessly announced was placement of an ad for cheese in a reputable financial magazine.
The idea behind this ad was that it should stand at odds to the content, and break the attention, hopefully gaining some marginal sales. I wasn’t impressed with the idea then. Neither I believe was the client marketing manager, as the ad was tiny. No doubt the size recognised the weight that the client gave to the ability of a financial magazine to sell cheddar.
You are measured by the content with which you are associated in three ways.
The first way you are measured is by the way you reach your target. Cheese in a financial publication is a good place to begin. A scan through the current media will show that this is still very common, albeit without the ingenuity of a plan, as was the case with the cheese. Advertising has a way of being placed haphazardly in many instances, so it becomes necessary to pay a loaded rate in many cases to get close to the page, where the content is likely to be better.
Targeting can be done with specific media choices, for instance financial and other magazines. A financial publication is likely to reach people who are interested in finance. However this leads to the second point.
The quality of the surrounding content is also an issue. There are many magazines which go for any advertising as a source of income. As a result, the publication may be loaded with ads but have little or no content to hold the reader to a page.
The quality of the advertising in the publication also needs to be considered. A publication which offers bargains is not a place to pitch high-value offers. A large number of publications seek bargain advertising but do not discriminate in contacting potential clients.
A similar situation occurs when there is too much editorial, and not enough newsworthiness in the content. There are a number of venerated publications that use editorial well, however there is limited need for placement in more than one or two publications, and very often similar publications overlap. Newsworthiness is important.
Newsworthiness has to derive from two sources, the person writing editorial for the company and the publication as well. A publication that insists on news is far more likely to generate readership than one that takes the easy route with large volumes of standard ‘advertorial’.
The third factor that needs to be considered is relevance of own content. By providing excellent content that speaks to the reader, there is a far higher likelihood of getting the message of the company across. Again, newsworthy opinions are one of the routes to go. Sharing knowledge is particularly important in this regard.
The fact that an individual has knowledge and is willing to share it, is often a recommendation for the organisation. Sharing knowledge does not mean that it will be used, but it does mean that people will be trusted for their knowledge.
In order to generate interest and sales, the goal of all business enterprises, content ultimately has to be a partnership between the marketing or brand department. As social media begins to overtake mainstream media as a source of news, the print environment will begin to thin out. If print media can show its value with exceptional editorial policy, it will remain relevant and will make the transition to the web in a more sustainable manner.
However it also requires the partnership of public relations practitioners, marketers and advertising agencies to make it work with finely honed content and advertising that is suitable to the medium and its pages.