Are Print Newsletters Still Relevant?

May 21, 2008

With the rush to email and online social media, is there still a place in this world for traditional print newsletters?  It depends on what you are using your newsletter for and the audience that is receiving it.  There are multiple reasons for going with an electronic newsletter (far too many to get into right now).  I wanted to discuss the reasons why you would still potentially want a print version, and more importantly, how to have yours rise above the buzz and get noticed by your audience.

We can all agree that more and more people have migrated to email and are able to get all of their communications online, yet there are many situations where this is not feasible.  Newsletters are the primary communications tool of choice for internal communications – getting the word out to employees while at work.  In industries where employees are not always on the same networks, or where they don’t have access to computers during their work day, it would be impossible to reach this audience with an electronic newsletter. So a print newsletter still is viable in these situations.

Print newsletters have gotten fairly “modern” in their own way these days.  With advances in digital printing and the reduction of costs in printing, newsletters are no longer just pushed out through the printer at work, and copied for all.  3M has a newsletter that is practically a custom magazine. It is beautifully printed in high-gloss paper, and bound as a magazine.  It has a regular readership of over 40,000 and has a team of freelance contributing writers that create content for their readers that provides value and benefit to their audience.  In an article about financial decisions, they brought in realtors, remodelers, and builders, to discuss the benefits of buying, building, or remodeling a home in these trying economic times.

The lesson learned here is that newsletters still have an overriding need to provide valuable content for their readership, in order to stand out amidst the other pieces of mail they have to sift through.  The magazine format also provides a newsletter that tends to be kept and reread by their audience.

This holds true for customers that aren’t able to reach their audience easily every day.  An Agricultural Machinery client must get their clients attention about new products, to a demographic that has traditionally purchased from dealers and catalogs.  They have found great success from producing a newsletter-product catalog that fits in a jean or coverall pocket.  Their customers can then carry it around with them, and glance at it when they have a moment in their day.

What are some of the successes you’ve found with print newsletters?  Comment or contact me with your success stories, I’d love to hear them.



  1. I have several non-profit clients that has learned in the last two years that they have to return to a print newsletter. It will be only issued quarterly, but there are several segments in which print is still required. I’d like to say only the older crowd, but there is a group which we categorize as “Loyal / Email Fatigued”

    On a side note, what is interesting to me is how RSS is replacing email delivery methods. This will be a large impact on email marketers. We are already redesigning content for several clients to have the RSS feed drive traffic to a page with call to actions since most RSS Readers are not designed to incorporate this, the most important factor being measuring open and click rates. Not to mention, you never really know who has subscribed to your feed.

    Good Hunting

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Acetonic!!

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