Digital Media Integration in a Post Print World

This is a sample digital campaign.

This is a sample digital campaign.

So in my last post (That seems like an eternity ago, right?) I discussed how the print media is not dead, how perhaps no other medium is better suited to cross the digital divide then a newspaper, with its ability to both sell and produce content. Today we are talking about how digital integration can play a major part in a successful promotional campaign.

But first, let’s remind you what the goals are for newspapers transitioning from an older business model of merely selling print real estate to that of a company that offers a multitude of solutions for different audiences. These goals are to: 1. Sustain print revenues as long it can; 2. Increase digital revenue; 3. Reduce legacy costs (associated the old business model).

Increasing the digital revenue helps bridge the shortfall of a reduction in print revenue. In other words, if the average newspaper is feeling a 10% yearly decline in print revenue, the difference has got to be made up in other areas, specifically digital. So let’s take a look at how digital elements are helping some newspapers sell local promotions. We’ll take an NCAA Bracket Challenge promotion as an example.

When you want to drive participation to any promotion, in this case a March Madness contest, it’s imperative to have your contest widget on the most highly-viewed page on any web site: the home page. So you have a link on a home page and that link has to go to a bracket page in which a user can fill out his/her picks for the NCAA Tournament. The user then hits the “submit” button and it’s finished.

In a perfect world, yes. Here’s what really  happens.

You have to tell people about the contest, so you go to your arsenal of promotional tools to get the message out. We’re talking about a digital contest, so would it be smart to promote using print? Surprisingly, yes!

A newspaper’s sports section will always run an updated bracket of the tournament. This is a perfect opportunity to drive readers back to the digital page and encourage them to participate in the online contest. This will help drive page views and unique visitors to your site.

Email marketing is another digital element that can be used to get the word out about the online contest. If a newspaper has 50,000 registered subscribers and 10% of them participate, that’s a very successful promotion right off the bat. That’s 5,000 participants, page views and more potential unique visitors!

Social media – daily reminders to your organization’s social fan base during the participation phase of your contest extends your reach even further. And because it’s a digital contest, this means you can provide the link to the contest within the social media message.

There you have it – a digital promotion that required no print at all (except for the bracket that was already going to run in the sports section). We tapped into our opt-in subscriber base, our social media fans and our already high number of frequent visitors. This is what newspapers are doing these days to keep digital numbers up and obtaining more revenue as a result. From a company standpoint we increased  digital revenue (someone has to sponsor the contest, right?) and reduced our legacy costs (notice we didn’t run a promotional print ad for the contest).

Now all you have to do is crown a bracket winner and you can call it good!

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One Response to Digital Media Integration in a Post Print World

  1. Nikolos Gurney says:

    Phillip,

    It is always interesting to get your insights from the print world. I am very mired in the digital world, and to be honest I often forget that the print world exists. I don’t remember the last time I looked at a physical newspaper, it had to be years ago – in fact the only time I ever subscribed to one was in college during econ when I had to get the WSJ. What really intrigues me about your post is the opportunity to track interactions though. I am not familiar with type setting, but would it be possible to print different URLs for the online bracket based off of where the papers where going to be sent? Say you divide the town up into quadrants then you could see which one was most likely to submit brackets based off of their URLs.