Print vs Online Media: Pros, Cons & Best Platform Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Print Media: Pros
  2. Print Media: Cons
  3. Online Media: Pros
  4. Online Media: Cons
  5. Tips for Using Print Media Effectively
  6. Tips for Using Online Media Effectively
  7. How to Choose the Right Platform

Deciding between print and online media can feel like trying to choose between a delicious chocolate chip cookie and a mouthwatering red velvet cupcake. Each has its own unique charm and appeal. But don't worry, we're here to help you navigate through the benefits and drawbacks of writing for print vs online media. Let's get started!

When you think about print media, you might imagine flipping through your favorite glossy magazine, or getting lost in the pages of a best-selling novel. The world of print media offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Physical Presence: There's something special about holding a printed piece in your hands. The feel of the paper, the smell of the ink—it's a sensory experience that online media can't replicate.
  • Longer Lifespan: Print media tends to stick around. Think about it: you might keep a favorite book on your shelf for years, or a memorable magazine on your coffee table for months. With online media, content can get lost in the endless stream of information.
  • Better Focus: Reading from a screen can strain your eyes. Print media doesn't have that problem, which can make it easier for readers to focus on your content.
  • High Trust Factor: There's a certain level of credibility that comes with print media. People tend to trust print sources more, which can enhance the value of your content.
  • Increased Engagement: Studies have shown that people remember printed content better than digital. That's a big plus if you want your readers to remember what you've written!

Now, this doesn't mean print media is perfect. Like our beloved chocolate chip cookie, it has its downsides too, which we'll explore in the next section. But for now, if you're considering writing for print media, these benefits provide a solid starting point.

Alright, now that we've glimpsed the shiny side of the coin, let's take a look at the other side. Here are some drawbacks of writing for print media:

  • Costs: Let's face it, print media can make your wallet feel lighter. Costs for printing and distribution can add up, making it a more expensive option compared to online media.
  • Accessibility: If you've written a fantastic article for a print magazine, only those who buy that particular issue will get to read it. Unlike online media, print doesn't have the same far-reaching accessibility.
  • Adjustment Difficulties: Let's say you spot a typo after your piece has been printed. With print media, you can't just click 'edit' and fix the error—you're pretty much stuck with it. This makes the margin for error narrower in print than online.
  • Environmental Impact: As much as we love print, we can't ignore its environmental impact. Paper production, ink usage and distribution all contribute to a larger carbon footprint compared to digital media.
  • Time Constraints: Print media operates on strict deadlines. If you're writing a piece for a monthly magazine, you need to have it ready weeks if not months in advance. This can limit your ability to cover breaking news or trending topics.

Despite these drawbacks, print media continues to thrive in its own unique way. If you're considering writing for this platform, these are some of the challenges you might face. But hey, even red velvet cupcakes can be a little too sweet sometimes, right?

Online Media: Pros

Let's shift gears and cruise into the digital world. Writing for online media comes with its own set of benefits:

  • Reach: Online media has a global reach. Your work could be perused by someone in Tokyo during their lunch break or by a night owl in New York during their midnight snack run. This broad reach is something print media simply can't match.
  • Cost-Effective: Writing for online platforms is usually more cost-effective. You don't have to worry about printing or distribution costs. In fact, you can start a blog or a website with just a few bucks!
  • Instant Updates: If you notice a typo or want to update your article based on new information, you can do so instantly. It's like having a magic eraser at your fingertips!
  • Interactivity: Online media is interactive. Your readers can leave comments, share your work or even message you directly. It's a two-way street that allows for immediate feedback and engagement.
  • Flexibility: Writing for online media offers the flexibility to cover diverse topics, publish at any time, and present information in different formats like videos, infographics, podcasts, and more.

With all these benefits, it's no wonder that many writers are leaning towards online platforms. However, it's essential to remember that with great reach comes great responsibility. It's like being handed the microphone at a global conference—you want to make sure you're saying something worth hearing!

Online Media: Cons

While the digital realm offers exciting avenues, it's also filled with its own share of pitfalls. Let's look at some of the drawbacks of writing for online media:

  • Information Overload: The internet is a bustling city with information at every corner. This can lead to a saturation effect, making it harder for your work to stand out or be noticed.
  • Shorter Attention Spans: With so much content available, online readers often skim through articles. This can be challenging if your writing style is more detailed or narrative-driven.
  • Dependence on Technology: Your work is at the mercy of technology. If a website goes down or a platform crashes, your content is temporarily inaccessible. Not to mention, older content can get buried under newer posts.
  • Less Permanence: Digital content doesn't have the same permanence as print. It's here today, gone tomorrow. While you can archive your work, it doesn't have the tangible feel of a printed piece.
  • Increased Competition: The low entry barriers for online media mean increased competition. It's a crowded marketplace with writers from all over the world vying for attention.

