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How Traditional Print is Thriving in a Digital Age

Woman reading newspaper in cafe

The unmistakable smell of a newspaper, the feel of a much-loved book in your hands, the unrivalled joy of looking through an old photo album; there is nothing like traditional print.

Holding a tangible printed asset in your hands is both thought and focus-evoking. Sure, you can read Sky News on your phone, but it’s nothing like picking up the paper and wiling away an hour or two in total peace without text, social media, email or missed call notifications interrupting your flow.

And indeed, you can store a million photos in the cloud. A moment captured and held amongst a million others, in a digital ether that no one is likely to ever lay eyes on.

There’s a reason people return to traditional print. Some see greater business profit using traditional marketing, some are questioning how to reduce screen time, and for others, it’s a simple love of tradition that pulls them back.

But one thing is clear, traditional print is holding its ground in the digital age. Let’s see why.

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Let’s start from a business perspective. How many marketing leaflets or flyers do you currently have blocking your doorway? Unless you’ve had a few delivered today or just returned from holiday, we’re going to assume the answer to this is zero. Why? Because delivered mail has to be picked up.

And of course, people don’t throw mail in the bin without looking at it. You see, door-drop marketing isn’t something people can simply scroll past and ignore. Leaflets, flyers or booklets will get eyes on them, no question about it. Now consider the volume of ads you scroll past when you’re online.

Whether you own a business offering catering, home improvement, cleaning or hairdressing, door drop marketing is a great way to get your business noticed. It is especially useful for those local companies who want to cut through the noise of competition in the local area.

Physical leaflets or flyers give that sense of community and locality you simply don’t get through digital advertising.

Billboard in cityscape

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is any marketing activity that doesn’t require an internet connection to reach its target audience. It is also called ‘offline marketing’. Examples of offline marketing include:

• Billboards

Posters and banners

• Street signage or a-frames outside business premises

• Flyers & leaflets

Business cards

• Booklets, magazines, and brochures

• Radio and terrestrial television advertising

The best way to market your business is undoubtedly combining your online and offline marketing strategies. Creating a perfect synergy between your offline and online marketing channels guarantees you are reaching every demographic possible. From those who scroll endlessly to those who don’t even have WiFi in their homes.

Ways in Which Print is Thriving in a Digital Age

Book sales are one of the mainstays of the printing industry with online influencers having a great impact on traditional print. Whilst vloggers and bloggers often start online, when it comes to taking the next step in their careers, it’s book deals that come a-knocking. Let’s look at some examples.

• Pinch of Nom creators Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone started their following with a simple Facebook group for like-minded slimmers. They shared recipes and pictures of their culinary creations and before they knew it, they had a recipe book deal. Their first Pinch of Nom book became the UK's fastest-selling non-fiction title since records began.

• Sophie Hinchcliffe, more commonly known as Mrs Hinch, started her Instagram account in March 2018 where she shared cleaning hacks, tips and tricks. Within 3 months she had over a million followers. By the summer of 2019, you guessed it, a book release! Hinch Yourself Happy made Hinchcliffe a Sunday Times Best Seller, and she has recently released her sixth book.

• Much loved for her ‘Tired and Tested’ Instagram account, Sophie McCartney gained a huge following in 2017 with a funny parody of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’. Through her online fame and following, McCartney became a Sunday Times No.1 Best Seller with her 2022 book release Tired and Tested: The Wild Ride into Parenthood.

Printed books still outsell eBooks which means our favourite influencers and television personalities have a lot to thank traditional print for.

In addition to book printing, those wanting to capitalise on the opportunities of offline marketing channels help the print industry to thrive, with leaflets, flyers and business cards a staple of many successful businesses. Booklets and catalogues allow companies to showcase their product offering all in one place without endless clicking or searching in a search bar. This is especially important for less tech-savvy generations who prefer traditional marketing to digital.

Woman reading book away from technology

Screentime Awareness Makes Traditional Print More Appealing

Reducing screen time is always a good thing. If you can do this by way of reading your favourite magazine, newspaper or book the traditional way, you may be improving your health. Eye strain from screens is a commonly known issue, that glare or blur you get when reading online, that’s your eyes asking you for a break from the screen.

And let’s be honest, when reading on a phone or tablet, there are constant distractions in the form of phone calls, emails, texts, and social media notifications. These notifications can so easily lead you down a rabbit hole. One moment you’re reading a breaking news story, the next you’re Googling this year’s I’m a Celeb contestants and your relaxing reading time has been hijacked by clever click bait and algorithms.

There are many reasons traditional print is not only surviving but thriving in the digital age. Can you imagine a world without glossy hardback books, meaningful Birthday cards, or photo albums passed down from generation to generation? Neither can we.


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