Digital Is Worth More Than You Think
Why you shouldn't ignore the value of your brand's digital components.
When: Usually at a long-overdue lunch with a friend or business contemporary
What: ” So, how are things at the magazine? I mean how is…uhh…circulation?“ (The question is usually delivered with a sympathetic head tilt, and in a hushed voice dripping with sympathy normally reserved for funeral homes and bedside vigils in hospitals.)
The response: “Things are great! Our circulation is a strong as ever, we have new digital subscribers and our ancillary digital products and social media are through the roof!” (One may ‘P.T. Barnum‘ their voice up a bit for emphasis here.)
The awkward reaction: “Wow, that’s great, it’s just that everything I have read about print…” (Voice trails off.)
That scenario has played out countless times in the last few years. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of quoting the great Mark Twain (“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”) every time I hear an advertiser say they’re cutting out print for digital.
If we, as purveyors of multiplatform silos of original content, are looking to the horizon with strategy and intelligence, we should be building brand awareness in the digital and social media worlds from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest. We proudly proclaim that our Facebook friends and Twitter followers in aggregate almost exceed our audited print and digital numbers (and most likely are not duplicative of the former, meaning that we have doubled our audience for the Rhode Island Monthly brand!)
My case to the naysayer who is cutting out print is we deliver a multiplatform brand: from ink on paper, to digital, to social media, to events. We are an authoritative source about living in Rhode Island. Whether we deliver that information in a photo essay, a digital newsletter, a great event or even just the 140 characters of a tweet, we have achieved our mission and editorial goal across all platforms.
As a publisher/owner I have made the commitment to be everywhere in the emerging social media world. That means people resources and measurement, measurement, measurement. The entire staff gets a weekly dashboard update with metrics on everything. I want the number of Twitter followers to be as top of mind as the print audit number.
And when we present to a prospective advertiser, the social media numbers, just like circulation and readership, are front and center. When we demonstrate we have the social following and the integrity of the publication, we get their attention and usually their business.
So shoulders out, chest swelled with pride and heads up people!