Trucking’s Impact on Printers and Publishers in 2020

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2020 has been a chaotic year across the board. Despite COVID-19, the trucking industry has seen improvement, which will help serve publishers and printers long-term.

Leading into the 2020 year, the trucking industry was suffering from a shortage of drivers and general inconsistency across large-haul shipping timelines. When COVID-19 measures in the United States started to take affect in March 2020, this furthered those issues. Stay-at-home orders, figuring out quarantine processes, safe-shipping policies, and other security measures meant shipping in general saw significant slow-downs and needs for improvement, and that included the trucking industry as a whole.

However, after a few months of COVID-19, companies implemented many of new security and health measures to help resolve the issues. Further, a major change in household activities also started to take place. People across the country started relying on delivered goods to meet their everyday needs, and not just for recreation purposes. Toiletries, food, and much more started being delivered door-to-door, and that meant shipping became the primary means of providing everyday necessities, and trucking the means to get those needed goods from one place to another.

Trucking has not done a 180 from the beginning of 2020, but it is in a much better place. Trucking companies hire new drivers constantly. Timeline consistency has improved when it comes to standard shipping of goods. Most of all, demand is high!

Where the trucking industry stands at the end of 2020

The trucking industry on its own looks good, thanks to a steady influx of new drivers and increased demand. That said, the state of the industry when shipping comes into play lies somewhere between “incredibly busy” and “incredibly hindered.”

What does “busy” mean for the trucking industry?

The “busy” part is a good thing, and is not going away anytime soon. Forecasting shows a permanent shift in shopping and necessity-acquisition patterns in the United States. Projections show that delivered good are to continually increase over time, COVID or not. Demand for these delivered goods leads to further demand for trucking, and likely continued patterns of more drivers hired and more trucks being utilized for long-haul.

What does “hindered” mean for the trucking industry?

The “hindered” part, on the other hand, is also a long-term situation. Unfortunately, this is not within the control of trucking and freight companies. Due to the increase in shipping, sorting centers and mail organizations (public and private) are having a difficult time maintaining their timelines and handling the influx in product. Simply put, there are too many goods moving through the pipeline, and these organizations are at capacity. While this does not inherently hurt trucking, it means that the goods being moved by truck are not being offloaded in a timely fashion. This impacts trucking timelines in many situations.

The current state of the trucking industry

Both the busy and hindered situations became exacerbated leading into November and December of 2020, which are already notorious for shipping delays and timeline fluctuations. Some mail and sorting centers leave trucks to sit for days without being unloaded. In fact, USPS put measures into place to redirect trucking away from certain centers to avoid further back-ups, with embargos even being implemented in some cities.

Overall, trucking in 2020 has seen growth and improvement in its own industry, but met difficulties related to shipping and delivery of goods caused by COVID-19. It’s a mixed result that bodes well for the future of trucking, but also shows the need for some major improvements for how trucking and sorting centers interact.

How the trucking industry in 2020 impacts publishers

Publishers took some major blows due to COVID-19: required shifts into remote work, needs to drum up alternative revenue, shrinking bullpens, and much more. Something needed to happen for publishers that could act as a universal glimmer of hope in the dark of 2020. Luckily, two things happened, but both are long-term victories, and are just now beginning to impact publishers.

First is the vaccine. 2020 saw Americans spending significantly larger quantity of time, leading to a sizeable bump in content consumption, print and digital. While this put publishers in a space to succeed, other 2020 struggles meant few could capitalize on the opportunity. The vaccine gives hope for a more “normal” 2021. Publishers can get back into their routines and function at full capacity. This should allowing more publishers to capitalize on a long-term increase in reading magazines, books, and other publications.

Second is trucking. Sorting centers and shipping in general are heavily influencing trucking, leading to inconsistencies and hinderances. That said, more truck drivers are entering the market and freight is increasing in volume, which is a good sign. It means a future with easier capability to deliver on a national, and even international scale. It also means potential reductions in costs long-term due to the high volume of trucking.

How the trucking industry in 2020 impacts printers

Printers do a lot more than simply print publications. They are also responsible for coordinating with trucking and shipping to get product delivered to publishers and/or readers. That means any impact to trucking can impact the ability for a printer to get goods moved in a timely manner. A boost in the trucking industry is a step towards better delivery times and rates on shipping for publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about the state of trucking in relation to COVID-19, click here and here. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on publishers, click here. If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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2019: Awards and Recognitions for Publication Printers Corp.

