Streaming media: Integrating print and web

As an educational institution, what’s the best way to reach your audience? Print? Web? Both? Though most organizations recognize the need for both, it can be difficult to assess what to use when, and how to effectively integrate the two.

While Studio-e can help your school determine the right message and media for your audience, a recent article in CASE CURRENTS magazine offers some insight into the subject. In “Streaming Media,” Jeff Pulley discusses the current state of complex communications and suggests “strategies for juggling online and print.”

Finding the “best mix” of print and web “can be maddening,” Pulley writes. “Developing new communications tools is no guarantee that people will always use them. And despite advances in information technology, old ways of delivering media remain a critical component of effective communications … More than ever, it would seem, the medium is the message.”

Though some might argue that print communication is on the way out, it isn’t — rather, it’s simply used for a different purpose. According to Bob Brock, president of the Educational Marketing Group, “‘Today the primary objective of printed material [such as a viewbook] is to establish a personality, a style, an attitude, a direction. It is not to convey information.’” That’s what the web does.

Pulley provides examples of successful print/web marketing strategies at various schools:

  • Carnegie Mellon University created the “Fat Letter,” a humorous direct mail piece, to reveal some of its personality and make an emotional connection with its audience. The letter drives admitted students to the website, where they can download ring tones and wallpaper.

  • Dartmouth College followed up its direct mail campaign with an e-mail, to encourage prospective donors to respond to the print piece. If you’re going to go this route, Pulley advises, “rather than firing off generic e-mail blasts ... [use] customized messages that resonate with specific segments of the larger constituency.” Customization is a chief benefit of web media.

  • Penn State University provides all members of its communications staff with digital cameras and iPhones to get them comfortable using new technology. Pulley stresses the importance of a well-armed staff. “‘Hiring a director of new media is a non sequitur,’” Brock says. ‘Your entire staff has to use new media every day.’”

Ultimately, any medium you use must “deliver stories that move people to action, whether that is signing up for an event online or logging on for a free T-shirt that is snail mailed.”

Studio-e would love to hear from you. How does your institution integrate print and web? What have you found to be most effective? And what, if anything, could you use help with?

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