Custom Publishing's Surprising Truths

Myth No. 1: Print is dead.

At Ethos, much of our work is digital, but this is a common objection when we propose a print tactic as part of a custom content strategy. As long as people want to touch and feel a product, however, marketers shouldn’t dismiss print tactics automatically.

Print magazines rank #1 or #2 in reaching influential consumers, more than the Internet and much more than TV, newspapers or radio. Plus, isn’t print the ultimate “push” notification?

It may surprise you to learn that a number of leading digital businesses, including Angie’s List, Politio, WebMD, Net-A-Porter and Uber, have recently launched print magazines.

Myth No. 2: Millennials don’t read print.

Actually it’s the opposite, as Millennial consumers read more magazines than consumers older than age 50. In fact, 95 percent of U.S. adults under 25 read print magazines, according to the GFK-MRI 2014 survey of American consumers.

As a side note, we could go on about the over-generalization of “Millennials” in a post-demographic world, but that’s fodder for a later article.

Myth No. 3: Print and digital are mutually exclusive.

We don’t hear this verbalized too often, but it still seems to pervade many people’s thinking.

To us, custom content means building and fostering a unique community, primarily by sharing stories of interest (sometimes coupled with events). How those stories are shared depends primarily on the audience’s needs.

Processes may be different—our clients develop digital-first or print-first workflows depending on their needs—but essentially it comes down to identifying the “buckets” where your audience wants to see content and then filling those buckets with high-quality visual and editorial content.