While the world is caught up in digital media outlets including websites, blogs, and social media; it must remember that print is still a viable. I am a firm believer that traditional media outlets including print, radio, and television (if you have the money) are great outlets to drive online traffic. While the masses are heading online, a vast majority of audiences are still looking at print forms of media. When reaching an audience with print media, you must direct a reader online, with a call to action. Recently, it was brought to my attention that the USA Today launched a “TV on the Web” section in late July. The section below, directed readers online with links as well as QR codes to sites that host webisodes and original online programming.

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Print media is still used to drive traffic to other media outlets. Internet and television are on a crash course for further integration in the coming years. As television becomes more “web ready,” print media outlets will direct the masses to the largest form of media in the family home. This is the first step in future print, Internet, and television integration. As the three merge, the importance of integrated marketing communications will grow. Media professionals must think of innovative ideas to engage audiences on all platforms. By finding new ways to integrate print and online media, professionals can be thought leaders in their field. How do you market your small business?

While USA Today has led the way with print and digital integration, small businesses can learn a very important lesson. While many small businesses have small budgets to market themselves; digital media is generally a low costing form of marketing. Small businesses that already send out newsletters or purchase newspaper advertisements can use some of the concepts shown in the USA Today section.

Lets use a local restaurant for example:

  • Your monthly newsletter or newspaper ad can have a similar format to the section shown above.
  • Instead of a Showing Now section, include the event calendar for the upcoming month. Make sure to include a QR code to the events page on your website.
  • For, Our Top Picks, include short descriptions of your “menu item of the month” and your “featured drink specials.” Use QR codes to take the reader to a slideshow of other menu and drink items. You can use social photo sites such as Flickr to hold your slide show.
  • Also in, Our Top Picks, include a short description of your menu with a QR code that takes the reader to the menu page on your website.
  • For the main articles include a summary of specific monthly events and a QR code to your blog  that has a full description of the event.
  • Finally, use a section and QR code to direct readers to your website and social media presence including your branded Facebook and Twitter sites.

Small local businesses have access and the money to create innovative content. They just need to take the time to create it. An integrated newsletter or advertisement can be created for any type of business. Just be sure to highlight relevant content, and direct users online. An integrated print newsletter can further a small businesses brand awareness in their local area. Staying innovative in a small market can make you stand out and save you marketing dollars.