Imagine if you produced a magazine, brochure or other print product as part of a recurring communications campaign. Since digital became ubiquitous, you’ve regularly had to assess whether to continue printing or abandon it and its negative associations (costs, tree-killing, old-fogeyness).
You manage expenses and distribution responsibly. Reader surveys keep finding strong 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. And here are five reasons why. I’m sure you have more, so send them on in.
1. 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, leading or just augmenting digital, face-to-face and other tactics. An effective postcard to homes or poster in the break room can remind employees of your campaign’s messages and why they should care.
2. Some in your audience prefer it. And if you’re trying to reach a diverse group, consider print products just like you do tweets and emails. If you don’t know your readers yet (employees, consumers, neighbors — whoever), 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!)
3. Print is not necessarily as expensive or ecologically damaging as you might think. Many mills and printers have evolved with the times and offer recycled stock, soy inks and other ways to minimize carbon costs. Then remember to point out that you’re using green processes as a way to illustrate your commitment to the environment. It’s not cynical; it’s savvy. Consider going to lightweight paper, too, to save on postage.
4. 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 value and commitment to many readers, particularly employees who will appreciate the gesture.
5. Irony lives. Digital came along and freed us from the tyranny of print, right? Maybe. But I’d rather think that our liberation didn’t suggest a reflex TO digital and AWAY from print; instead, it just increased our options to communicate better — even when it means including print in the mix.
RELATED: 6 Points on Storytelling and Content