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Is a Printed Newsletter Still Relevant?

Cartoon description of a man reading a newspaper

Is your newsletter a welcome relief or another piece of trash?

We've become a society that runs on digital messaging. Whether this means being bombarded by advertisements on social media or an email inbox brimming with sales emails, it doesn't feel like we can escape these messages short of unplugging. It's for this reason that more organizations and companies are connecting with their customers via print newsletters. Yes, we know how backward this seems, but hear us out. 

Printed Newsletters Keep Your Brand Top of Mind

Here's a quick exercise for you: Take a second to name all of the email newsletters to which you subscribe. You can probably name a handful, but you're likely quickly overwhelmed.  Now, think about how many print newsletters show up at your door. Probably not nearly as many, right? A printed newsletter not only sticks around longer in your audience's home, but your brand also remains more top of mind. 

Printed Newsletters Are a Tactile Escape

Reading a printed document is a much different experience than reading something on a screen. Holding the paper in your hands automatically slows your attention span and sharpens your focus. When the busy world of electronic messaging becomes too much, something is soothing about a printed newsletter, magazine, or book. During these moments, readers are more apt to enjoy longer, more in-depth stories. They are less likely to skim the headlines for the information they want. As consumers, we've come to screens as quick bytes/bites of information and printed books, newsletters, and magazines as leisurely experiences — reading for the sake of reading. 

Readers Will Look Forward to Your Newsletter

Getting an email newsletter in the mail is nice, but doesn't compare to a delivered physical item. The thrill of receiving a new "thing" is part of the reason why many enjoy online shopping as much as they do. When your organization's newsletter comes around every month or quarter, it becomes an event for your target audience. The upcoming arrival of this physical newsletter also gives you something to talk about in the digital world. When you create anticipation around anything you do, this can't help but draw your target audience closer to your brand. 

When Newsletters Shine the Most

  • Going Deep. It can difficult to dive deep into a complex subject in an email newsletter. Readers will begin to skim under the weight of all of the other emails behind yours.  They start to quake under the load of the rest of the options a computer or mobile device provides. Diving deep into a subject in a printed newsletter, however, is much more fruitful. If someone is reading your newsletter, they're doing so because they want a reading experience. This shift will make for a higher likelihood of them reading through your newsletter and enjoying the reading experience itself. 
  • Not as Time-Sensitive. Our digital news cycle means that nearly everything is "breaking news." This mindset can make us feel like we're always playing catchup with our news consumption. A printed newsletter is best when it contains news that is less pressing and more enjoyable to read. These stories will also age much better than the latest breaking news. The leisurely pace and timeline will cause your reader to keep your newsletter, and thus your brand, around their house or in the briefcase much longer. 

In Conclusion

Deciding whether or not to proceed with a physical paper newsletter depends largely on how your audience consumes information. On one hand, your printed newsletter may be a welcome relief from the cacophony of thousands of digital messages your audience receives. In other instances, your newsletter may be seen as yet another wasteful piece of mail that should have remained in digital form. Your decision to meet their reading needs where they are can mean leaving an impression that far outlives your newsletter. No matter how you choose, there are efficient ways to meet the needs of either style of reader or both.

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