PR-int, the value of print in PR

Tuesday 13th October 2015

Despite a seemingly inexorable more towards digitalising all aspects of our lives, print is far from dead and still has a vital role to play in PR. So if you're serious about raising the profile of your hotel you certainly shouldn't shun it as a medium.

 

National newspapers still have readerships in the millions – the Sun alone has a daily print circulation of more than 1.8million, with the Daily Mail achieving a tally in excess of 1.6million.

When you take into account the other nationals – the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph to name a few – the figures soon start to rise even further, putting the potential reach into the several millions.

And let’s not forget regional publications. These are myriad, with every medium sized town in the country having their own version. If you can tap into the regional media you can greatly extend your reach, with thousands upon thousands of homes receiving weekly local newspapers, meaning potentially thousands upon thousands of people reading about your hotel.

Glossy magazines play a further part, covering a vast range of topics that you can hook onto your hotel. So to surmise, ink is alive.

Of course it’s not all rosy for print

Online publications are becoming increasingly influential. With Google seemingly holding the answers to everything, its popularity as a search engine affords it an omnipotence that businesses must, if not exactly worship, then certainly pay close attention to.

As a hotelier your website is the online representation of what you do and, therefore, if people are to see it, you need to sit high in the search rankings. Online publications such as the Mail Online can play a big role in this, as a link to your hotel website from one of the major media players gives your search result visibility a massive boost.

Search engine optimisation is a complicated mix, with a variety of ingredients needed to make it work, but PR is an important one.

Don’t underestimate the power of a double page spread in a glossy magazine. It can often have far more impact than a similar length story published online.

It’s easy for hoteliers to think that targeting PR at online publications is the way forward, but this isn’t the case. Online PR and print PR are inextricably linked, with many news stories being duplicated in print and online but it’s still worth the time to approach those publications with an emphasis on print.

Don’t underestimate the power of a double page spread in a glossy magazine. It can often have far more impact than a similar length story published online.

What the future holds

Whilst print circulation figures are currently at healthy levels, what does the future hold? The seemingly relentless pull of online media can, at first glance, leave print looking like a collapsing star on the brink of a black hole, with the event horizon looming.

But is this suggestion of a point of no return a true reflection? Are print circulations doomed to continuously dwindle until the presses are shut down for good? Unlikely.

The digital tide is, in some cases, stemmed and, in some cases, turning. Newsweek is an excellent example of this. In 2013, the US news magazine published its much-trumpeted final print edition, as its struggling circulation figures suggested an online only representation was the only solution available to secure its future.

At this point, many observers would have put it down as another nail in the coffin of print as a commercially viable medium.

But things changed

In 2014, Newsweek underwent an extraordinary U-turn and returned to its print based roots. Printed weekly once more, whilst its circulation is limited, it’s now operating at a profit. And whilst the profit is small, the fact there’s profit at all is an improvement on recent years. Newsweek recognised the viability in producing print based media.

Print is still popular. There’s something about the touch and feel of a physically represented magazine or newspaper that people are reluctant to relinquish. People are tired of looking at screens and welcome a break.

Who are you trying to attract? What is your target demographic? Wealthy retirees are more likely to find you if you’re positioned in the print version of a newspaper than its online counterpart. Businessmen and women are more likely to scan a free copy of the Metro on the commute to work than to rely on patchy mobile internet connection on tubes and trains.

Consumer opinion often changes. Digital is obviously here to stay, but print will continue to play its part for the foreseeable future. The balance is still being struck, but print isn’t going anywhere yet and hoteliers can’t afford to ignore it as a way of showcasing their hotel in the meantime.