| By Marybeth Hicks

5 Reasons Why Print Beats Digital for Diocesan Evangelization

We all know that digital communication is essential to sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in the digital age. But is digital communication a better option than print for diocesan evangelization? Certainly, email, websites, social media, and even traditional media can be cost-effective and useful in reaching the people of God where they are — on cell phones, tablets, laptops and through TV and radio. But if the goal is to reach a majority of Catholic households with content that evangelizes, it turns out there’s still no better method than print. Moreover, FAITH’s diocesan magazine framework demonstrates why print magazines can be the best tool for clear, consistent, and compelling diocesan communication.

  1. Very few Catholics actually engage with Catholic digital media. FAITH’s extensive 2017 State of Diocesan Media report combined with CARA’s research showed just how few people follow diocesan Twitter (2%), diocesan Facebook (3.5%), visit diocesan websites (4%), open diocesan emails (25.4%), watch Catholic television (7%), or listen to Catholic radio (5%). 

  2. Diocesan print media reaches 24% of Catholic households — more than all digital media combined. That number has remained constant since 2007, due primarily to the growth of diocesan magazines. Fifty-seven dioceses reach 100% of their Catholic households by sending their publications to all registered homes. Print publications are the only avenue to reach 100% of registered Catholic households within a diocese.

  3. People of all ages read magazines! Newspapers are declining in circulation, including Catholic newspapers, while magazines continue to be a consistent media for most people, including young people. According to the Magazine Publishers Association 2019 Magazine Media Factbook, 94% of adults under age 25 have read magazine media in the past six months, and 73% of adults, including a majority of millennials, feel that reading a printed magazine is more enjoyable than reading an electronic device.

  4. Compelling Catholic magazines inspire, educate and inform their readers. FAITH Catholic conducts regular readership surveys for its publications. For publications that use the FAITH Catholic framework, 94% of adults age 30 to 49 find the magazine interesting, and 74% say the magazine “helps me explain my Catholic faith to family and friends.” Find more information about our readership surveys here.

  5. Magazine content is ideal for using digitally! FAITH Catholic promotes the concept of “content evangelization,” the practice of using and sharing Catholic content to spread the good news of the Gospel. Content created for publication in a magazine is meant to be read and shared, either by passing along the printed magazine or by sharing digital versions of the content via social media, email, etc. For this reason, a publication with a companion website, along with a comprehensive social media and email strategy, is the “gold standard” for diocesan evangelization.

Print magazines remain the cornerstone of the FAITH model for diocesan publishing. However, adding a publication website allows magazine content to be digitally repurposed for content evangelization, which enables Catholics to live out their call to evangelization by sharing their faith with others.