Don’t get me wrong. My last blog may make you think print is dead. That’s far from the truth. Instead, the print world is figuring out how to co-exist within the digital world. Get it correct, even though it’s diminishing; and print will continue to have influence.
We still read books and flip through print magazines. We just do it differently. Yes, your print bulletin will probably be around for many more years.
Although if fewer people are reading them, your bulletin may be known for bad communications. Let’s solve the issues so more will read it!
One of the benefits of digital communications is the way we can analyze reading and user habits. It’s difficult to do that with print. We can’t track eyes, how long people spend on pages, or what they engaged with.
So let’s take what we’ve learned from the digital world and incorporate that knowledge in the print world:
- People Don’t Have Time. You understand this. If an email arrives and it’s longer than a few sentences, you skim it or delete it. People don’t want to “work” to understand — especially when it’s promotional. We want the promoter to research the info and compress it to a clear benefit.
Bad: You are invited to participate in the National Day of Prayer this week. Join with churches all across our great nation to pray for the needs of our country, church and community. We’ll pray for the President, other elected, and appointed officials. We’ll meet this Thursday in our worship center at 12:15pm. We’ll spend only 30 min, hearing various needs and testimonies. Please join us for this great event.
Better: National Day of Prayer: This Thurs. Noon-12:30. Church-wide Prayer Service. Prayer changes things. Details: yourchurch.org/pray
- People Engage with Personalized Content. “What’s in it for me” has caught up with good communications. People want to read info geared for them. Be clear who’s invited. Tier your communications so everyone clearly knows what they need to look at.
Tip: Create an “All Member” area, “Teen” area, “Children” area, etc. and limit the event info to just the facts. Websites give more details.
- People Scan Instead of Reading. Use bolding, indents and spacing carefully so people can quickly scan. Bulleted points help reveal important facts. Promotional paragraphs are dead; make everything scannable.
Once people see you’re using this style of compressed communications and they’ll scan the bulletin more so they won’t miss anything.
This post originally appeared for the digital Worship Facilities Magazine. Mark MacDonald is a regular writer for this and other national publications.