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For more than 40 years, Publication Printers has been carving its niche in the publication printing world. During those years of growth and progress, we have earned recognition not only as a printing company, but as an organization in general.

To showcase capabilities, and to also help the publishers we partner with, Publication Printers enters into several annual print competitions. These shows provide us the opportunity to showcase our work, and continue to prove our place in the industry as a world-class printer. Here is a quick rundown of our results in 2019 so far:

Publication Printers Takes Home “Best of Show” and more from WSPA:

The Western States Printing Alliance is one of many regional print association chapters across the United States, and the chapter in which Publication Printers participates. They host an annual award contest for the best works of the year in numerous categories, and also crown one submission as the Best of Show. Publication Printers submitted 6 entries in total, and brought home 5 awards!

  • Best of Show Award (comes with automatic entry for the Benny awards at PIA!)

Category: Heatset Web Magazine (swept the category)

  • Gold Award
  • Silver Award
  • Bronze Award

Category: Catalog

  • Silver Award

Further Information

To see the awards Publication Printers brought home in 2018, click here. If you would like more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Print is ALIVE & WELL

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10 Facts to Support Your Sales Efforts

  • Print publications are considered the most trusted news and content sources in the USA, with a 72% approval rate, higher than TV news, websites, and social media coverage. (Mediashift)
  • 95% of people under the age of 25 are reading magazines, with an average of an hour spent with each new issue, better than the average of 15 seconds a user spends on a website. (Magazine Media Factbook)
  • Print provides a tactile experience that is proven to increase engagement, memory of content, and sense of quality. (Sappi Paper)
  • 70% of Americans enjoy reading printed magazines even though they know they could find most of the same information online. (State of the Media Democracy from Deloitte Research)
  • Despite the vast amount of electronic and digital technology, print is still the favored medium across all age groups for reading and safekeeping of documents. (IPSOS; Two Sides; and Print Power)
  • In the U.S., more than 65% of paper was recycled, making it the most recycled commodity. (American Forest & Paper Association)
  • Private tree farmers average planting 4 million trees a day, 3-4x what is harvested a day for all uses, not just paper. (International Paper, Go Paper, Grow Trees website)
  • There are 20% more trees in the U.S. today than there were on the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. (American Forest & Paper Association)
  • Over 30% of digital transactions have an origin point that can be traced to print media. (PWC)
  • 66% of paper comes from sawmill scraps, wood chips, and recycled paper. Only 1/3 requires cutting down trees, and PPC only chooses paper that was responsibly farmed. (U.S. EPA/Choose Print)

Further Information

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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2018: Awards and Recognitions for PPC

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Publication Printers has grown a great deal from its humble beginnings in 1979. With that growth has come recognition not only as a printing company, but as an organization in general.

One of the most important things we can do as a company is to see how our brand has changed and how the industry sees us as a whole. There is no better way to do that than to look back at the awards, accolades, and recognition we received. Here is a quick rundown of 2018:

Colorado Biz names PPC 26th top Colorado private business:

The Colorado Business Magazine, more commonly known as Colorado Biz, puts out an annual list of the top 250 private businesses in Colorado. We have consistently been in the top 50 for years, but we made a 9 spot jump from 2017 to 2018, which shows how much progress we are making as a company.

Publication Printers was also nominated runner-up by the Colorado Biz readers for the “Best Printer” in the Colorado Biz Best of Colorado Business Choice awards.

PPC Takes Home the 2018 “Benny” for Heatset Web Magazines:

There are a number of annual publication printing award shows that span different types of print, different types of publications, art design, staff, and a gamut of other realms. For 2018, the most notable award we received was the Benny Award, one of the nation’s most recognized awards for print quality. Publication Printers also received several other awards in various categories from award shows:

Printing Industries of America: Premiere Print Awards

  • The “Benny” Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)

WSPA: Print Excellence Awards

  • Gold Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)
  • Silver  Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)
  • Bronze Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)

Printing Impressions: Gold Ink Awards

  • Gold Award (Specialty Magazine, Web)
  • Bronze Award (Trade Magazine, Web)
  • Bronze Award (Business Catalog, Web)
  • Pewter Award (Consumer Magazine)
  • Pewter Award (Magazine Cover)

Further Information

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Magazines Still Need Print: The Facts

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Print is alive and well, despite the abundance of whispers still asking the question. Over the past decade, the magazine industry has seen huge shifts in business, due to innovations in online and digital media. However, no matter how big the shift has been, print remains vital to the industry, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Here are the reasons why!

