A lot of my clients were new to digital marketing when they decided to work with me.
Naturally, they were unsure how blogs and ‘content’ on a website could deliver better results than a printed advert in a newspaper or magazine – something they had been using to market their business for a long time.
So, here’s my response.
I hope you find it useful if you’re currently trying to decide between running a printed advertising campaign or embarking on a blogging strategy for your business.
There’s no reason why you have to choose one over the other.
A good marketing strategy doesn’t rely on just one form of advertising. But, if your budget is small but your efforts to date haven’t achieved very much, you might want to take the following considerations on-board.
Blogging and other forms of digital marketing are comparatively cheaper than traditional printed advertising
I’ve seen very few advertising opportunities for less than £50.00 – which is usually for one issue of a magazine or newspaper.
A well-placed advert can cost a lot of money.
Blog posts (and I’m talking professionally written blogs here, not the half-hearted attempts churned out by content mills and gig websites) start from as low as £25.00. For which you receive considerably more words getting the message across to your target audience than a small box on a page crammed full of adverts can ever achieve.
You’re usually getting considerable value from a single blog post (and several blogs combined into an effective marketing strategy can create some stunning results and ROI).
For example, all the blog posts I write include royalty free images, full search engine optimisation and pre-written social media posts to promote them with.
Longevity is a distinguishing factor between blogs and magazine adverts
A blog post lasts as long as you want it to last.
A printed advert will be there for one issue, maybe a few? But it’s time-specific – you’re paying a fee every time you want it publishing.
In fact, we can get a little more specific than that.
According to a study by Fast Company, a newspaper advert will last around 2-3 weeks and a magazine advertisement has a lifespan of around 3 months.
In contrast, once you’ve uploaded your blog post it’s there until you decide to take it down. It’s constantly available to your target audience 24/7.
And you can promote it for free – in your newsletter, social media, etc as often as you like, when you like.
A blog post has a larger reach than printed press
You’re talking an international reach here. My blogs are regularly read by users in the UK, USA, Australia and the Middle East.
I didn’t intend for that to happen. I write with a UK audience in mind but my target audience living abroad have found my blogs (and several became clients as a result).
Can you reach a global audience through a printed advert?
Not unless you’re willing to pay for it, and that kind of exposure doesn’t come cheap!
You can measure your reach with blog posts – something that’s tricky with adverts
I know which countries the individuals who read my blogs are based in because I have Google Analytics telling me that’s where my pageviews are coming from. It also tells me what time they’re reading it, and where they found it from.
I know that one of my blog posts had 72 pageviews on the day it was published – and I had 3 new client enquiries that day (which I doubt is a coincidence!)
Can you get specific metrics for a printed advert?
If you were running no other marketing campaigns and had x number of enquiries within x number of days of the advert being printed, you could make a rough estimate.
But you wouldn’t know the conversion rates – i.e., how many read it and performed the call to action.
You could request sales figures from the magazine, or newspaper. But that only tells you how many copies were sold. It can’t tell you how many readers took the time to read your advert, and how many flicked the page.
Without knowing the statistics, it’s incredibly difficult to know the return on investment from a printed advert.
The best part of blogging is the direct interaction with your target audience
Comments and shares can take your blog post so much further than you ever thought it could travel.
Each share takes it to a new and wider audience.
Each comment is a reinforcement of your credibility as a business, that the message was effective and understood by the audience it was intended for.
You can never get that kind of response from a printed advert. Sure, someone might cut it out and give it to a friend they think might be interested in it, but that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the effect of ‘social proof’ online.
I hope you’ll look at blog posts in a new way after reading this, and perhaps consider including them in your marketing strategy in the future.