Navigating these challenges can feel like steering a ship through stormy waters. But with the right skills and a bit of patience, you can chart a course towards success in the online media landscape.

Tips for Using Print Media Effectively

Print media might seem like a daunting challenge, but with the right approach, you can make it work for you. Here are a few tips to leverage the benefits of writing for print media effectively:

  • Understand Your Audience: Print media tends to attract a more mature, dedicated audience. Tailor your content to meet their interests and expectations. For instance, if you're writing for a local newspaper, include local news and events that would interest your readers.
  • Make Every Word Count: Unlike online media, print has space constraints. You need to make every word count. Be concise, clear, and to the point. Don't waste space on fluff or filler.
  • Invest in Quality: Print media relies heavily on quality. Invest in good writing, high-quality images, and professional layout designs. Remember, your work isn't just being read; it's being held, touched, and experienced in a very tactile way.
  • Establish Relationships: Build relationships with print media outlets. This could be local newspapers, magazines, or trade publications. These relationships can open doors to more opportunities and provide a steady outlet for your work.
  • Use Visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words. Incorporate visuals in your print media work. This could be infographics, diagrams, or high-quality photos. Visuals can break up text and make your work more engaging.

With these tips in your toolbox, you're well on your way to making your mark in the print media world. It's all about understanding the platform, playing to its strengths, and creating content that resonates with your audience.

Tips for Using Online Media Effectively

If you're looking to dive into the digital world, here are some tips to help you navigate the benefits and drawbacks of writing for online media:

  • Speak Their Language: Online audiences are diverse. You're writing for people from different backgrounds, cultures, and age groups. Use a language that's easy to understand and universally relatable.
  • Be Interactive: One of the biggest advantages of online media is the ability to interact with your audience. Use this to your advantage. Encourage comments, likes, shares, and other forms of engagement. This will boost your visibility and create a sense of community around your content.
  • Stay Current: The online world moves fast. Keep up with the latest trends, news, and hot topics. Incorporate them into your content. This keeps your work relevant and interesting to your audience.
  • Optimize for SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is key in online media. Make sure your content is easily discoverable. Use keywords, meta descriptions, and other SEO techniques to boost your visibility in search engine results.
  • Use Multimedia: Online media gives you the opportunity to use different types of content. Videos, podcasts, infographics, and interactive content can all be used to enhance your written work. Mix and match different types of content to keep your audience engaged.

Remember, online media is about more than just writing. It's about creating a digital experience that engages, informs, and entertains your audience. With these tips, you're well-equipped to make the most of the benefits of writing for online media.

How to Choose the Right Platform

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, choosing the right platform can feel like a daunting task. But don't worry, we've got you covered! Here's a simple step-by-step guide to help you navigate the benefits and drawbacks of writing for print vs online media and decide which platform is right for you:

  1. Identify Your Audience: Knowing your audience is the first step in choosing the right platform. Are they tech-savvy youngsters who live on their smartphones? Or are they older folks who prefer the feel of a newspaper in their hands? Understanding your audience's preferences will help guide your decision.
  2. Consider Your Content: What type of content are you creating? Long-form investigative pieces might work better in print, whereas short, snappy articles or multimedia content may shine online.
  3. Think About Distribution: How do you plan on getting your content to your audience? Print media requires physical distribution, which can be costly. On the other hand, online media is globally accessible and can reach a larger audience at a lower cost.
  4. Evaluate Your Resources: Finally, consider your resources. Online media typically requires less upfront investment than print. However, maintaining a strong online presence can require consistent effort and a solid understanding of digital marketing strategies.

By considering these factors, you can weigh the benefits and drawbacks of writing for print vs online media and make an informed decision about the right platform for your work. Remember, the perfect platform is the one that best serves your audience, fits your content, matches your distribution strategy, and aligns with your resources.

If you're interested in exploring the world of print media further and considering self-publishing, we highly recommend the workshop 'Introduction to Self-Publishing - Part 1' by Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck. This workshop will provide you with valuable information on the process of self-publishing and help you make the best decision for your creative work when it comes to choosing between print and online media.