The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications
Print Media.jpg

E031 - Is Print Still Relevant?

James: All this week we are talking about paper. We're talking about how it's made, how it looks, how it feels. No I'm kidding. This week we're gonna be talking about all things printing and mailed out. Things like that and whether or not it's positive or negative and how you Joanna have started to transition away from printed materials.

Joanna: One of the big questions in the world of communications and in church especially where we have these small budgets is people are wondering is print dying or is it even dead. You know in the world of digital where we can communicate in all these other ways now is there a place for print. And for me I would say yes there still is a place for print. Now how we use it is going to be different. And we want to use it maybe in strategic and thoughtful ways we are going to talk about it all week. But I want to introduce you kind of out of my communications studies background. I'm going to get a little nerdy with you for a second. Basically there's a theory in communications around when new technology comes for communication a new tool arrives it doesn't eliminate the previous tool it just changes its use. So a perfect example of that would be when the printing press arrived. It didn't eliminate the writing by hand of documents. It changed how we use them, we weren't writing you know the Bible wasn't written anymore by hand but we were still writing letters that didn't go away. When the television came out everybody thought that radio would die because radio was used as the thing that people gathered around in the living, right? You think of these old pictures in the living room the centrepiece was this giant radio box and the family would gather around for stories and everything. But here we are, what 50? 60? 70? 80? Years after television became more and more ubiquitous and radio still is alive and well it how we use it and why we use it has changed. But it's still there so much so for the way of digital technology it doesn't get rid of print. It just changes how we use print. So a relationship to writing things changed with the printing press our relationship to how we use the radio change when television came into our homes. And of course there are relationship to printed pieces is going to change with the digital world but it doesn't mean that print is dead. So this whole week we're going to dive more into that. But I wanted to start I think really just with a little bit of context for when we can think of whenever a new technology comes in there's gonna be lots more in our lifetime. It's helpful to consider not just out with the old but how is the old thing going to change and transform and show actually its power as a communication tool even as new technologies and tools arrive.

James: So let's set up part of the week with saying Jo, is print dying in your opinion?

Joanna: So I don't think it's dying but it has a new life.

James: So as you transition away from printed materials and maybe to more digital what is your budget looking like for that? Like what's the transition if you used to have X amount of dollars for print what is the 1:1 ratio now going towards digital? And how do you see that maybe even changing going forward?

Joanna: Yeah. Good question. And in general my philosophy in our church right now is I say digital first. So what I mean by that is the primary place the first place we want to think about is how can we display this how can we get this information people on a digital platform first. Second of that is print. Now the tricky thing is in terms of budgets print actually costs a lot of money and we're going to get into that in this week in some specific examples of bulletins and postcards and billboards and all that kind of stuff. But yeah so because print costs so much the ratio of your budget actually can still be fairly high because you can do so much more with less on the digital end.

James: Because the production costs are the same but the delivery on Facebook Instagram and any other social media is actually free. Whereas once you have a design for print you still have to pay quite a high price to get things put on paper. That's it out to people's hands.

Joanna: And and also the the labor of distribution. You know you can you can distribute something digitally from sitting at your desk. And once you're skilled at it it takes a few minutes. But with print specifically if you're a multi-state church it's very complex actually to get it from the printer at the right time into your hands or into the hands of your team and distributed to all the different sites that you have and communication with the departmental leaders who need to understand where it goes what it's for when it's going to be used in a service or in a lobby space.

James: Its a lot of coordination for basically one piece of paper.

Joanna: That's it. That's it there's a lot of there's a lot of budgeted time that comes with print. Time and money and so for me when I say digital first what I mean by that is like how can we think of is like before we go to the solution being a printed piece. Is there a way we can do this digitally only or digitally first and primarily that's actually going to save us a ton of time and money.

James: All right. So we hope you enjoy the rest of the week as we're talking about this printing stuff. We've also noticed a lot of people starting to comment on some of our posts and even just on the website. So keep that up and you know we're OK with people disagreeing with us right? Like it's okay for people to not agree and we like hearing different opinions because that's also how we learn. We had a few messages sent to us about different project management apps that I'd never heard about. I was able to dive in on some of those and maybe we'll have a bit of an update to the project management stuff in the future. So enjoy the rest of the week.