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January 17th, 2012

You Can’t Play Angry Birds on A Bound Briefing Book, And Other Reasons You Should Digitize Your Media Prep Material

When was the last time you pulled a volume from an encyclopedia off the shelf to look up a piece of information? 15 years ago? Maybe never for some of the recent grads? So why, in an age where all information is saved and obtained digitally, do PR people give printed and bound briefing material to clients? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that a record setting 153,000+ people attended CES 2012. With numbers like that it’s anyone’s guess as to how many briefing books were circulating the show floor over the past week. I’m not a betting man, but since CES takes place in Las Vegas, I’ll go with whatever the over is.

So aside from my point about Angry Birds, don’t you think it’s high time we remove bound briefing materials from the bags of our clients as they walk the floors of events or make their way through the airport? Aside from alleviating hours at the printer and in front of the binding machine, there’s a number of other reasons you’ll want to make all your media prep material digital. Here are a few that come to mind:

It’s Easy

Got an iPad, iPhone, smartphone, or tablet? Well, turn that 75 page briefing book into a PDF and open and save it on one (or all) of those devices. If you’re using iBooks on an Apple device, your briefing material will look something like this:

It’s Searchable

Leave dividers and tabs to your grandmother’s recipe book. Digital means easily searchable. Your time and especially your client’s time is valuable, so let’s save us all the hassle of flipping through pages looking for a meeting room location when we could easily search a PDF.

It’s More Secure

People care more about losing their iPads or tablets than they do a two-pound briefing book, so your competitive messaging, media backgrounders and tough to answer Q&As are a bit safer when they’re saved digitally.

It’s Green

Please consider the environment before printing hundreds of pages for your briefing materials. Less paper means more trees.

It’s Comfortable

Aside from security, this might be one of the most important points for going digital. I’ve got a phone in my pocket and iPad in my bag, why would I want to add a paperweight made of paper to that combo?

So now that we know the benefits and just how easy it is to go digital with your briefing materials, what’s stopping you from doing so? Oh yeah, you have a manager who’s been doing PR since you were playing Pogs and they decided that while it’s a good idea it’s just not practical. As Nick Bilton stated in his book, ‘I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works’, “…fearful and anxious reactions to innovation also keep us from seeing the bigger potential of new ideas. There’s an all too human tendency to believe that what we know and experience now is the way it will and always should be.”

Rattle off something like that. You’ll make a good case to go digital.

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