Podcasts & Publications: Take Your Content to a New Level

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The word “publisher” has evolved dramatically in the past 25 years. Once a term reserved for printed works, the advent of the internet has now taken publishers into entirely new media. One particular medium that has garnered extreme success for publishers is the podcast. A hybrid between radio and blogging, podcasts focus on educational or entertaining content, often featuring guests to provide validity and expertise.

In terms of success, iTunes alone recorded its 50 millionth podcast stream in 2018. Podcasts average an 80% complete listen rate (80% of people that start a podcast finish or almost finish it), according to the 2018 Infinite Dial report. Also, the Interactive Advertising Bureau stated that in 2017, the U.S. podcasting industry reached $314 million in revenue, an 86% increase over the $169 million in 2016.

What does this have to do with print?

Making the most of your existing content

Magazines and timely print publications crank out more content than any other publishers. This means on top of the constant flow of new stories, there are ever-growing archives.

Archives are full of great content that should be leveraged, but taking dated content and making it relevant again is not a simple task. Many opt for the “throw it up on social media” plan or add a boilerplate to every new story that links to the archives. These do make your archives easier to discover, but they don’t make your archives more relevant.

A more successful solution is to switch up the format of the content. This is where podcasts can come in. Look through your archives for stories that follow a theme, and curate a podcast series of your old stories. With a few minor adjustments and improvements to the content, it is easy to turn an existing editorial piece into a podcast story. Reaching out to the original sources for quotes or soundbites is great too.

These podcasts are entirely new content, and will reach both your existing audience and brand new audiences. They can also help increase your site traffic in two ways:

  • Publish the podcast on the front page.
  • Publish each podcast story on the web pages of the original story.

Generate new content that print can’t cover

The written word and imagery are two of the most powerful forms of communication, but there is some content better suited for other types of media. Video and radio are long-standing options to cover the other content, but podcasts have become just as viable an option, possibly an even better one for one reason: money.

To do video and radio right, a high-end studio and off-site equipment can be tens of thousands of dollars upfront. Even if doing the bare basics, it involves a decent amount of time and money to produce, and then there are distribution costs on top of that.

Podcasts serve as a much more affordable solution. For a publisher looking to do it on a budget, a podcast can be produced for a few hundred up front and less than $100 a month (outside of time spent).

Best of all, podcasts are extremely versatile content. They can live on a website, be on the radio, be used in video, and be downloadable or streamable. Also, audio is the easiest form of content to consume, as it requires little to no effort, and can reach people on the go, like drivers.

Instantaneous audience and distribution

Building a brand and audience takes an immense amount of effort. Publishers know that best, as they dedicate a lot of time and money building a sizable circulation.

Fear of having to start building an audience from scratch often keeps publishers from delving into other media platforms. It’s logical; if the existing print or online audience is not there, it is hard to justify the effort of making unique content and dedicating time and energy to deliver it on those other platforms.

Podcasts escape both the issue of building a new audience and delivering the content. Actually, both issues are resolved by the same solution: where podcasts live. Almost all podcasts are hosted and delivered on high-profile applications, like iTunes, Stitcher, and Google’s podcast app.

A massive pool of people utilize these applications, and that pool covers almost every demographic and geographic group. The likelihood that a publisher’s audience already has a presence in that pool is very high. Not to mention, these people are already seeking content via podcasts and all congregated in one place, making testing for your audience much easier than other online or digital media options.

Newer, more creative advertising options

Almost every publication makes its margins off advertisement, so more advertising options is a fast way to a publisher’s heart.

On top of the traditional commercial spots, podcasts provide prime placement for sponsored content. Interview an advertiser as a podcast story. Review a product. You can even run a print story with it to upsell the opportunity. Best of all, because it is recorded, you have full control of the script, even in an interview. You also have the ability to sell sponsorship for the podcast, offsetting the costs of the podcast and generating even more profits.

Further Information

For more information regarding podcast opportunities for publishers, click here. To learn more about podcast industry statistics, click here. Further details on why podcasts should fit into your content strategy are available if you click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.


