VNR mistakes and circulation woes

Differences between digital and offset printing, pros and cons of co-op product tours, and more

Differences between digital and offset printing, pros and cons of co-op product tours, and more

Printing services

My company is working with a printer that offers digital and offset services. What is the difference between them, and which is better for basic marketing materials?

The main difference between the two methods is that materials printed digitally are done so electronically, and offset material is produced on a printing press with ink, says Marc Heft of Pims.

"When deciding between offset and digital printing, consider turnaround time and the quantity," he adds.

Heft says digital printing is a better option for something that needs to be produced quickly or in small quantity, such as press clips, fact sheets, or product slicks. "When producing a large quantity, the offset option is usually more cost-effective," he says. "For smaller runs, producing the piece digitally is going to result in a lower cost."

Heft advises clients who use folders, letterhead, and envelopes for multiple projects to print a higher quantity, as they will save a significant amount of money in the long run. "For example, printing 1,500 press-kit folders at one time costs a lot less than printing the same folder in three runs of 500 each," he says. "Planning ahead can result in significant cost savings, as well as not being caught short of material when an unexpected need arises."

SMTs

What are the advantages and disadvantages of placing your product in a shared segment?

There are some obvious benefits to placing your client in a co-op tour, such as sharing the costs, relying on the vendor for the creative-segment idea, and depending on a third party to bring all the pieces together, says Natalie Weissman of PLUS Media.

"When determining whether to place your client in a co-op tour or pursue a single client SMT, remember that some products lend themselves to the roundup nature of co-ops, such as consumer products, health and beauty, and technology," she says.

Because products that have a common interest are grouped together, the PR professional should take a good look at his or her client to determine whether the client can function in a co-op tour environment.

"Taking on a single client tour lays more responsibility on the client and the PR pro, but with that comes the benefit of not having to share the spotlight," Weissman says. "The key is whether or not a story on that single client can be positioned as newsworthy."

VNRs

What are some common mistakes that are made when planning a VNR?

One of the most common mistakes is in the script-writing, says Amy Goldwert Eskridge of AGE Productions.

"You don't have the liberty of mentioning your product or company name over and over in a VNR," she says. "Product mentions are an automatic turnoff [for viewers], so you have to find more subtle ways of getting your messages across."

As a general rule, one product mention in the narration and one within a sound bite is sufficient.

"Explain to your client that a VNR is [basically] an explanation of the facts and a tool to help stations decide if the story is valuable to their viewers, and, if so, how they can tell a balanced, objective story in their allotted time slot," she explains. "A one-sided VNR with multiple product mentions will dissuade a producer from using any of the VNR, resulting in time, effort, and money wasted."

Internet

Are all of the circulation woes at newspapers due to the internet?

The internet has certainly contributed to a shift in how some people obtain information, but it doesn't deserve the entire blame, says Peter Pollak of Empire Information Services.

Pollak says he's met with editors across New York state that have other theories. "One managing editor sees a drop-off in readership from the baby boomer generation," he says. "These people are not switching to the internet. They're showing signs of being overwhelmed by tragedies, war, and the inability of government to govern."

Loss of newspaper readership, then, might be tied to a larger social phenomenon, not something the newspapers themselves are doing wrong, he adds.

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