Print Communications

Nancy Anderson
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Mark Twain responded to a newspaper that had published his obituary saying, “The news of my death is greatly exaggerated.” Perhaps print communications can make the same claim.

We know that this is the “electronic age” when the internet is king. Newspapers and magazines have seen a decline in readership over the years, every company – and everybody! – has their own web site, and anything can be found via the various search engines freely available.

But answer this: have you received any advertisements via the US Postal system recently; did your church, school, or community organization send you a newsletter; have you seen a brochure detailing local and distant attractions, events, and/or stores?

The odds are you have! Why? Because printed communications – the print media – is still an important part of our society and still plays an important part in the communication process. One of the key reasons for this is that the print communications in advertisement, for example, is to develop an interest in and direct you to a business/site you might not have considered. When you want a pizza, the first thing that comes to mind is the national chain. But when you open your mail and find a coupon for the mom and pop pizza shack just around the corner, with a picture of that mouth-watering pie they make, you might be moved to give them a try. In fact, you might not have even been thinking of a pizza until you opened that flyer.

Some of the key questions that need to be considered for printed communications are:

1. What is the purpose of your communication project? Certainly a newsletter will have a different purpose then an advertisement. To come up with the best possible print media, you have to know your purpose.

2. Who is your audience? Is this publication for the general public or is it aimed at a specific target audience? A politician’s mailings might target a certain ethnic or socio-economic group; businesses might aim for new residents to the area; newsletters might be just for those in the group.

3. How will it be distributed? Mass mailing, door-hangers, drop-off for pick-up – the method of distribution will affect what can, and should, be included.

4. What is the budget? Design, copywriting, color or black-and-white, printing, folding, distributing – all these have to be taken into consideration.

5. In-house or external production? Computers and their publishing programs along with today’s copiers (they’re not ditto machines anymore!) can allow churches and PTA’s to put out a quality product. Likewise, local print and copier shops allow almost anyone to be a “publisher”. And, of course, there are many professionals who will handle the job from start to finish. What will work best for you, the talent and tools at your disposal, and your purpose?

So, you see, the printed communications are used, effectively, in this electronic age. That means that there might be a place for you, as a volunteer or as a media professional, in this still needed area.

For twenty-five years Joe C. Fairchild was a public speaker, counselor, and “life-coach.” He has worked with individuals and both small and large groups. Currently semi-retired he is pursuing a life-long interest in writing. Read more of his blogs at


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