Help Me Spread the Real News
Long ago I created a special section on my Google News page called “Printing News.” Twice a day, I check it out so that I get breaking news that relates to our industry.
It’s not perfect. Lots of days there’s nothing really interesting to read, nothing I want to “share” via Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. Much of the time, the articles deal with desktop printers. Or, they have phrases like “the printed word” sprinkled throughout.
Today, I read that production of a new, multimillion-dollar printing press being built in Tokyo for J.S. McCarthy Printers in Augusta, ME, has been delayed because of the tsunami. This is the sort of news I’m looking for. I happen to know the good people at J.S. McCarthy, and while I knew that they’re expanding, I hadn’t realized a big press was being built in Tokyo. Certainly that’s sharable news, whether you’re a customer, prospect, vendor, friend or even a competitor of J.S. McCarthy. So I spread the news.
Hours later, I checked back and saw an interesting headline way up ‘above the fold’ in this same section. This time, it wasn’t company news; rather, it appeared to be an objective educational piece about the basic printing services that every business needs. That’s what the headline suggested, anyway.
Since I write exactly this sort of article, I figured, what the heck, I’ll bite. So I clicked through and spent a few minutes reading what turned out to be junk. Garbage. Crapola. Something that’s obviously been planted by an online printing company that’s trying to convince you that everything you need printed can be bought online. I couldn’t determine who the author really was. I wanted to write to him or her and let him have it (professionally, of course).
To add insult to this injury, the writing was God awful. It galled me that the information the author promised to share with a deceptive headline was really just a badly written plug for a company.
Here’s the kicker: I read a similar piece last week. It was by someone else on a different site. It, too, pretended to tell readers why picking printers is an important decision. The information was so top-to-bottom bad, I had to write a “Print Tip” on that same topic this week (www.printbuyersinternational.com).
I am a fan of all sorts of printing companies, by the way. Real facilities, online firms, big-box-store print centers...you name it. What I’m no fan of is fake journalism. I’d hate to think that businesspeople are reading these thin pieces and making decisions based on them.
I suppose many of the online article sites have no editors, no one putting the brakes on self-promotional pieces claiming to be objective.
So, with that said, I invite all printers out there to pen their own articles or blog posts. Add them to your sites, your customer newsletters, your local business journals, and each and every online article site you can find that will accept it.
Tell people how to work with the printing industry. Share your wisdom in small posts and long articles. Be informational, not promotional.
If more and more people are getting their news and information online, let’s be sure what they’re learning about the printing business is fair and accurate.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com