Lessons In Not Sucking, Communication In Print

November 5, 2007 by

This is part two in a series on Lessons In Not Sucking. Today we discuss communication in print. This is all in the context of marketing so it’s important to filter my comments through that lens.

1. Print adds legitimacy to your message
Whenever something is put in print–whether it be proper or propaganda, it adds some legitimacy to what you’re saying. It’s nice to see and hear. When you can touch or take away something it makes the message stick a little more and creates a reference point.

2. The call to action: what and where
Just as I said with communicating online, you’ve got to remember to have a call to action. When someone gets your printed piece (postcard, bulletin, invitation, etc.), what do you want them to do? Call? Register? Tell someone else? If the call to action isn’t clear, don’t expect much in return.

3. Remember “the who”
They’re not just a band, the “who” is also your audience. And if you don’t have them in mind every second you’re creating printed pieces, you’re wasting time. When you put things in print, this is not the time to think about you, it’s the time to think about them.

4. Is it worth passing on to others?
Everything you print should always be so relevant that people want to pass it on to someone else.

5. Web content does not equal print content
Just because you have something online doesn’t mean it needs to be in print. Words online are a lot cheaper than words on paper. Because you know the audience a whole lot better with print (i.e., who is getting the piece), it should be a whole lot easier to direct your messaging to be direct, pithy and poignant.

6. Be careful with pre-designed templates
Stock photography and template-ish stuff can look a little cheesy sometimes. I am not opposed to using them, but be careful. If you’re doing a short run with a limited audience it’s easier to get away with it. But if you have a city-wide mailer going out think twice before using the cookie cutter multi-ethnic families with all smiles and genders and ages represented.

7. Have it proofed twice more than you think you should
Tyops are so easee to overlook. But not everything is so obvious. Once you think you have your stuff proofed enough, send it through one more fresh pair of eyes.

8. You + Computer + Photoshop = Very Bad
This is a lesson for all you wanna be designers. I know a lot of people from the CFCC community are designers, so this doesn’t apply to you. But to everyone else with a computer and illegal (or legal) copy of Photoshop, give it up. Chances are pretty good God didn’t call you to be a designer, so stick to what he called you to. Not only does it probably take you ten times longer than anyone else to create your pieces, you’re also never satisfied.

9. Share
Don’t delay the Second Coming by making someone else create something that you’ve already perfected. If what you have is working, share it. Again, this is not permission to get lazy or copy someone’s work, but let’s share what we can to the extent it will help others.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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3 Responses to “Lessons In Not Sucking, Communication In Print”

  • Erickyp
    November 5, 2007

    Boy, I couldn’t agree more on #6. A little over 2 years ago, when we launched our church, everybody was sending out these post cards with cookie cutter pictures with all ethnicities and ages represented. Our problem was the demographics of Destin was 97% white. No win situation with those pictures. Use them and someone comes to the church and those ethnicities are not present, then you misrepresented yourself. Put pictures of all white people and your a bigoted church.
    So we ripped an idea from Hollister’s web site. We went around our local area and took pictures of local landmarks that people would recognize that represented who & what Destin is. Monochromed a lot of the images and then brought out others that we wanted to highlight, including a picture of me and my wife on a billboard.
    It worked better than we could have imagined and it said, “We are part of this community.”

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  • David
    November 5, 2007

    A few years ago our Small Group ministry redesigned their web site and brochures. In that redesign they included stock photos of some multi-cultural happy people who looked like they were really enjoying the community here at our church. BUT then as I was driving around town I noticed some billboards of these same multi-cultural happy people. Apparently they were now attending another church. Ooops!

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  • travis ham
    November 6, 2007

    For a great spoof on the happy multi-cultural people idea, check out collegelife.org – specifically pictures 05 and 06 on their homepage promoting their lifegroups. I love the cutout faces of real folks who are actually involved on the 06 picture.

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