Using the Web to Make Your Print Work Better

You know the drill. First, determine your message. Second, pick the tools to communicate it well.

For most of us, the tools we choose include print and web. For a different twist, let’s think about ways to use the web to make your print work even better.

Rely on your social channels to help you make choices about photography and copy in print pieces.

Monitor social media for data you can use to make better content choices.

  • “Popularity” on social platforms offers insights about the types of photos that resonate with your target audiences. Knowing what your audiences’ preferences are—measured through likes, retweets, shares, favorites, and comments—allows you to make better choices when selecting photography for print pieces.
  • You can “test” language, themes, stories, and ideas on social first. Watch for reactions and responses and then use that information as you develop and repurpose content for print. Let evidence of engagement on social channels inform your content strategy.
  • Use social hashtags to listen in and find out what your target audiences think. (Sites like Tagboard allow you to search by hashtag across social platforms.) Informed by a hashtag review, collect and curate user-generated content for a fresh and authentic diversity of voices for a more compelling print piece.

Use the web to measure the effectiveness of print.

Set concrete goals for brochures, postcards, viewbooks, and magazines and then use web analytics to measure your success.

  • Collect metrics tied to the calls to action in your print piece.
    For example: 1.) This postcard will result in 500 visits to a custom landing page on the website; or, 2.) The number of prospective students who view a companion video will increase by 10 percent during the first 60 days after the viewbook drops.
  • Conduct A | B Testing.
    Mail out prospective student information containing URLs that showcase student life via profiles and videos. Post mailing, monitor web traffic for a specified time period to see how many direct URL accesses occurred to those pages and determine how effective the campaign was in generating interest for your message to prospective students. 
Or, use A | B testing to compare digital and print communications. For example, include a call to go to a URL like in an email campaign, and a URL of for a print postcard. Both of these URLs point to the same destination page for applying, but proper use of Google Analytics will allow you to see how many came from each by viewing the source.

Repurpose digital content for print.

Create once and publish everywhere!

  • Collect the “best of” the web and use it for print. Reuse on-message blog posts, most shared Instagram photos, and popular student profiles.
  • Connect the dots for your audiences. Use the photography, color palette, iconography, theme lines, subheads, and headlines from the web to reinforce messages and brand in print.
  • Use hashtags on print pieces to encourage the target audience to explore digital content.

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