Technique of the Week #9: Print

What you need to know

One of the oldest forms of knowledge mobilization is the written language. By definition, the modern practice of history begins with written language with the oldest form of writing dating from 5500 BCE. Today, modern forms of writing often come in the form of prints. These prints can be in the form of a variety of differing presentations. For example, common forms of print include policy briefs, newspapers, magazines, books, and journal articles.

Unlike other forms of media which often require the quick dissemination of information (like radio or television advertisements) print media can usually incorporate more detail. Finally, Print media is an easy way to spread awareness in a geographical location (e.g., local newspaper).

Resources, time, and skill

As with any form of communication, the efficacy of printed communications in providing clear messages depends on the skill of the person/organization trying to send that message. Things to keep in mind when using print as a form of knowledge mobilization:

  • Messages should be clear, and the reader should leave with an understanding of what they read, and be able to use this information for action (e.g., decision-making).
  • Print media normally allows you to control your own advertising space such as the size of the ad and the location.
  • Depending on the medium used, time can vary. For example, book preparation and production may take months, while preparation and production of newspapers may take a few hours.
  • Print media is generally cost effective.

Key Considerations

Whether it be online or in physical paper copies, the message you are trying to convey may sometimes get lost among the mass of other messages bombarding a population at any given time. In addition, print such as newspapers and magazines have a short lifespan, with many people throwing them out or only reading them for a day or two. Although printed messages have the ability to host large amounts of information, this must be weighed with the benefits of having concise messaging.

Incorporating print into your KMb

You most definitely have used print in your knowledge mobilization strategies. As such you probably know that print media has unlimited exposure and are non-invasive. As opposed to television and radio which have time limits and may interrupt regular programming which may be of annoyance. Print media allows you to target specific audiences with your ads or articles. For example, magazines are normally highly specialized (e.g., fashion, science, real estate). This allows you to tailor your messages to your audiences. Depending on your goals and budget, print media can be used in conjunction with other techniques such as radio, television, or social media to achieve greater awareness.

The take away

One of the oldest methods of conveying messages, printed communications can be applied through a variety of differing techniques and mediums. One should keep in mind that when using printed communications for KMb, messages should be clear, and leave the reader with knowledge that they can use for action.

Resources

Advantages and disadvantages of print media

Advantages to print media

Five common elements of print advertisement

About print media

Examples

Print example #1

Print example #2

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