I've been working online in some shape or form since the mid 1990s when I was an undergraduate at the University of Limerick. Back then the internet was novel and I used it mostly to compensate for the lack of books in the university's library (they did have lots of books - just not that many on topics I needed).
Now in 2012 a lot more people are online. Broadband speeds have improved and dialup is slowly dying out.
But we, in industry, run a huge risk. It's far too easy for us to completely overlook offline media.
It's become so easy and natural for the "digital natives" to engage each other online via blogs, social networks, email etc., that it's all too easy to overlook the power and reach of the printed word. We might scoff at print media and make dismissive comments about it, but ignoring it is shortsighted and probably risky.
I've always felt that print media should be an important component of any marketing and advertising campaign, but when it comes to pushing opinion and advocacy I firmly believe that it's not just important, but a key factor.
Buying column inches in print isn't complicated, it's just expensive. Placing display ads in glossy magazines simply requires a budget commitment.
They're both more expensive in many respects than online advertising and "pay per click". It's also harder to calculate a return.
But getting actual coverage in print media (as well as other traditional media) is not something that you can simply buy. You have to work hard to earn it.
Personally I think it's worth it.
Today, for example, an opinion piece I wrote is running in The Sunday Business Post. It's not advertising our services, either directly or indirectly. It's not pushing people to buy anything from us. It's an article where I share my opinion. My voice. My thoughts.
It'll reach a totally different audience to the one that either this post or the copy of the article on our blog will reach. Will it change anything? Who knows, but it will be read by people who would never find this site or have any reason to go near the company one.