Revenue matters, and print is still the breadwinner:

Advertisements from print were responsible for over $16 billion in revenue in 2016 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, commonly PwC). Around 87% of revenue related to circulation that year was also coming from print products.

Digital publishing has allowed for lower start-up costs for new publications, but the stream of revenue is not there for most. Only a select few, with the right niche topics and an abundance of alternative revenue streams (subscription video, social media advertising, tiered content strategies, other products, etc.) have found themselves extremely profitable with an all-digital publication. Most end up closing shop or integrating print just to balance the scale.

That said, to quote the president of Meredith’s National Media Group: “… print and digital; not print or digital. In today’s industry, balancing both is the key to success.

Data for print ROI has come a long way:

One of the biggest appeals of digital marketing and advertising is the ability to track information on a very precise level, or it used to be. With so many fake accounts and bots and other mechanisms, digital analytics related to sales or chain-of-purchase, or even just page views, is now incredibly hard to make accurate.

This does not change the fact that realistic data can be a huge asset. That is why so many publishers have worked to develop data algorithms that help prove ROI, track actual chain of purchase, and other vital details specific to print publications … and it is now a reality.

Bauer Media is one of the leaders pioneering print data analytics. Their software provides research data about advertisement and readership as a whole to help show advertisers how ads can help them meet their goals. The result is that Bauer makes ¾ of its revenue from print, and is thriving in today’s market.

Frequency and newsstand dates make a difference:

Digital publications, and online content producers in general suffer from online audiences expecting constant, consistent new stuff. As publishers strain to pump out content, they shift their focus from quality to quantity.

Print publications have a much lighter expectation for content, with weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annual releases being perfectly normal. Not to mention, the slight variations in how often, and when it goes to actually producing the publication, can make a huge difference in dollars.

Vanity Fair is a great example of this. They combined December and January issues into a “holiday” issue, and also fused July and August to make a “summer” issue. This adjusted their schedule in the newsstands by just a few days, but meant saving a lot of money in printing costs. It also allowed them to have a flexible issue that they release in February related to the award show. It is not part of the normal print schedule, so it can fit in wherever is most affordable for their printer.

For digital publications, adjusting distribution makes little to no monetary change outside of the cost to produce content within a certain timeframe, and the staff needed to do it.

Further Information

For more detail on these facts about print and more, click here. You can also check out this article about 4 major reasons print is still around in a digital age.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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2019 Strategy & Ideas from Top Publication Execs

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A recent Folio: article covered an incredibly powerful story for magazines regarding the 2019 year. The article features 9 media executives, all of whom have print publications, and details on the strategies they have in mind for the new year. Here are some of the general takeaways:

What did they learn from 2018:

The lessons and ideas these executives took from the previous year run the gamut. That said, there was one overarching theme for almost all of the executives: people are the most important aspect of keeping print and publishing a thriving industry.

2018 was a year where newspapers and magazines alike sought to lower overhead and drive more revenue. One of the big pushes was to decrease staff (the largest expense, on average), and increase advertisement sales. While this helped solve issues for some, overall it scared the industry. Content does not write itself, and quality content is hard to come by these days. Losing staff means more strain and work for those left, and when quantity is forced, quality suffers.

The executives all agreed that putting faith and energy and money into their staff can make the difference. To quote the original story: “the difference between success and failure will come down to the most important capital we have: people.”

What are they focusing on for 2019:

First and foremost, the 9 mentioned executives were all from businesses that avoided the heavy cutting of their staff. Thus, they were able to maintain quality content and look for new innovations for 2019.

So on top of optimizing the way they use their personnel, each executive has their own action plan for 2019. Some of the executives are planning to relaunch their brands to drive new engagement. Others developing new business models to expand their streams of revenue. Some are investing in new content solutions of entirely new product lines. What is important to note is that, across the board, all of them are looking at 2019 with positivity, and as an opportunity for growth and progress.

