PRINTING since 1875, Tweeting since 2011. How’s that for a Twitter bio? While the cynical or the spiteful might say it shows how long it’s taken the print world to embrace The Digital Revolution, others may read it as it’s intended ... to mark the beginning of a harmonious marketing and communications relationship between the two mediums.
Print was once a revolution too, remember, so they do have that in common.
I have worked as a freelancer in different digital projects (including happiest in Newcastle), and when the opportunity came up to do digital in a print company it seemed like a unique challenge. The main part of that challenge turned out to be thinking of something to say!
I went to London College of Printing, so I do have an interest in print, but there aren’t a huge amount of potential clients out there who feel passionate about platemaking, perfect binding and particular Pantone colours. The price of a job might arouse their attention, but not so much the creative and technical processes that end 30 days before the payment due date. The solution was simple in the end. Tweet about anything but print.
People in print companies (and this is where the digital folk need to listen up) do not only think, talk and live print. They have sporting and social activities to speak of, adventures and achievements to share, charitable and characterful acts to tell the world about. Some of them even have iPads. This can be applied to any company .
As a result, I took the approach of producing content, centred around a Posterous blog, about what the company and its employees are doing when they’re not doing print.
Occasionally there is the need for a print-related story, about a new bit of kit or a business achievement, but the choice to use an informal style and show what goes on behind the scenes has been a successful one in terms of getting people to tune in.
Interestingly, or some might say obviously, it’s Facebook that has been the most successful tool for internal communications. A company’s production staff often don’t use a computer as part of their day-to-day work, but they may use Facebook at home. This has been very useful in involving all areas of the business in corporate social media.
So, for me, introducing digital to a print company wasn’t the story of trouble and strife it could have been. This should really be the case at any forward-thinking business that doesn’t traditionally use the medium.
:: Laurie Cansfield is corporate communications manager at Cramlington’s Potts Print (UK)