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Blog: how internal print publications can thrive in the digital revolution

How internal print publications can thrive in digital days

August 27, 2015

Digital is great. I love the innovation and exciting, almost endless, opportunities it offers.

Internal communication in 2015 uses numerous digital channels to communicate with employees and, in most instances, the vast majority of messages are delivered this way.

With this in mind, you wouldn’t think print was needed or relevant any more. But you would be wrong.

Print has found a niche and is now thriving in its new role in the internal communication spectrum.

Many moons ago, company newsletters and publications were the primary (often sole) channel for news and operational information within a company.

The purpose was simple: to push as much need-to-know content as possible on text-heavy pages. Design was nearly always a secondary element.

Mark Newnham
Mark Newnham

Nowadays latest news has a fresh suitor. Digital offers an immediate outlet and spans across all manner of online devices, making it the perfect channel for breaking stories and information.

This, in turn, has led to printed magazines evolving in function.

Successful editors have understood this shift in mindset and taken advantage of the benefits that print has over digital.

We know, for example, readers tend to have greater attention spans with a printed document and capacity to retain greater amounts of information.

Canny magazine bosses have shifted the focus of printed publications into feature-led content that expands on topics of interest with in-depth analysis.

News is no longer the focus for print. It should be promoted elsewhere with features becoming the primary focus – spanning two, four and even more pages where necessary.

Content should be timeless in its appeal and the focus should be on the people with the aim of creating a feel-good, celebratory and community-building publication.

They should be now seen as a promotional item for a business – highlighting fantastic achievements that employees feel proud to be associated with and want to share.

Interestingly print also has a tactile nature that appeals to the sense of touch. This interaction and physical intimacy is something digital (currently, at least) cannot replicate.

The best examples of internal magazines have now established themselves as high-quality products aimed at setting the right culture within a company.

Print will always have a place but that place will continually change with the development in digital communications.

Ensuring both mediums are used to their strengths as well as guiding the audience from one channel to the next will enable print to thrive in a digitally dominated field.