In the digital age, is print dead for business and corporate communications?
Imagine you produce an employee magazine, brochure or other print product as part of a recurring campaign. You regularly must assess whether to continue printing or abandon it and its negative associations:
You manage expenses and distribution responsibly. Surveys find support among a significant percentage of your audience. But what do you say at budget time when someone smirks and says, “ISN’T PRINT DEAD?”
Well, no, it’s not.
Print lives: five reasons why.
We communicators love to talk about content and the multitudes of channels for sharing it. Too often we forget to include the old standby.
It depends on each project, of course. But print remains a strategic piece of many multi-channel plans. It can lead or augment digital, face-to-face and other tactics.
A postcard or poster can remind employees of key messages.
Some in your audience prefer it. And if you’re trying to reach a diverse group, consider paper products along with tweets and emails.
If you don’t know your readers yet, get to know them and how they want to receive information.
Believe it or not, some of your stakeholders still aren’t tied to laptops or smartphones. Some even manage to lead perfectly fulfilling lives without them.
Print is not necessarily as expensive or ecologically damaging as you might think. Many mills and printers have evolved to offer recycled stock, soy inks and other ways to minimize carbon costs.
Remember to point out that you’re using green processes to illustrate your commitment to the environment. It’s not cynical; it’s savvy.
Consider going to lightweight paper, too, to save on postage.
Print products can be held, passed around, shared in a way that enforces some themes — say, of community, tradition and strength.
A magazine on a coffee table is inviting to a visitor in a way that a website can’t be. It makes a statement about values and commitment. Employees will appreciate the gesture.
Irony lives. Digital came along and freed us from the tyranny of paper, right?
But I’d rather think that our liberation didn’t suggest a reflex TO digital and AWAY from paper. Instead it just increased our options to communicate better — even when it means including print in the mix.
ADD TO YOUR LIBRARY
“The Elements of Style” by Strunk & White. For decades, the definitive guide for writing and editing.
“Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley. A smart update for the digital age.