Along with positivity, they do also share a drive to expand beyond the pages of their publications, print or digital. Each of these executives is incorporating an idea that has been slowly adopted by the printing industry over the past decade: convergence. Simply put, specialize in one thing, but build an expertise and offering in complementary areas to your specialty. From events to storefronts to agencies, each executive and their publications are broadening what they do, to better serve both their audiences and other businesses.

Further Information

To read the original Folio: story, click here.
Executive Perspectives: How 9 Media Leaders are Strategizing for the New Year

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Love Your Paper

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How upgrading paper can improve your bottom line.

Paper is the heart of a print publication. The moment someone picks up a book, a magazine, or any printed piece, even before they start reading, they feel it, and making that experience a priority can improve your bottom line and the amount of engagement you receive.

“I will never go to newsprint again… This is the perfect stock for us! And the fact that several ad agencies and other media outlets have frequently commented on the substantial improvement in our products adds to the testimonial of the paper stock.” – Gary Hibert | Owner/Publisher of Colorado Parent

There are numerous, powerful reasons why upgrading from newsprint to glossy paper can help grow your revenue, but here are two of the biggest:

Reason # 1 – Upgrade in Perceived Quality

By upgrading your paper, you are upgrading the quality of your publication. When compared side by side, your magazine will stand out above any other publication printed on newsprint. This improves the perception of your brand, increases the likelihood it will be picked up off of a rack, and therefore, more likely to be read by more people.

As an added advantage, research shows that people tend to hold on to glossy magazines for a longer period of time and share it with friends and family. Advertisers understand these differences and will pay more to advertise in a higher quality magazine!

Reason # 2 – Upgrade in Visual Quality

Full-color photos and graphic images really “pop” off the page on glossy paper. For example, if you are appealing to parents, whose worlds revolve around kids, when you think of kids, you think COLOR!

Color attracts attention! Many of your advertisers already know this and they design colorful ads for this very reason. Are you providing them the best vehicle for that ad to stand out? In the world of publishing, best vehicle = glossy paper and heatset printing.

Test it Out

We are equipped with a complete digital printing department. As a test this month, why don’t you take the files from your last issue and print a dozen sales copies on glossy paper? You can give them to your top advertisers to obtain feedback.

The idea of making a change like this can be intimidating and overwhelming. But do not worry! You don’t have to do it alone – we are here to help every step along the way.

Further Information

To learn more about the differences between various stocks and types of paper, click here. For more information on the benefits of coated and glossy paper, click here.

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

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USPS changes for 2019, updated

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Update (12/28/18)

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) officially approved the price alterations proposed by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The various changes to price, as well as to structure, postage statements, and technical specifications will all roll out starting January 27th of 2019.

The details of these changes are very specific, so the best way to learn about them is to attend the upcoming webinar being hosted by the USPS. Anyone can call in or join using the information provided below.

2019 USPS Price Increase Update Webinar

Date of Webinar: Tuesday, January 15th
Time of Webinar: 1pm Eastern Standard Time
Length of Webinar: 1 hour

You can attend the webinar by clicking here, entering your information, and clicking join. The webinar meeting number is 745 607 288.

You can also choose to simply call in and listen to the presentation by calling 1-855-860-7461 (US toll free) or 1-678-317-2063 (US). The teleconference code is 737 719 4840.

For further questions regarding the changes and these USPS information updates, please contact Cathy Scocco.

eDoc Version Support

Along with the new changes, the Postal Customer Council (PCC) is making minor updates to improve the eDoc support. On January 13, 2019, changes to the PostalOne! system will take place. For more information on what versions are going to be supported or not, you can read this document or visit the PCC website.

CAPS retiring, EPS migration required
USPS gave notice last June that they would  be retiring its longstanding payment processing system known as CAPS (Centralized Accounting Processing System) in 2019.

The deadline to migrate CAPS accounts over to EPS (Enterprise Payments System) is April 1st. After that day, support for CAPS accounts (except for limited circumstances) will no longer be provided.

