12.08.2016 Why PR shouldn’t overlook print

“What’s that?” I hear you cry, “Print media doesn’t have an impact; it’s in decline. It’s old news, yesterday’s format. Digital and social media is where it’s at, isn’t it?”

Well yes, it’s fair to say print media is in decline, and has been since the turn of the century.


Overshadowed by the new kids on the block

The perilous state of the regional press is well documented, with more than 300 local newspapers having closed in the last ten years, according to research by Press Gazette. 

Those that have survived are haemorrhaging readers at an alarming rate; 79 local daily newspapers audited by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) lost sales by an average of 10.4 per cent year on year in the second half of 2015.

Nationally the picture is not much better; national daily newspapers lost half a million in average daily sales between March 2014 and March 2015, and, as we have written about, the Independent closed its print edition earlier this year to move to an entirely digital model, while Trinity Mirror’s experiment with The New Day had a shorter lifespan than the average dragonfly.

So, with all that in mind, why should the 21st century PR professional care about print media any more?


Print’s not dead (yet)

The main reason is because, despite all the doom and gloom highlighted above, print media is not quite dead.

National newspapers still have a combined daily circulation of almost 7 million, while the top 50 selling regional dailies shift 1.2 million copies.

Add to that the hundreds of consumer, trade and specialist magazines and periodicals and there is still a huge audience consuming print-based media. To disregard them would be foolish.


In fact, some bits are growing

Remarkably some print publications are bucking the declining circulation trend. The free Metro is hugely popular with commuters and has a circulation of 1.3 million, making it one of the UK’s largest newspapers.


Some presses are still running hot…

Its success prompted the London Evening Standard to move to a free model in 2009, and within a year its circulation trebled.

And although there have been a number of failed newspaper launches this year, The New Day being the most notable, the success of the pop-up newspaper The New European demonstrates that people will still pay for a printed product in which they are invested.


Print still has plenty of advantages

  • Thanks to the proliferation of specialist titles, print can be a great place to launch targeted campaigns or to reach very niche audiences.
  • Print’s physical presence means it has staying power; newspapers and magazines can stay in homes or workplaces for days or months, while news on the internet can disappear into the ether within moments.
  • A significant number of people and organisations consider print more credible, and therefore more legitimate, than online publications.
  • The loss of ad revenues might be a bad thing for print publications, but it is also an opportunity for PR professionals – less ads in print means more space is afforded to editorial, giving your client more exposure.


Here at Brighter Comms we recognise the value of all types of media. Our PR services reflect the very latest thinking and practice, covering everything from traditional media relations and stakeholder engagement to online methods including social media. 

For more information, just get in touch.