It’s a niche magazine market

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Large, national titles continue to struggle

The question of “is print dead” is still circulating around the magazine industry. However, it is the larger, more general-topic titles that are finding themselves truly pinched and struggling. Smaller, more specific titles, commonly called “niche,” are actually growing and expanding. Dedicated, specific audiences are the driving force behind this. They aren’t just consumers of content, but advocates that actively promote and support these titles. Titles that cover a wider demographic and geographic spread do not have that same buy-in from their audiences.

Titles that rely on their longstanding brands are having difficulty retaining audiences against the targeted content of niche publications. In fact, new niche titles are being created to fill the gaps being left by the larger titles. The other major component as to why larger titles are having issues: profits. The brand loyalty issue results in fewer subscriptions, which when combined with paper cost increases and shipping difficulty, all lead to struggles balancing profits and overhead.

Niche titles can skate some of these issues due to the audience buy-in, which helps bring in subscription and ad dollars. Also, smaller circulations means less print and fulfillment cost. Being niche doesn’t resolve the issues, but it helps in today’s market. Difficulty for all titles will likely continue unless industry-wide changes occur. In the meantime, niche publications will continue to expand their reach.

The Playboy Magazine Example

Playboy magazine is an example of this. Still one of the most recognizable titles in the US, it’s once 5.6 million circulation has now dwindled to below 500,000, and what was once a monthly will be a quarterly in 2019. Much of the change happening at Playboy can be attributed to a decrease in brand loyalty over the last 10 years.

The Chief Creative Officer of Playboy, Cooper Hefner, has even expressed that he plans to put more focus into online content, in an effort to “shift away from putting a lot of effort into the magazine” because of a lack of profits from the print publication.

Further Information

For more information regarding the success of niche publications, click here. To learn more about the changes to Playboy magazine, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.


SAPPI’s Ideas that Matter contest is back!

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SAPPI — one of the world’s most recognizable providers of dissolving wood pulp, paper pulp, paper-based solutions and biorefinery solutions — holds an annual contest that combines creative design and activism. Called the “Ideas that Matter” program, the contest provides recognition and support to designers that partner with organizations to bring great ideas to life. Over the course of 19 years, SAPPI has given out $13 million in grants to assist over 500 charities.

The process for each Ideas that Matter contest is simple. First, designers come up with a non-profit they want to support or develop an entirely original activism idea. Next, they create one or more design collateral pieces to submit that market and call to action that non-profit or cause. Then they submit, and SAPPI goes through and picks a few to dedicate funds towards supporting or bringing to reality.

The 2018 submission term for Ideas that Matter just ended, with entries needing to have been postmarked by July 18, 2018. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start brainstorming for next year! Designers are a busy bunch and time is hard to come by, so start focusing your efforts on your ideas and cause, and you can be well prepared when the 2019 term rolls around (and we will remind you too!)

If you already submitted, judging will take place this August and the official winners will be released in October, and should you win, you’ll have six months to bring the project you designed to life.

For more information about the Ideas that Matter program, last year’s winners, or SAPPI, click here.


USPS: CAPS Converting to EPS

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The United States Postal Service (USPS) reported a major industry change this past month. USPS is retiring its longstanding payment processing system known as CAPS (Centralized Accounting Processing System) next year, and will be requesting that all CAPS customers move over to the new payment system.

At present, there are thousands of existing customers on CAPS who will need to migrate their accounts over to the new EPS (Enterprise Payments System). Here are some important dates you need to know:

September 1, 2018

  • The ability to make new CAPS accounts will be terminated
  • USPS will only be allowing the creation of EPS accounts going forward

April 1, 2019:

  • All existing CAPS accounts must be migrated into EPS accounts by this date
  • Support for CAPS accounts (except for limited circumstances) will no longer be provided unless migrated to an EPS account

In order to help with the transition, the USPS Postal Pro team is taking charge of support for EPS migrations and can provide both guided walkthroughs and guideline sheets to simplify the process. Reach them by visiting the EPS website here or by calling (800) 522-9085.

