Is print a part of your content marketing strategy?

How many times have you gone to a professional conference and received a bag full of print materials from the show sponsors, only to toss it outright or leave it in your hotel room without a cursory glance? Who reads paper anymore, right?

I’m as guilty as the next conference attendee of this heinous crime, but last week, I attended Content Marketing World and enjoyed the event so much, I hauled my promotional goodie bag home in order to keep the information coming, and the momentum going.

There was some really valuable material in that bag! Here are my top three takeaways…

1. ON24 provided a 44-page booklet on Webinars for Dummies – everything you need to know about planning, promoting and executing a webinar, plus use cases to spark ideas for your own events.

2. PR Newswire’s white papers are always worth a look, and Maximizing Content Marketing: A Six-Step Plan for Agile Engagement is a must read for anyone who wants to learn about the 3 “Super S’s” for successful content marketing – search, social and syndication. I was so impressed that I scheduled a call with them.

3. Finally, ExactTarget provided their 2012 Channel Preference Survey which includes valuable information about factors that dictate channel preference among consumers.  
Which brings me back to reason I wrote this post in the first place…

The Exact Target Channel preference survey found that among all channels through which consumers receive permission-based promotional messages, email was the preferred channel for 77% of respondents, but direct mail – print – was number two.

While all of the materials I mention above are available in electronic form, I prefer to read them in print. I’m online all day and occasionally, I like to give my eyes a break from a glowing screen. Also, I take the bus to our office most days, giving me 30+ minutes each way to catch up on my reading. The CMW sponsors who provided print versions of their literature had my undivided attention four out of five days on the way in to work this week.

Still need to be convinced of the power of print? 

I recently decided to have some trees removed from my yard, and before I could even begin my online research, I received a timely direct mail promotion from a local tree removal service. Of course I went online to look at reviews and recommendations for the company, and noticed that their website is not well optimized for search. If it weren’t for that direct mail promotion, I probably wouldn’t have found their website in search results.  Direct mail – print – was the essential element that connected me to their service, and I have since contracted with them to remove the trees.  

While electronic communication is essential to any content marketing strategy, print can still play a valuable, complementary role. Consider the type of product or service you sell. Consider the average age of your likely customer. Consider their channel preferences.Direct Mail - Image from Allegra Pittsburgh

Direct mail – print – may help you connect with customers you wouldn’t reach via other channels. It’s smart to have your content available in several different forms, allowing prospective customers to engage with you in a way that works best for them.

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