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Print vs Digital Bulletins What’s the Big Deal

Print vs Digital Bulletins What’s the Big Deal

Printed church bulletins are an interesting topic. And every communicator has an opinion about them.

The reality is that print bulletins have stuck around as long as they have for largely one reason…

They are one of the few consistent communications channels churches use.

Your church knows they can expect it. So while other communications have gone away, but the bulletin has remained.

The question that needs to be addressed though is…

Do print bulletins still matter? Should we continue to put resources toward them?

There is a push currently to move toward digital versions of the bulletin. With churches trying

  • Apps
  • Online Newsletters
  • Emails

Any way they can deliver information quicker, with less cost and lower environmental impact.

Unfortunately, if your church has a history of a print bulletin, you are going to have difficulty getting away from it

There is a group in your church who sees the bulletin as their main communication connection to what you offer.

When they have a question, it’s where they look. It’s how they expect to get information about your church.

While younger church attenders would rather receive text messages or online notifications, it is not how the older generation communicates.

They want ink on paper. Something they can refer to when they need information.

The churches I’ve seen try to move completely away from a print bulletin have run into challenges.

  • Details fell through the cracks
  • Information was not fully conveyed
  • People felt disconnected from what was going on

If you are looking to move away from a printed bulletin I would caution you.

You are best to treat it as a transitional piece that is slowly phased out. Rather than an item to just stop printing one Sunday.

Consider delivering information that would be in the bulletin through different digital channels. Simultaneously provide print copies for those who want one.

If print costs are your concern, this would help you greatly reduce the number of copies necessary each week. Since much of the bulletin remains consistent, you might consider printing only twice twice a month. This would allow you to reduce your costs even more.

Every church is different. But a resource as simple as a print bulletin can speak volumes to an entire generation about how much you value them in your church.

Transition from a printed church bulletin only when needed, and remember to keep your church informed if you do.

7 Ways to Be More Strategic with Your Church Bulletin

7 Ways to Be More Strategic with Your Church Bulletin

For many churches, the bulletin remains a staple of church communication. Weekly announcements, budget details and attendance records continue to fill the page each week.

While the bulletin is no longer a strategic option for every church, it continues to be for others.

If you’re still creating a weekly bulletin, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are some ways to be strategic and ensure you have a successful church bulletin.

1) Be intentional about what you include

The bulletin is prime communication real estate for the life of your church. Because of this it tends to become an information dumping ground. It’s easy to overwhelm our readers with too many announcements and event details.

Take a step back and filter the information through the eyes of a guest or non-Christian. It doesn’t have to be wordy, but it does need to serve a ministry purpose.

  • Is this information pertinent?
  • Will the reader understand what the ministry is about?
  • How can they get involved?
  • Is the bulletin the best way to share this information?
  • Is there a more intentional way to share this with the right group of people?

2) Repurpose your content

Let’s be honest. Time is our most valuable resource. You don’t have lots of it to spare.

So, don’t reinvent the wheel every time. Any time you work on a bulletin announcement, look for other ways you can share the same information.

Your listener has only read the announcement once and they aren’t tired of it yet. The challenge is, you’ve lived with it for a while, so it feels like you’ve conveyed it a lot of times. The reality is, you haven’t, your church is just getting up to speed about the announcement.

3) Confirm your information

Communication success is in the details. There is nothing worse than having to take valuable service time to verbally correct a bulletin announcement.

Take time to confirm dates, times, contact details and more when you put your bulletin together. You’ll be glad you did.

4) Make it scannable

I hate to say it, but people aren’t reading your bulletin. Most are quickly browsing, looking for details that interest them and ignoring the rest. Help them find what is most important to them by visually directing them.

You can get creative by…

  • Highlighting ministry names in Bold
  • Sharing details in a Regular font
  • Identifying contact details or registration info in Italics

Anything you can do to hep people find the announcements they are most interested in

5) Add visual elements

Our society is becoming increasingly visual and expects supporting images alongside information. Avoid using clip art, and look for images to reinforce your message or give your reader context for the announcement.

Need some inspiration? The Church Media Resource List has free and low cost image providers.

6) Let it breathe

You don’t need to fill every square inch of the bulletin with something. Find a balance between the volume of information, the font size and the blank white space on the page.

It will help your reader digest the information better and not get overwhelmed by the text.

7) Track your numbers

Get in the habit of tracking the number of bulletins you print each week and the number of leftovers. It will help you notice seasonal changes and holiday bumps, allowing you to better steward your resources in the future.

I’ve created a Bulletin Use Tracking Worksheet to help with this. There are places to put your numbers, plus notes about the specific day. Feel free to use it in your church.

 

What things are you doing to have a successful church bulletin? Let me know in the comments below.