It was just last week that I found myself sitting in the waiting room of my dentist, anticipating the cleaning procedure my teeth were about to experience. As I sat there, fidgeting for a way to occupy my time, (my dentist has designated the office as a no-cell phone zone) my attention turned to an assortment of magazines haphazardly spread across the top of the end table next to my chair.
In a world where all the experts seem to be advocating the use of digital communications as a way to reach the masses and save trees in the process, here I was, surveying a collection of print publications much like a child perusing which toy to play with next. Yet I was thoroughly amused, for the thought of handling a bound collection of paper pages that did not require scrolling or 54Mbps of Internet connectivity was all too thrilling.
I paused to wonder what was driving such an appeal. Did it have anything to do with me rediscovering the distinct value inherent in print publications? Perhaps it was because I found the printed magazines to be so refreshingly different, since I’ve been getting all my information online. Yes, no morning newspapers in this household. We've gone totally digital!
But now, here I was, holding something tangible in my hands with words and pictures; something other than an iPad or Kindle. I was physically turning pages and absorbing the information without the need to zoom in.
What's the message in all of this? No—it has nothing to do with age. It’s an issue of value.
The digital tidal wave has swept us up into a sea of electronic communications, only to divorce us from some media that can still prove to be of value in our daily lives. Think about it.
As television rapidly made its way into the living rooms of American homes, we did not see the radio thrown out into the trash bucket. It found a way to survive and managed to redefine its purpose, even evolving beyond terrestrial-based transmitters.
As computers, laptops and smartphones continue to propagate at an astonishing rate, we can still find pens and pencils on the shelf at the nearby Staples. People still write by hand, although I’ve heard that many schools no longer teach cursive writing.
A veteran news reporter once advised his audience of PR executives, of which I was one in attendance, that if you want to ensure your news release is seen and read by the assignment director, then fax it to the newsroom. His point was that with everyone e-mailing their release, using a fax can help one stand out in today's sea of communications.
In a similar way, printed copies of your digital magazine can still prove their value by helping your credit union or organization build its brand awareness and strengthen its ability to stand out from the competitors.
For example, mail a copy (yes, via snail mail) to your representative, mayor and other people of influence with a note expressing your desire to share the stories in the magazine about your credit union's contributions to the underserved and local community. It would be a great way to support your advocacy efforts, calling their attention to your good deeds in the community as well as the needs of the people you serve—their constituents.
I'd be willing to bet such a move would attract a lot of good will and who knows, maybe your magazine might even wind up on the end table in their waiting room!