Every worker needs his or her tools and people carrying out dissemination activities are no exception. The dissemination toolkit is a large one. The mechanisms available to spread the output of a project are numerous.
Print publications are a popular dissemination tool, mainly due to their versatility and potential reach. The project can decide on the length, quality and number of copies and distribution of a print product with relative ease. However, project managers need to craft the message and tone of the publication carefully to suit the audience.
There are numerous types of print products:
Spreading a wider web
The internet has become the dissemination tool of choice for millions of organisations and individuals. Websites are powerful tools for reaching your target audience and promoting your project. Project managers primarily use their websites to provide information about the project and news of its activities and results. When building websites, there is a temptation to put form over content in a bid to ‘wow’ visitors. But users tend to prefer good content presented in a simple, clear and easy-to-navigate interface.
With billions of webpages floating around in cyberspace, one of the main challenges for websites is ensuring that they are visited by the target audience. This means that, although websites are dissemination tools, it is not just enough simply to put them on-line, but they also need to be actively promoted and publicised. Mutual linking with websites in complementary fields, and promoting the site in the blogosphere are two ways of getting noticed. Priming your website to make it more visible to search engines is also useful.
Hear it on the grapevine
Project managers regularly need to reach their target audience to provide them with print publications or inform them about websiteupdates. Most communication teams keep a mailing list – both postal and electronic – containing a list of recipients who are interested in the project, such as policy-makers, civil society organisations, sectoral bodies, educational institutions, academics and students.
Despite their obvious strengths, in the age of information overload and spam, mailing lists may not perform efficiently if they are not carefully targeted and offer recipients the option to subscribe and unsubscribe whenever they wish. It should be noted also that there exist legal requirements associated with the possibility to subscribe/unsubscribe and the storing and access of personal data.