The debate over whether social media is replacing traditional print journalism has come to a head in recent months as newspapers and magazines continue to struggle with sales and subscriptions in the face of free and plentiful online information sources. While the conversion of readers from traditional print to online sources wasn’t exactly unforeseen, its sheer rapidity has faced the entire print industry, from news publications to books, with what appears to be its potential downfall.
In spite of the obvious conflict, can there be a compromise, a way for one form of information dissemination to benefit the other? The idea of combining social media with professional journalism isn’t exactly a new one – many journalists employ Twitter as a means of spreading their words, for example – and, as people on each side of the debate work to ease their craft safely into the future, more and more options for powerful combinations of social and print media are being recognized.
If you’re involved in the print industry and would like to better utilize social media, turning it into a boon for your business even as it threatens the very same, read on.
A Changing Landscape
While the growing popularity of the public internet did pose some immediate problems to traditional print in the 1990s, it wasn’t until the boom of bloggers in the 2000s that experts really began to watch and study the changing ways in which people retrieved information. From news blogs to ebooks to Facebook and Twitter, the rapidly growing web has been continuously innovative in finding new ways to spread information; with the slew of highly trusted online brands to be found today, that same information is being afforded a level of trust previously only offered by professional journalists.
Social Media as a Sales Soapbox
No matter what type of print media you’re involved in, it needs to be sold. Professional writers and journalists must be paid and the need to sell subscriptions has only increased in the wake of drastically increased competition and interference. While social media may not be your main platform, that doesn’t mean that it can’t serve as a soapbox from which to hawk your printed wares! While many in the print industry have come around to adding social media aspects to their marketing and publicity strategies, there is still lots of room for leveraging the most popular social platforms in the world into leads and conversions.
Nothing Spreads Words Quicker Than Social Media
Sales aside, consider the reasons that you write, no matter your medium; surely your goal is to be heard, read, considered and talked about. When it comes to spreading your message, whether that message comes in the form of an advertisement, a news report or an editorial piece, there is no modern tool more powerful than social media. More and more widely adopted each day, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the traditional blog offer a place for printed writers to take their words where they may not otherwise be read, encouraging interested readers to dig deeper and, possibly, consider a change to a printed publication they may not even have known existed beforehand.
How exactly the printed word will reconcile itself with an increasingly technological society is yet to be seen and the complexities of the situation suggest that an unpredictable evolution must take place on both sides of the fence before a resolution becomes clear. While no one can deny the staying power of the internet in general and social media in particular, it seems also safe to say that, despite its downsizing, the printed word is also far from becoming a dinosaur.
In the meantime, resistance is futile but, for print industry professionals, an attitude that says “if you can’t beat them, join them” presents opportunities for increased readership that simply cannot be found anywhere else!
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