To learn more about CAPS, EPS, and the reason behind the changes, click here. If you need help with setting up EPS, you can click here.
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Original Story

The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently submitted new prices to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed price changes, should they be approved, would take effect on January 27, 2019. The proposed price changes will raise Mailing Services product prices by approximately 2.5%. There would also be changes to Shipping Services pricing, though this would vary by product.

Cause for the changes can be greatly attributed to the current market conditions. The Governors of the Postal Service feel that these new rates will help keep USPS competitive, while also providing needed revenue for the postal service.

One of the largest impacts to the American public, which includes publishers, would be a change in stamp prices. A 5-cent increase to First-Class Mail Forever stamp has been proposed, from 50 cents to 55 cents, but the “additional ounce” pricing would be reduced to 15 cents. This means stamped letters over 2 ounces will have a higher stamp cost but have reduced shipping rates.

Further Information

For more information on the proposed USPS postal prices for 2019, click here. To see the slides from the price change proposal webinar from USPS, click here.

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

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Pantone Color Calls for Environmental Preservation

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Pantone has become a corporate icon thanks to its Color of the Year. For 2019, they decided to leverage that influence by using their color choice to discuss a greater topic than color: environmental preservation.

The VP of Pantone’s color consulting unit, Laurie Pressman, expressed that preserving nature was a hot topic, both in the sense that it is avoided heavily while also needing to be addressed. Pressman went on to explain that a coral-natured color was also a natural choice to represent this. Coral provides shelter and sustenance for marine life and also helps purify water. So they chose the color “Living Coral”.

This is not the first time that Pantone has dove into these waters. The Color of the Year for 2017 was “Greenery.” It represented a similar notion of environmental preservation and “going green.”

How this impacts the magazine industry:

Retail is the largest industry influences by the Pantone colors. Retail also makes up a significant amount of advertisements in the magazine industry. By proxy, that means a lot of Pantone colors in magazines. With Living Coral, that also means the message and general idea of environmental preservation will also pervade magazines.

Luckily, environmental preservation is huge in the magazine industry. From FSC paper to Print Releaf, there are numerous ways publishers can make their titles “green.” However, those efforts rarely have anything to do with editorial content or the ads within.

Having the ability to connect a publisher’s efforts with something as well known as a Pantone color provides branding opportunities. Leverage social media, editorial content, and other avenues of content distribution to piggyback on the topic and reap benefits that are normally much harder to achieve.

Details on “Living Coral:”

The Pantone Color Institute chooses a new color every year and has done so for over two decades. That color has become the color most likely to impact “product development and purchasing decisions” for the upcoming year. The 2019 Color of the Year is “Living Coral.”

Living Coral won, according to Pantone, because it “appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media. Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities …”

Further Information

To learn more about the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, click here.

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

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Facebook Instant Articles Further Improved to Help Publishers

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Facebook has had a lot of ups and downs when it comes to working with publishers. In the past year, everything from “fake news” catching algorithms to video metric misinformation has plagued the media giant. However, there have been some beneficial strides as well, and Instant Articles is the greatest of these.

Instant Articles are a way to directly connect professional editorial content to the Facebook newsfeed. The idea is to simplify the ease of access for readers to high-quality content. Content providers include magazines, newspapers, and other professional content producers. Instant Articles provide another means to monetize Facebook by providing subscription models and advertising capabilities as well.

The idea behind Instant Articles was always to help content producers reach readers where they actually consume content, social media. For that reason, each time Instant Articles are optimized, it is either for the improvement of access to content or to make providing content easier.

The most recent improvements to Instant Articles include cutting down development time for publishers, making it easier to integrate with the subscription/paywall system, and a call-to-action screen to urge readers to follow a publisher on Facebook. Future improvements include the ability to target posts specifically to subscribers, integrate existing website subscriber lists, and to adjust the content distribution algorithm for continued improvement of reach to ideal readerships.

It is important to remember that social media channels exist for the benefit of the end user, the readership. That means Facebook will implement changes to improve the user experience at the expense of helping publishers and other organizations. Therefore, publishers need to be wary and protect their brands. It is best to consult with a social media professional who specializes in working with publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about what Instant Articles are, click hereTo see more information on the recent updates to Facebook Instant Articles, click here.

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

Image courtesy of Facebook Instant Articles
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