It’s time to scrap the posters and brochures!

It’s time to scrap the posters and brochures!

I’m going to put it out there and say that we need to throw away traditional printed communication material.


Because times are-a-changing.

Digital content and technologies have transformed the way we live and work.

Printed material may seem effective because people like to take away something tangible, but we are also now online more than ever. In 2012-13 a whopping 83% of Australian households had access to the internet.

We are inundated with information and choice. We seek personalised services and to feel listened to.

Government communicators should be looking at how their audience likes to receive information and what information they want.

A study by Fuji Xerox Australia shows that 41% of Australians identified online as their preferred channel of accessing government services.

One of the most valuable things about digital engagement is that it’s measurable – you can easily determine what is working well and where your communications efforts should be directed.

Digital communication in government improves efficiency and reduces the cost of service delivery.

It’s no secret that the Government wants to save money.

Under the new budget, government agencies are being merged, downsized and abolished.

I can only imagine how much money is being spent on printed material and I wonder how many people ACTUALLY read brochures?

Brochures shouldn’t do the selling for you and you certainly don’t build relationships through brochures.

Whilst I appreciate our inherent fear of the unknown, government leaders should be thinking about digital service delivery because this is where the world is at.

If you REALLY want printed collateral, invest in an impressive business card which directs people to your website and social media channels

Here are a few digital options to consider:


Providers such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor offer you the ability to send branded emails and newsletters quickly and easily and have the ability to track who opens it. Email communication can be highly effective in capturing the reader’s attention which delivers website traffic and builds program awareness

Social media

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can facilitate easy two-way conversations with your audience.

They provide the ability to distribute a message to an audience and give them the opportunity to reply. Often government agencies fear public response and the messages getting out of control- but comments made on social media provide the opportunity to directly respond in a public environment.

Rather than the traditional pamphlet drop, if you want to reach a broader audience that you haven’t yet captured you can easily set up targeted ads on these platforms which will display the message to users at a cost much lower than printing.


In the digital world you should be where your audience is – online.

Today, a well-designed website is a vital part of government communications. Effective government websites are now putting the user at the centre of their communication.

Many users already have their questions in mind when they visit government websites.

Using a content marketing methodology you can answer those questions and build trust with the people you are seeking to reach and influence.


Blogging is an underutilised tactic for government communication.

Through blogging you can unlock the massive resource of the talent and skill of the people who work in the policy areas of government agencies and departments. They have incredible knowledge and experience which is of genuine interest and value to the community.

Maybe start by writing blog posts that address frequently asked questions and providing solutions to the audience’s pain points.

It takes time, commitment and consistency, but if you add real value to the audience you are seeking to reach, you will be successful.

Am I wrong? Do you think there is still a place for brochures? Or is digital the way forward?

Edited photo from Auntie P original

Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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