CRITICAL STATUS: print media has been taken by ambulance to the oncology ward! It's hooked to life support and is relying on a very small group of people who regularly do CPR just to keep it alive.
Perhaps some hyperbole on my part, or perhaps some slightly over-spoken truth.
Churches love to hand things out to people. Why? So they'll force people to consume the information. However, studies have shown that it rarely works.
Good reasons for print materials in the church?
To have a promotional takeaway for first-time guests so they remember your church
To give first-time guests something to hold (like holding a glass at a party when you feel awkward)
For the older generation who hasn't adopted the digital age as adeptly as younger people
If you want to collect information by asking them to fill out a short form (and can't digitally)
To reinforce a promotion. The more places someone sees an ad, the more important it will feel (i.e. website, social, bulletin, video, etc). That's why they call it a campaign.
Liturgical information that's needed for worship.
So how can you make Church Print Materials better? We start with understanding WHO and WHY (from above) in order to decide the HOW. Here are 4 recommendations:
1. Say as few words as possible.
Edit. Edit. Edit. Most resist reading paragraphs unless it's a story. So write more interesting stories or edit paragraphs into bullet points. Remember headlines will almost always be scanned. Make sure they clearly say the benefit (promise) of reading the rest.
2. Use quality images, reproduced well, to show people who the message is for.
People love to see "themselves" people from their demographic group. Resist using stock images because they often become ignored as irrelevant rather than important. Then they think the information is similar. Hire a photographer to shoot lots of pictures and then edit them using the Law of Thirds.
3. Make sure everything you print is building your church's brand.
Use your limited colors if possible, only your church's fonts, and for sure, weave your unique thread (what your church should be known for) throughout your messages. Be known for something!
4. Always use print materials to reinforce your website communications.
Give more information on your website, or have a follow-up that's offered digitally. Or get an added bonus (a video, a giveaway, etc) for going to the website. Of course, your website needs to be simple, well organized, and fun to visit. It's probably where most churches need to start