When you want your content, your news, your articles, to be shared, you should not build walls but bridges instead. It is crucial to link print and digital – for the consumer and the business.
I try to stay informed most of the time, which is why I read quite a few articles per day. And since I am – as a lot of people are – working a lot on my computer, I quite enjoy reading actual, printed newspapers, magazines, and books. Haptic, ftw.
Share the Things you Love
Every now and then I find some articles that I love. I mean, otherwise I probably would have stopped caring a long time ago. But because I find some articles inspiring, interesting or insightful, I actually want to share it with people, friends and family. Whether it is via direct messages like Messengers or Email (dark social), or through common social media channels.
The problem is, more often than not, there is no direct link to share an article you like. Who needs that? Who actually shares insightful reports, stories or current news? You could give it to your friend in person. Or just tell them how great it is, so they can buy the paper again (greedy capitalist waving).
The essential question is: Do you want your content to be shared?
From a technology standpoint:
Digital advancement, shiny new gadgets, cool new startups that seemingly want to transform the world. Yeah, that’s where we are now. We are building bubbles, niches, but forget to connect the dots. Print is so old school, long live the new king. But isn’t content king? That’s another story. But, it does matter. If I have content on one platform or channel (e.g. print) and the same or similar ((content)) on another (e.g. digital), why not link them?
Don’t you dare to say QR-Code! Well, this mistreated and almost forgotten technology might be a solution to connect the two worlds. But let us not go that way, the usability of QR-Codes ist still suboptimal. Who want’s to search for an app, maybe download it, scan something, and then possibly get to the digital article. This is not user-friendly. Another way would be shortlinks, still a bit of a pain, but at least nothing special is needed.
I do not have the perfect solution, if I would, I would probably not write this, but the problem is real.
The essential question is: How do you want to link your print and digital content? (Do not make me think)
From a business standpoint:
I do not want to bash pricing strategies of media companies, but restricting the shareability of ones articles is just – yeah – suboptimal. This includes putting paywalls up, or the need to buy an (add-on) online or digital subscription. The latter should actually be already included, as it does not add substantial costs to the company anyway.
But what should be considered is the opportunity cost. Companies are and should be concerned about customer retention and customer loyalty, but seem to miss out on that part. Or what about virality, branding effects, and word-of-mouth? Yeah, you do not need that.
The essential question is: Do you think people who already bought print are free-riders?
From a trust and transparency standpoint:
Thus far we have looked at both the technology and the money. But what about other signals of a closed ecosystem? One thing to consider is the trust. Does the media company trust the quality of its content and its users? Quality always beats quantity, and people are more likely to engage and pay – in one way or the other – for quality products and services. Furthermore, being closed down means that you have something to hide. You are not transparent, not open. You do not want people to talk about you, to engage with you. At least it seems that way.
The essential question is: Do you actually like the quality of your products and services?
We need to build bridges to cross the chasm from digital to print, and vice versa. This also means that possibly more and more people actually get in touch with the digital news and articles. And maybe, if the bridge and added value is strong enough, they might (re-)discover print.
Why are we building walls and try to treat digital and print as two separate worlds in different galaxies? And if this need be, than we might have to think about developing a stargate or something like that.
In my humble opinion, it is essential to link print and digital to create synergies and a wider reach. In a time where the buzzword is content marketing, why do we widen the chasm or put up a wall between print and digital content?
The essential question is: Why are print and digital still not connected or linked?
Note: I am certainly not against innovation and advancement in regards to media. You know, going digital only. On the contrary, I actually wrote my Bachelor thesis about the adoption of eBooks back in the day and am interested in the diffusion of innovations. But, I simply enjoy it more to read in print. I guess it’s the focus and change in environment.