Directory Printing – 5 Reasons Why Associations Still Produce a Book
Printing a directory these days seems to be old-fashioned (or obsolete), but surprisingly many of our clients still have a strong desire interest in a printed directory.
According to Google, there are well over 10,000 key word searches on “directory printing” and “directory publishing” each month. I am sure some of these results may be for “printing a windows directory”, however according to my web site analytic program, we get a lot of visitors on our web site looking for directory printing.
So why print a member directory and not put that content on CD or online?
1. Preference. Our clients have indicated their members don’t like having to click 10+ times through a maze of links and remember their password to look someone up. They would prefer to pull out the printed directory. Each audience is different too. For some organizations, the directory is more like a yearbook and only makes sense to have it in print.
2. Look Up Speed. Building on the point above, nothing is faster than grabbing the printed directory that’s on your bookshelf to find someone. Compare that to going to the computer, loading the CD (listening to it spin for 10 seconds before anything happens), or loading your browser, then navigating to your member web site (numerous clicks and a possible password you must remember). Two and a half minutes later… you’re in the directory.
3. Note Taking. The printed directory allows one to take notes on inside pages. Unless you have a advanced online system that allows for interactivity (web directory 2.0?), you can’t place notes online. Tools are improving (e.g, LinkedIn allows you to write notes), but note taking is still in the future for most groups.
4. Revenue. You can generate revenue from supporting advertisers by charging for ads on covers and inside pages. The buyer’s guide is a great example of this.
5. Portability. Many people don’t spend their day at work on a computer and not everyone carries a web-enabled cell phone (yet), so a printed directory gives those mobile members constant access to the information they need.
Sure there are reasons to host a directory online (e.g., information can be updated more often, lower cost to produce depending on features), but let me reassure you that directory printing isn’t going away. We’re printing more directories now than a few years ago!