Friday, April 30, 2010

Web or print or both?

Thinking about the difference between the Internet and print, I would say the Internet has vast, virtually unlimited, amounts of information, but searching, sorting and evaluating information is the job of the user. Print media presents a much smaller volume of information in each issue, but content has been selected, evaluated and formatted to meet the needs of an identified community of readers. That is what editors do.

While there are a number of web-based publications that select and tailor their content to an identified readership, they are relatively few. There are also specialized search engines that help users navigate in specific subject areas. Still, the volume of information can be daunting.

Print publications have the duty to be compelling, useful and current sources of information to lead the way to finding additional, related and supplemental information on the Web. Almost all have online editions along with searchable archives. They may also include directories of suppliers, forums, blogs, late-breaking news, tutorials and more. Whatever the specific functions, the aim is to assist visitors to find more in-depth information first found in the print magazine. In fact, the benefits of print are to draw readers to visit the Web.

A print magazine plops down on your desk, fits into your briefcase and beckons readers to peruse with focused, constant content. Print helps to take that same focus onto the Web to save time and confusion searching for related information. The value of print media is then increased by the Web, not challenged.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.