Ditching print media for digital media – Wise move?

Lisa Markwell, editor of the Independent on Sunday: “We have always found it terribly depressing that people will happily pay £3.70 for an appalling coffee from a take-out place and yet they won’t pay £1.60 or £2.20 on a Sunday for what is in effect a novel’s worth of terrific writing,”.

Reading through the headlines and articles following the news that the Independent newspaper will ceasing printing next month, the above statement from Lisa Markwell really stuck out for me which was covered in The Guardian.

We can all see that the way consumers engage with brands these days has changed and continues to do so each and every day, importantly though is the way we update ourselves on the latest news and information – I would say that for many of us we get the latest news from social media as in most occasions it is there where the latest news is released.

  • Latest news breaks out on social media.
  • Latest news gains a hashtag, ie #EarthQuakeJapan.
  • Latest news trends on social media…. Then:
  • Online news channels release breaking news headline.
  • We may see the breaking news on live news channels like Sky News.
  • We hear the news on hourly news on television and radio.
  • We read editorials of the news on news channel websites and only when we reach this point we then:
  • Read up on the whole news story in following days newspapers + Sunday papers.

How we get in front of a local audience is now changing as is how we get in front of a target audience. No longer are we dependant on local newspapers or leaflet drops to get in front of consumers in our region as an estate agent, we now have social media where the power behind owning a local following is both much cheaper and more effective that using local print media options.

A recent survey Estate Agent Networking carried out on Twitter, asking Estate / Letting Agents their thoughts on local newspaper advertising, showed that 67% of the 43 votes gathered did not value or use this form of advertising. 53% stated that local newspaper advertising did not offer a return on investment, 12% stated that it is more the customers who request that they do and only 21% said they get ROI from using adverts in their local news publications.

estate agent networking poll

As Lisa said above, people will be happy to spend on inflated coffee prices than purchase a Sunday newspaper full of interesting, educational and engaging reading content, but I can see the Independents thoughts process here as the people who chose to read Sunday newspapers is in decline. Most people will have had their take in of daily news via online news source over the week, it will have been spoken about in depth on line, ie on social media, so catching up on it all via a newspaper which is likely to have the news some 12 hours + after the event has happened is really not an attractive incentive, especially in today’s world where people always seem busy and want news to find them in a quick and easy to read format.

Andrew Marr stated in a report in the Guardian that “the loss of the independent means a loss of a community“, but surely if the Independent gets their digital strategy right then that community is already waiting for them online? This means with regards to current readers, future readers and even their own community of employees and writers which some have many followers and growing on the likes of Twitter – Andrew Marr on Twitter.

The loss of jobs is obviously a painful thing for all that are involved, but the reduction of costs to The Independent along with workload will enable them to make a real impact on the digital scene including building a readership via social media and more to see them hold a more future proof concept going forward?

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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