Print isn't dying - the case of Forbes

Forbes is undoubtedly a content leader when it comes to finance and success. Recently, they provided a great overview of how they have managed to move from print to cross-platform, with an innovative and brand-loyal approach which still holds print as a critical part of the business. Here are some of the key takeaways:

“Clarity is key to innovation” - If your vision is clear, your voice strong, and your content consistent, then the mixing of on- and offline media will be a less intrusive step. Your key content pieces should consistently represent what your brand is all about. With this approach, adding additional media pieces and scaling your content will be a transparent process which will not alienate your readership.

“Online, the audience wants to mix it up” - While straight content and clear editorial pieces may be perfect for a print magazine, it just won’t fly in a digital environment. Multiple engaging content channels are needed to supplement editorial content online. But that also doesn’t mean that editorial and multimedia can’t be combined to form innovative and immersive content- it just takes a bit of creative journalism.

Social media can extend print edition awareness - Forbes has gone all-in with social media, and reaped the benefits of such dedication. Social interaction has increased awareness of their print edition and led them to develop a mobile version which unifies all of their platforms- print, interactive and social. With consistent social media interaction, it’s possible to increase awareness of any type of content with multiple distinct target groups.

Forbes is proof that print is not dead, and that with the thoughtful implementation of a clear, cross-platform business plan, the print magazine can thrive in the digital world. Their newsstand sales are up while the industry as a whole is down. By refocusing their brand message to include all modern channels and staying true to their core message, Forbes has become a case study in magazine sustainability in the digital age. They have found a balanced mix of print and digital, and we recommend that all print publications aim to do the same.

Source:, "Inside Forbes - How a magazine can help drive a powerful digital publishing platform" April 2013
Image: B.K. Dewey via Flickr Creative Commons License