How to Scrap Your Paper Bulletin

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[Photo credit: Tree of Light by JPhilipson, on Flickr]

If you’ve been thinking about how to scrap your paper bulletin (and you should be), but you’re not sure how to sell it to your members, take a page (virtually, of course) from this ad I spotted in InformationWeek:

Worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

InformationWeek will be carbon-neutral within 10 years. As part of this commitment, four 2009 issues will not be printed – instead they will be available to our readers as interactive PDF downloads.

What’s more, we’re working with nonprofit organizations to protect and restore the world’s forests. InformationWeek will plant a tree for each of the first 5000 downloads of every green issue.

Please join us. To find out more or tell us what you think, go to

There’s so much I love about this campaign. First off, they realize that paper publications rank with junk mail in most households. No point in going directly to the recycling bin. Think about that the next time you stuff an envelope with your bulletin.

Secondly, they’re giving their readers lots of notice and letting them know these PDFs are “interactive” – added value and preemptive marketing! So start, notifying your members that you’re going digital, and tell them about the benefits of shifting to online pubs.

Thirdly, they’re planting trees. Who on earth would have a beef with that? Makes you want to go download a document. It’s good for the planet.

Finally, they’re providing more information and asking for feedback. I’ve talked with many organizations that say they absolutely cannot afford to let the paper bulletin go. But if they ask their members what they think, they often find they don’t care one way or the other.

This is a simple campaign, and one that can save you a fair bit of money too. By the time you save postage and printing, you can probably hire someone to help layout your digital version and attract more readers along the way.

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