Here’s a crazy, old school idea: Should you consider creating a print publication as part of your content marketing strategy? While it might seem like just about the most backward thing you can do, it’s actually an idea that more and more forward-thinking companies are embracing. Over the last 12 months or so, Uber, Airbnb and now Dogfish Head craft beer are among the dozens of brands that have launched print publications.

Content marketing has taken off the last few years because of the market conditions around content creation and distribution. In other words, the rise of the Internet and the fall of mass media have made it easy and inexpensive to produce content and connect with your audience. Everyone has said that print is dying – I mean, just look at the newspaper business. Print is expensive – it requires buying paper, running a printing press, packing the magazine and then shipping it somewhere; you’re paying for something every step of the way, whereas you can spin up a WordPress blog by lunchtime.

But that cost doesn’t mean that consumers don’t still love print. The biggest problem with print media is the business model. For a brand, the business model isn’t an issue; presumably, your company is already making money at whatever your core business is.

If we agree that creating a great customer experience is a key component in determining whether your content marketing effort succeeds, print becomes a viable option.

We say all the time that the goal of content marketing is to create a trust-based relationship with your audience, to show that you’re interested in helping them rather than always shoving product down their throat. Well, human beings have deeper relationships with print publications than they do with digital media. As the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi has written, “More and more, people are actively choosing to unplug, or disconnect themselves from digital media.”

Consider my 20 year old daughter, who like most people her age (okay, every age) is screen-obsessed – I’ll walk into the living room on any given day and she’ll be looking at social media on her phone, watching a Youtube video on her laptop, with the TV on mute in the background. Clearly, her attention is divided. However, when she reads a book, she prefers to go to the library and get the old deadwood version, rather than reading it on her iPad. When she’s reading something that’s actually been printed, she’s plugged in.

It’s a better, more immersive experience.

It creates a deeper connection.

As marketers, that’s what we’re trying to do – create deep connections with our prospects, customers and sometimes other audiences.

Uber’s publication Momentum is targeted to its drivers – it’s an acknowledgment that the life of an Uber driver can be pretty solitary. By creating a publication just for them, the company is attempting to demonstrate that it cares about its drivers. Airbnb launched Pineapple last year to help create the impression that the Airbnb experience is a lifestyle. Dogfish Head’s The Pallet is for “people who like to think and drink” – purposefully, it is not only about beer. The magazine didn’t start off as a content marketing play, but that’s what it’s quickly morphed into – it’s the brainchild of publishing veterans Rick Bannister and Nadia Saccardo. They wanted a “champion” and connected with Dogfish founder Sam Caligione, asking him to serve as Executive Editor.

And there are plenty of other brands that are embracing print as a way to have a more intimate conversation with their audience.

Business insurance firm Corporate Synergies [disclosure – a Scribewise client] launched an annual print magazine a couple years ago, called The Current Insurance Journal. It’s a collection of some of the topical articles written by the company’s subject matter experts. SVP-Marketing Brian Feeley calls it an “industry differentiator… a great way to introduce ourselves in a meaningful way.”

The Current won an APEX Award this year, but Feeley says it’s also driving business. It’s a great leave-behind for their sales team because it delivers the message that this is a company filled with thought leaders willing to share their opinions and analysis on the key issues in their industry. “[One] prospect invited us to participate in an RFP purely as a direct result of receiving the journal,” he says.

In short, it’s become a gift that delivers value for clients and prospects.

Maybe that’s the biggest attribute print has going for it – it’s a gift. Print is more permanent and more tangible than digital, and it can create a sense of intimacy that digital just can’t.