Communications Channels: A full guide

There are three questions that can guide your choice of communications channels: What channels do your target audiences already use and trust? What is the purpose of your communications? What resources do you have?

It is recommended that you approach your choice of communications channels with an open mind. Consider which channels will be the most effective to reach and engage your audiences. Resist the impulse to revert automatically to channels that you have used previously, or that you are familiar with, unless and until you know they are the right channels for your project and your audiences.

There are three questions that can guide your choice of communications channels

1.WHAT CHANNELS DO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCES ALREADY USE AND TRUST?

Think about their existing behaviors. What sources of information do they already use/respond to? Do not invest in channels that your audience do not, or will not, use and trust.

2.WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR COMMUNICATIONS?

Some channels lend themselves to communicating complex information; some are efficient ways of delivering short pieces of relevant information. The model below illustrates this on a spectrum.

COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS - A full guide
Image: The Health Foundation

If you have a need to communicate a complex issue, then most of your channels will be on the left of the spectrum above. However, do all your channels lie at one end of the spectrum? One-to-one meetings may need to be reinforced by regular e-news updates. Mass social media communications may be augmented by carefully targeted events.

3. WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU HAVE?

Social media and ‘owned’ media that you may have access to (existing organizational websites, e-news, newsletters, etc.) are free to use but will need a combination of set-up time and regular maintenance.

Events, printed materials, videos and media coverage will need time and budget, and you may need to bring in specialist skills. Your choice of channels will need to match the resources you have.

The channels you use to reach and engage people should depend on what you need to achieve with your communications, the preference of your target audience and the resources and budget you have available.

You may need to use a range of channels to achieve all your objectives. Some channels you may want to consider are set out in the table below.

COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS - A full guide
Image: The Health Foundation
COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS - A full guide
Image: The Health Foundation
COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS - A full guide
Image: The Health Foundation
COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS - A full guide
Image: The Health Foundation

Source: The Health Foundation

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