It’s tempting to think print publications are old news, defeated by digital.
Is there still a place for print?
There was a time when internal print magazines were a communications cornerstone, a vital channel for sharing news. As times have changed, many organizations have replaced print magazines with digital alternatives or have done away with print altogether.
Scuttling print magazines could be a big mistake. Organizations continue to embrace print magazines for many reasons, including:
- Employee preference; print is still a crowd pleaser.
- Field staffers aren’t always able to access the intranet.
- Some employees aren’t active on social media.
- Employees can take a print newsletter home, read it while commuting or keep it for leisurely reading.
- The act of turning real pages is a refreshing change from the daily bombardment of digital content.
- It’s harder to throw away a print publication than delete an email.
Rather than viewing email newsletters or social intranets as the best communication options, many organizations believe print magazines remain a valuable part of the communications mix.
Keeping content fresh and interesting
It’s important to regularly ensure your print publication’s content is relevant and entertaining to readers. A print magazine may not be the most suitable channel for time-sensitive news, but there are plenty of topics that are perfect for magazines. Here are some suggestions:
1. Promote the why. Use your magazine to demonstrate employees’ role in helping the organization achieve its vision. By highlighting the big picture, you’ll promote a sense of purpose and belonging.
2. Sharpen soft skills. Share articles on employees’ personal qualities, attitudes and behaviors. Communication, making decisions, working as a team, solving problems and creativity are valuable, transferrable skills that appeal to everyone.
3. Highlight your heritage. Talking about the organization’s history, featuring visual timelines with milestones and sharing significant moments can support your organization’s story.
4. Mention notable facts and figures. How many customers do you serve each day? How many products did you sell this month? How many lives have you touched? Provide context, and make it meaningful.
5. Share employee wellness initiatives. According to Unum, 30 percent of workers would consider leaving their jobs because of a poor workplace atmosphere. If your company has an employee wellness program, make it known. Share articles about available services.
6. Community news. Employees achieve great things every day. Feature these emotional stories alongside the usual business content.
7. Close the gap. Bridge the distance between employees and leaders by sharing features about senior managers, showing their human side so employees can connect with them.
8. Shine a spotlight on individuals. Featuring stories about employees’ achievements-personal or professional-is a great way to recognize and celebrate your people.
9. Give employees a voice. Show employees what their colleagues are up to by featuring short, fun interviews. This can help demystify roles, break down silos and bring people together. Here are some ideas.
10. Illustrate corporate values. Show colleagues demonstrating the organization’s values.
11. A day in the life. Provide a glimpse into all areas of your organization to make employees feel like part of a team. Help employees understand different jobs at the organization and how they work together.
12. Circulate performance updates. Keep employees informed on the organization’s progress by publishing noteworthy performance updates. Share plans for the future, and get creative with visuals and infographics to demonstrate progress.
13. Update employees on the latest survey results. What improvements has the organization made since the last employee survey? What action plans are in place? What has changed? Show employees you’re listening to them and taking action.
14. Shout about the benefits. Remind people why it’s great to work at your organization. Research from Cass Business School says 64 percent of employers don’t tell their employees about available benefits. A magazine feature is a good way to remind employees about upcoming deadlines such as the end of open enrollment, deadlines for pension plans, etc.
15. Celebrate service anniversaries. Recognize service achievements with a public announcement. Recognition goes a long way.
16. Share kind words from customers. Reading compliments from clients and customers can make a big difference to morale and motivation.
Despite the cries that print is dead, there are many people who hold employee magazines in high esteem. The key is to recognize communication opportunities and continually adapt. Digital media hasn’t done away with print magazines—it has given print a new identity and a chance to shine in new and exciting ways.
Caroline Roodhouse is marketing and content strategist at Alive With Ideas. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.