I admit that when I chose the topic of The Use of Print Media in Content Marketing, I did so because I love printed media. When I first entered the marketing profession, print media was still the way to go. Catalogs, direct mail postcards, brochures for checkout line racks, you name it, I produced it. Heck, even ad a print advertisement I created that was published in the New York Times generated such a response that a customer wrote a note to the owner of the garden center where I worked and dropped off the ad for him to see!

But if you Google the phrase “is print dead” you’ll return over 189,000,000 results, far over and above what Joe Pulizzi returned when he searched this phrase back in 2019. In his article, Print Magazines Dead? Bite Your Tongue, Joe states emphatically that print is most certainly not dead. It’s just changing. 

I’m with Joe. Print marketing, whether it’s a custom-created magazine, a flyer, or a rack insert, offers an outstanding opportunity for many companies to promote ideas, the heart of content marketing. Don’t forget that content marketing started with print — the John Deere magazine, The Furrow, which offered a magazine filled with ideas for mechanizing the farm. And it just happened that John Deere sold those products from tractors to combines that mechanized the farm. 


“The web is where we go to get answers but print is where we go to ask questions.”



Print Media Statistics

From Marketing Profs: print-a-tangible-way-to-invigorate-your-marketing-strategy-infographic

  • In a crowded marketplace, print gives you an edge.
  • 92% of 18-32 year olds state that print is easier to read
  • When making purchasing decisions, consumers trust print 34% more than search engines
  • Postcards have a 4.25% response rate compared to .1% for email marketing
  • 70% of people recall more from reading a print ad than a digital ad
  • Print is better for perceived value, memory and recall of an ad, and emotional response

Up Close and Personal: An Interview with Content Marketer Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Amazon bestselling author of Killing Marketing, Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine. His latest book is The Will to Die, his debut novel.

He has founded three companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and has launched dozens of events, including Content Marketing World. In 2014, he received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Content Council. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with CMI’s Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in over 30 states.

My Take on Joe’s Book, Content, Inc.

If you haven’t heard of Joe, I invite you to get to know him through his outstanding book, Content, Inc., which was recently revised and reissued. I purchased my own company from Amazon and devoured it over vacation. It helped me rethink many aspects of content marketing. It’s a great book because it doesn’t just explain what content marketing is, but what a content-first business model looks like and how to create one — and then, how to leverage it as a business model.

Joe is honest throughout the book that content marketing isn’t a fast route to sales, and he’s right. It takes time, sometimes too long for our clients’ comfort levels, to generate the kind of impact they need to make. That’s okay. Not every marketing tactic is right for every client, and I get that. 

But like Joe, I’ve seen content marketing produce outstanding results. When it works, it works exceptionally well to build brand loyalty, elicit and emotional response, and create a memorable impression on customers that no amount of hype creates.

Joe took time out of his busy schedule to respond to my questions. Thank you, Joe.

The Use of Print Media in Content Marketing

Seven Oaks Consulting (7Oaks): What is your experience using content marketing for your company or your clients?

Joe Pulizzi (JP) I’ve been in the content marketing industry for over 20 years. Originally, I worked at Penton Media’s Custom Media Division working on print magazines for companies like HP, Autodesk, and American Red Cross. I left Penton in 2007 to start Content Marketing Institute, the leading educational organization for content marketing.

7Oaks: Do you use print media, such as niche-focused magazines or other printed materials, as part of your content marketing program?

JP: Not presently. While at CMI, we launched Chief Content Officer magazine in 2011 targeted to 30,000 senior-level marketing executives (I left CMI in 2018).

7Oaks:  How many do you send? How is it distributed and to whom?

JP: Quarterly

7Oaks: What was your ROI?

JP: It was generally break even (subsidized with partner advertising)…but expenses approximately $30,000 per issue. For ROI, we found that those highest-yielding customers of CMI were also subscribers to the magazine. 

7Oaks: Why do you think print is effective?

JP: There are many  reasons why print is effective. First, it grabs attention. Because so few brands are doing it these days, it stands out. Next, if you already have an audience, such as a customer list, you’ve got a good chunk of the work out of the way — you have an audience who might like to hear from you and who may respond positively to your print piece. Third, and this may be a little out there, but I do think print is ready for a Renaissance. Everyone talks about it being dead, but TV didn’t die when cable and on-demand movies came out, and radio thrives even though we have more choices than ever. There’s still room for print in a media manager’s marketing mix if it fits the strategy.

7Oaks:  Do you think print media is effective for specific industries or all industries? 

JP: I believe print can be effective in any industry.

7Oaks:  Is it better for acquisition or retention marketing?

JP: I think it’s better for retention and building loyalty, but yet, it can work for acquisition marketing. It’s just harder to measure when usingi it for acquisition. 

7Oaks:  Do you think printed materials have a place in the future of content marketing? Why or why not?

JP:  Absolutely. With limited competition it’s very easy for a high-quality publication to stand out. Also, people are much more willing to voluntarily give data information for a quality magazine.

Thank you, Joe. You can find his books on Amazon or check out his blog at joepulizzi.com