For more information about CAPS and EPS accounts, click here.


The Amazing World of Haptics

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Sappi Paper, one of the largest paper manufacturing companies in North America, has developed a phenomenal marketing campaign to spread the message about the importance of paper. In a book and a series of videos introducing the “Neuroscience of Touch” – we learn about scientific studies that prove that touch leads to a more positive experience of a product and therefore turns into a more significant memory.

We encourage you to watch the videos and order the book by visiting their website.

The content of each video is fascinating, however, publishers should pay special attention to video number six. It’s about how the medium impacts the message. The first part of the video addresses the advantages of print over digital in certain circumstances. The second, and possibly more powerful part of the video, talks about how the QUALITY of paper you choose has far reaching implications. (You can fast forward to 2:05 on the video clip to dive right into that part – remember, it’s video #6.)


Print vs. digital:
Since 1990 there have been over 100 studies comparing reading on paper to reading on screen. All of them show that reading on paper is easier on your brain than reading on a screen. Not only is it mentally easier on you, but you remember more of what you read!

Studies have shown that reading online can increase stress levels and fatigue. They have also shown that memory and retention are better when reading on paper.

Brand and Paper Quality
Now for the exciting part… The presenter of the videos performed a study (Davenport & Eagleman – 2015) that was designed to exclusively measure how much the way a company is presented will affect what people think and feel about that company.

In the study, participants were introduced to three fictitious brands. The way each of the three companies was presented to the subjects was chosen at random. For each company, each participant was randomly given one of the three presentations:

  1. A brochure printed on heavy, high quality gloss paper
  2. A brochure printed on inexpensive, uncoated paper
  3. On a website

The design was identical (same images, same layouts, etc.) – meaning that the only change was the medium used to deliver the message. After spending 5 minutes reviewing the material, the subjects were asked questions to determine their comprehension and understanding of what said company is offering. They also were asked questions about their feelings – such as the trustworthiness of the company, the integrity of the company and their likelihood to recommend the company.

The results? First impressions were much higher when viewed on the high quality paper:

  1. The participant was more likely to have a positive first impression of the company
  2. The participant was more likely to recommend the company to a friend

They then brought the subjects back a week later to ask follow-up questions to measure long-term impact. The companies that were presented on the high quality paper:

  1. Had a higher favorability rating
  2. People were better able to recall the names of the company: 3-to-1 better than those presented on low quality or online!
  3. Were most likely to get rated for having the highest degree of quality (those presented on the low quality paper were rated the highest for causing doubt)

So you see, the medium in which you choose to deliver your content makes a difference. The paper you choose has a significant impact on how your publication is viewed by both your readers and your advertisers.


National Geographic Leads the Social Media Pack

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Last September, freelance writer/journalist Aaron Taube wrote a fantastic article on “How National Geographic Gets 8 Times the Social Engagement of Other Publishers”. In it, he discusses the merits of engaging your audience. National Geographic understands this and they have capitalized on it, boasting eight times the engagement of competing publishers.

As we take a closer look at their success, we see that National Geographic posts meaningful content that makes their followers want to engage and share their posts. Take a recent Photo of the Day, titled “Something’s Fishy” (by Pacific Wild co-founder Ian McAllister) – the photo received more than 30,000 likes on Facebook in just over three hours. When you click the Facebook link, you’ll be directed to National Geographic’s website which tells you more about the photo and also links to pictures from the feature story “In Search of the Elusive Sea Wolf Along Canada’s Rugged Coast.” This is an excellent example of an engaging post that drives traffic to their website that contains a soft-sell subscription approach.

Something’s Fishy by Ian McAllister

Something’s Fishy by Ian McAllister

Rule of thumb: It is much more effective to post captivating content that delights your audience and guide them to your site than it is to hard-sell your subscriptions in social media.

