A funny thing happened on the way to distributing one of DDCC’s prized digital newsletters. The employees asked for it in print too.
DDCC’s original assignment was clear: Interview, write, design and produce a compelling and visual digital employee newsletter for 300 recipients inside this West Coast-based high-tech engineering firm. The company’s inside team had been putting together the newsletter themselves for the past two years using bits and pieces submitted from employees.
DDCC’s charge was to “kick it up a notch,” bring a journalistic, non-biased approach, add customer, department and employee profiles and brand and update the design. DDCC was asked to interact with the internal staff for their input, yet allow them to finally do their day jobs versus spending so much time on the newsletter—all requested within a strict corporate budget.
Somewhere in the process, executive management decided to try something a little different by printing every other issue and mailing it to employee homes. Keeping in mind the small added cost of less than $300 per issue for printing and mailing, these executives felt it would be a great way to include employees’ families and provide more reading opportunities at home. It would also allow a quality magazine approach to employee communications that couldn’t be achieved by simply clicking “print” on the PDF and stapling together random sheets of paper with grainy photos.
The internal newsletter team pushed back. “People will not want it printed,” they insisted. “Why go that route when things were working perfectly fine with only doing an interactive PDF?” After all, the piece had been elevated both visually and content-wise since DDCC had taken on the assignment.
The executives who believed in the print enhancement stuck to their guns: The first print issue was mailed with a splash; and employees came to the office for days speaking about the stories inside. The next newsletter was in digital format only with the same high-style design. Employees could click on cover-lines to read the stories. The next issue was print; the next digital, and so on.
After three months (two print issues and one interactive digital issue later), the Human Resources Vice President gave us a call. Could we convert the current digital-only issue into print and send a few his way? Some of the employees were asking.
The next request came after the next digital issue. “Please print some copies to send to us again,” asked the VP HR. “Featured employees are asking to bring home an issue to their families. And we are also using them as a recruiting tool.”
And so the decision was made to print every issue in addition to providing it as an interactive PDF on the company website. Employees were asking, families were interested and the print newsletter was just easier to enjoy for longer. Besides, the additional cost was minimal and employees who were printing it out from their computers made any paper savings a moot point. Even the internal newsletter team had to concede the point.
In this particular case, adding print was just the way to go. Employees felt special when they held a quality news piece from their company in their hands and in their homes; one they could share with their families. In the end everyone agreed that even in our digital world, solely using a click sometimes doesn’t do the whole trick.