Why you need to consider print in your communications strategy

Why you need to consider print in your communications strategy

Embracing new technology is essential to the success of any government communications strategy, but should you be forgetting the past altogether?

Absolutely not.


When it comes to publishing, there is an endless supply of digital platforms available to use at relatively low or no cost.

Websites (like this one), e-mail and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are all proven to be valuable platforms to distribute content.

They also have the audience, with Facebook hitting 1.65 billion monthly users this January and Twitter currently recording 310 million monthly users.

Additionally, these online platforms offer measurable and useful analytics.

These might seem like valid reasons to disregard more dated methods of publishing like print.

On the contrary, these only highlight the need of finding creative ways to incorporate print into your communications strategy.

We are being saturated by digital content.

In 2015 the average person sent and received 122 emails in a single day at work, Radicati research found.

How many letters do you receive in a single day at work?

If you really want your content to stand out, you need to try something different.

In 2016, publishing in print is different.

Despite their popularity, online and digital platforms are not always the best platforms to use to reach your target audiences.

ABS statistics state that in 2014-15, there were 1.3 million Australian households without internet access.

That’s 1.3 million Australian households you will miss if you rely solely on digital media for your content distribution.

These statistics routinely show that low income earners, the elderly and unemployed and those living in remote rural Australia are using the internet less than others.

When communicating in the public sector, the goal is often to reach a large target audience, spanning far beyond internet users.

Make no mistake, I’m not advising you to delete your website and unplug your computers.

Using print effectively in your communications strategy doesn’t mean disregarding digital technology.

Achieving cohesion between print and digital media is as simple as adding QR codes and website and social media URLs to your printed media.  This makes the printed content interactive and directs traffic back to your online channels.

Take, for example, the ACT Government’s publication Our Canberra. Our Canberra is a monthly newsletter that printed and distributed across Canberra suburbs, as well as being available online.

Our Canberra print newsletters include links to relevant government websites, as well as directing readers to their social media platforms.

Last week, a friend told me he looks forward to getting the Our Canberra newsletter in his letterbox every month. Not because he can’t access the newsletter online, but because he prefers receiving it in print.

And he’s not alone.

In their 2015 survey, Two Sides note that 81% of participants said they prefer to read print on paper rather than digitally.

Despite the appeal and cost effectiveness of publishing digitally, print still has its place.

To create a truly comprehensive communications strategy, you need to consider how you can combine both digital and print media to achieve the best results for your organisation.

How can you use print in your comms strategy? Brainstorm some ideas. Tell us in the comments below.

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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