If this all sounds swell to you, but you aren’t sure where to start, we can help! Publication Printers Marketing Group (PPMG), a division of Publication Printers, is here to help educate your team on the value of social media in combination with print in your marketing mix. We will assist in the creation of your social media pages, explain the benefits of creative content, and show you how to advertise to your target market with measurable results. Click here or call 303.936.4930 for details.


File Prep: The Extra Step

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You have probably heard the phrase “print-ready” files throughout your graphic arts or publishing career. But do you really know what that means and why it’s so important?  Do you know what considerations should be made for perfect bound publications vs. saddle stitch publications? Did you know that the type of paper you print on how it will print (digitally or on the web press) will affect the color? Do you know how to correctly calibrate your monitor and which simulation profiles should be used in the Adobe software to proof your pages on screen? Are you familiar with the recommendations for running metallic inks or other PMS colors?

If this sounds completely overwhelming, don’t worry – we are here to help!

To break it down further, let’s look at why you need to know how to set up files for a perfect bound project.  A perfect bound book is created by stacking signatures on top of one another, grinding off the spines, then gluing and clamping the covers to the book blocks.  Because of this spine grind, files need to be prepared so that all text and images are even further away from the edge than on the other three sides. Something else to keep in mind with perfect bound publications is the glue hinge. This is the 1/4” area on the spine edge of the IFC to the first text page and IBC to the last text page that has to be clear of any ink so the glue can adhere to the stock when the cover is bound onto the text pages. Due to this loss, adjustments to artwork may need to be made to ensure content isn’t lost and/or crossover images line up when bound.

In the past, you may have supplied source files to your printer to output from and PDFs were only created for proofing purposes. With today’s technology, most commercial print workflows are now PDF-based.  This means that as long as your layout is built correctly for your project, you can now generate a “print-ready” PDF file to submit to your printer. This will minimize the potential for error and reduces the time it takes to produce your project.

PDF stands for Portable Document Format.  Supplying print-ready PDFs speeds up all of the processes required for your job in our pre-press department by creating a simple workflow, providing for a hassle free transition from design through print and delivery.

A print-ready PDF must meet certain criteria for your file to print without encountering problems. (Additional criteria may be required depending on your project specifications.)

  • The document’s page size is correct and exact.  (E.g.: do not set your files up to be 8.5 x 11 – they must be 8.375 x 10.875 for most magazines)
  • Files are supplied with a minimum of 1/8” bleed.
  • Any printer’s marks are outside the 1/8” bleed area.
  • Fonts are embedded or converted to outlines.
  • All resolution is 300 dpi at 100% of the final image size.
  • Artwork not meant to bleed is at least 1/4” from the trim edge; this is the top, bottom and face of the page.
  • Small black text is 100% black and not a mix of CMYK.
  • The file is supplied as CMYK and does not contain PMS colors or other color space such as RGB. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology don’t worry, we will convert it for you, though some colors may shift.
  • Any multiple-page PDF consists of single pages running from the front cover through to the back cover, including blank pages if needed.
  • All files are clearly labeled.

Once the layout has been built and meets the criteria for your project, you are now ready to export to PDF. We can provide you with PDF instructions for all major layout software and versions. These instructions will walk you through setting up a preset to generate PDFs that are usable by us. However, they will not “fix” files that are setup incorrectly.  Remember, if you have questions about color management, file prep and layout, we can help!

For these reasons and so many more, it is important that your files are set up as correctly as possible to ensure the highest quality on your publication.  Don’t be intimidated, however, as we have a resident Prepress Technical Advisor/Customer Trainer, Michele McNutt, who is here to help you every step of the way.  If you are in Colorado, we invite you to set up a meeting at our plant with Michele to get you on the right track.  If you’re not local and you need dedicated support in building your files, don’t worry – we can send Michele to you!

This is one of the many services we offer that sets us apart from the “other guys.” The experts in our prepress department and their availability to you is unparalleled. That’s because we believe in investing in the long-term success of our customers. We want to help you succeed and grow – and you might also refer your friends our way.




