Each Friday, Points North gives a senior media figure a platform to air their views on a topical or relevant issue.

This week it’s Salim Uddin-Khandakar, CEO of Salutions Publishing. He argues that there’s a future for print publishing because it complements, rather than competes against, digital.

When my wife, Beverley, and I launched Salutions Publishing a little over 14 years ago, nobody could have foreseen the explosion in web-based digital content and hand-held technology that, overnight, could have wiped out old analogue print media.

salimWell, we’re still here, and despite many ups and downs, we’ve managed to succeed where many of our competitors have failed. Publishing four glossy titles, including Didsbury Magazine and Hale&Bowdon Magazine, has been quite a balancing act, but we’ve managed to do it because of a few key factors.

We know our market and our target audience, and have built up a fantastic network of key people and connections. Our advertisers and readers think of us as being part of the community and want to be in our pages. Of course, our local businesses want to sell, and our readers want to read; we have to introduce them to each other, which we do by making them want to open our pages when our magazines drops on their doorsteps. We’re a free glossy, but, and this is important, we don’t look or read like one.

Balancing quality editorial pages and paid for content is a fine art we’re always striving for, but producing pages and content that are not only attractive, but will interest our readers, too, is essential.

The current issue of Hale & Bowdon magazine

The current issue of Hale&Bowdon magazine

I like to think we’ve managed that pretty well but we’re always going to be challenged in such a diverse media market, especially when the lifestyle habits of our audience are changing so rapidly, too. The digital world refreshes every second so we can’t possibly compete with that, but we can remain vital and fresh during our own print life cycle.

Print media definitely has a future but success will be measured, as it is now, against dilution in an overcrowded market. We’re not competing with digital media, we’re complementing it.

It’s our focus on quality, locally driven content that digital media can’t compete with that has really ensured our success. We reach the (local) parts that digital media can’t, when, for example, it’s our magazine that’s being read in the hairdressers, salon, gym or waiting rooms of a multitude of businesses in the area.

As ever, it boils down to simple rules that apply to all media: produce good, quality content that is relevant and stimulating to your audience and advertisers will see the potential for investment.