Digital Magazines, a Happy Compliment to Print

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Digital magazines are awesome! We are big fans, but do we think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread? Only when used in conjunction with print. In our always on the go world, we are constantly looking for ways to optimize our time. Digital magazines are great for when you’re on vacation, but should they be a substitute for print? Definitely not.

In a recent article from FOLIO:  “Unpacking Print’s Luxurious Future”, Michael Brunt predicts that within the next few years, printed magazines will be classified as an affordable luxury item. When you look at the big picture, this prediction makes perfect sense. While Baby Boomers are flocking to social media and digital editions in record breaking numbers, Millennials are fleeing. Millennials are overwhelmed by the all too digital world, and seeking tactile experiences. This is where printed magazines can capitalize.

Millennials are constantly bombarded by screens, and are in search of ways to unplug. What better way to relax than to curl up with a printed copy of your favorite publication? Tablets and smart phones are excellent ways to stay up to date with your favorite magazines when you are traveling, but cannot compete with the multisensory experience of print.

WWD July CoverTribune Publishing’s Los Angeles Times and Penske Media Corp’s Women’s Wear Daily have just announced their unique new partnership. This is what happens when the worlds of print and digital collide to better serve consumers- increased readership across both platforms.

In the post, “8 Lessons From the Failure of Digital Magazines to Revolutionize Publishing” from Publishing Executive, D. Eadward Tree muses, “In the same way, we must first build passionate audiences that will crave our addictive content regardless of the medium and only then concern ourselves with fitting our content to the device du jour.”

WWD and LA Times are great examples of first creating content that consumers want and then serving it the way they desire, in a mutually beneficial way for both companies. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this lucrative endeavor.


USPS Price Increase (Updated)

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Update! Announced March 27th, 2015 – the price increase has been delayed. The new date for the increases has not been set.

From USPS:

“The Postal Service Governors decided today to delay the implementation of new market-dominant and competitive rates and classification changes until all of our proposed market-dominant changes are approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.  This decision was primarily motivated by a desire to eliminate potential adverse impacts on postal customers that might result from a staggered implementation of our new prices…”


Prices are going up, folks. Applicable as of April 26, 2015.

Direct from USPS:

“In addition to the approval of the First-Class increases, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the following increases to the below competitive products:


  • Parcel Select will increase on average 8.0% for non-Lightweight Parcel Select
  • Parcel Return Service will have an overall price increase of 4.8% (increase will be determined by where parcel is retrieved)
  • First-Class Package Service will increase 5.1% with no structural changes
  • Standard Post will increase 11.4%.  Prices in Zones 1-4 continue to align with retail Priority Mail prices and receive Priority Mail service and only default to Standard Post if item is not permitted to travel by air


  • Priority Mail International (PMI) overall increase will be 5.5% and Canada pricing will be zoned

NOTE:  PMI Flat Rate, Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained, except for the establishment of new zoned prices based on origin ZIP Code for PMI destined to Canada.

  • Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) overall increase will be 6.7%
  • Global Express Guaranteed overall increase will be 7.2%

NOTE:  GXG Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained.

  • International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) will increase by 4.5%
  • Airmail M-Bags will increase by 6.8%
  • First-Class Package International Service overall increase will be 7.2%

NOTE:  FCPIS Retail, Commercial Base and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained


There are also increases to some Extra Services both Domestic and International.  You can find these details and additional information on the ruling in the PRC’s Order Approving Changes in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products issued on Feb. 25, 2015.”


Don’t Just Talk About Yourself, Social Media Fundamentals, part 3

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This is part three in our series to help introduce social media to the publishers who feel like they haven’t figured it all out yet.

In part 1, we talked about why you might want to try jumping into social media, and in part 2, we defined what people want from your social posts.

Now, it’s time to get a bit more specific and help you avoid some of the pitfalls into which people tend to fall when posting to a brand’s social media pages.

Continue Reading →

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