Communications strategy and social media for reseachers


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A brief guide to building a communications strategy and using social media for development researchers

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  • Ice breaker – tell your neighbour about an experience you have had of research communications.
  • Ask participants why and write up their answers
  • This morning we are mainly looking at effective communucations
  • A DFID definition. Not an activity it is a process.
  • A complex combination of research producers, knowledge intermediaries and research users – all these overlap. Lots of literature on role of knowledge intermediaries.
  • Channel = communication pathway
  • Somecomms activities are very resource intensive – for example general public awareness raising requires a lot of resources and impact can be hard to measure. What are your priorities – raising profile of institution/consortium versus targeted research uptake activities??
  • Not a very good plan!
  • Sticky messaging applies to all comms – policy brief, press release, media interview, workshop presentation.Keep SimpleUnexpected – things that surprise us or are counterintuitive are stickierConcrete – avoid abstract points – give examples – be specificCredible – credibility key to research uptakeEmotional – this could be controversialGood story telling is key
  • This template can be particularly useful for a policy breifing
  • 1 minute message – must be tailored to the specific audience
  • People access the internet in different ways these days. Sharing web content, blogs, links to reports can be an agile and relatively easy way to find out about new research and also to share information.The proliferation of social media tools and ways to receive feeds of information mean that people now read what they want and how they want it.
  • Why has internet access on mobile phones been a successProximity: There was the common theme that mobile internet usage correlates with the accessibility, affordability and quality of other ways to go onlineHits a sweet spotPerfect storm of circumstances  and improving!Perceived cost (micropayments)Mobile as modem
  • Quick show of hands to see who is on FB, who blogs, who Tweets, other platforms?
  • Show Dev Horizons, Goverance blog, Duncan Green, MicroconIndividual blogs versus institutional onesLearning from Microcon blog
  • Say what you have to say in 140/160 charactersShow IDS twitter – 10,000 followers Write a tweet on the workshop and I will tweet the best – id1comm5
  • Communications strategy and social media for reseachers

    1. 1. Building a communicationsstrategy and the use ofsocial mediaJames GeorgalakisHead of CommunicationsIDS
    2. 2. Session objectivesBasic introduction to research communication skillsUnderstand key steps to building a communicationstrategyLearn how to deliver your messagesUnderstand the use of blogs and social media
    3. 3. Why does researchcommunication matter?
    4. 4. Factors affecting research uptake Political context Effective and power research relationships communicationGaps betweenresearchers and Researchresearch users uptake and changes in people’s Southern research lives capacity Character and credibility of evidence
    5. 5. What is research communications?Research communication is defined as the ability tointerpret or translate complex research findings intolanguage, format and context that non experts canunderstand.It is not just about dissemination of researchresults and is unlike marketing that simply promotesa product. Research communications must addressthe needs of those who will use the research orbenefit from it.
    6. 6. Communication not as Dissemination… but as engagement
    7. 7. Research Communications – a Network of Participants and BeneficiariesResearchersJournalistsDonorsNGOs and practitionersCivil society organisationsPolicy makersGovernmentsIndividual beneficiaries All have different communication needs!
    8. 8. Effective research communications Distillation of research findings Use of plain language Making information accessible Tailored communications for different audiences Identification of the needs of the target groupsConsider technical barriers, language and cultural factors etc
    9. 9. Three ingredients of effectivecommunication Audience Message Channel Effective communication
    10. 10. Main delivery channels Publications Online Media Events
    11. 11. ‘Communication’ throughout research project Informing: Research agenda Methodological choices Comms strategy
    12. 12. Five key questions that your communications strategy should answer:1. Objectives: What are the desirable outcomes from our comms activity2. Audiences: Who do we want to influence and inform and what do we know about them?3. Communications pathways: Who is best placed to communicate with each of our audiences and what are the best ways to reach them?4. Timescales: When will be the best times to communicate?5. Resources: What do we need - what might we have?
    13. 13. 1. Communication objectivesWhat will success look like for the project?What do you want individuals/institutions to do as aresult of your communications with them: Actdifferently; Think differently; Design or implementpolicies differently?How realistic are your objectives – what are themain barriers to your success?
    14. 14. 2. AudiencesWho are you trying to reach?Why should they listen to you or care?Will they agree with you? Are they potential partnersor opponents?What role might they play in the reearch’sdesign, delivery or uptake?
    15. 15. 3. Communications PathwaysWho is best placed to communicate with each ofyour target audiences? Who has theskills, knowledge, contacts, legitimacy, networks?How do your audiences access information andwhat/who influences them?What kind of communication outputs/activities willbe most effective in reaching your audiences?Blog, policy brief, workshop, report, media, journal?
    16. 16. 4. TimescaleWhen will be the best time to influence policyor practice?What are the planned events and processeswhere you could present your research?Particular opportunities to collaborate withothers?Are you tracking policy environment to supportplanning?
    17. 17. 5. ResourcesHave you already mapped out the activities youplan to undertake?What are the major resource implications – time,materials, skills?Will resource limitations or capability issuesmean making any hard choices – how will youprioritise between desirable communicationsactivities?
    18. 18. Choosing your communications outputs and pathwaysWhen Outputs and Resources Audience(s) Expected pathways outcomesLaunch •Press release to Project comms officer Policy makers, Civilof national media and society orgs Awareness ofproject networks project and interest in •Launch Website Researchers, collaboration fundersYear 1 •Launch Blog Researchers time and All Inform policy •Project e-newsletter support from comms debate officer •Working Papers Academics Grow credibility of online projectYear 2 •Workshops $$$ Policy makers, civil Research design •Policy briefings society orgs and uptake •Working papers academicsYear 3 High level roundtable $$ Policy makers Policy/practice Policy briefings $ NGOs, funders, changes Final report Comms officer decision makers Press conference Practitioners Influence research Journal articles Researcher’s time academics agendas
    19. 19. Developing your messages
    20. 20. How to make messages stick – Simple – Unexpected – Concrete – Credible – Emotional – StoriesChip and Dan Heath (2006) Made to Stick
    21. 21. Framing your messageYou need to know Why should they listen? Why should they take action? What actions do you want them to take?Then tailor your core message? What you say – theories and arguments How you say it – language, style and format Who says it – appropriate messengers When, where and how you deliver
    22. 22. The analysis The recommendationsWhat is the key What is the keyissue? learning?How does it How will itaffect people? benefit people?What is the What is theevidence? evidence for the solution?An example or Who/Whatkiller fact? needs to change?
    23. 23. Elevator pitch Statement Evidence Example Call to action
    24. 24. Social media
    25. 25. Social networking Applications which enable users to connect by creating personal profiles and inviting ‘friends’ Friends can access each others profiles and other information and interact through message exchanges
    26. 26. How the internet has changed
    27. 27. Internet access in Africa Cheap Work College Mobile CyberInconvenient Café Convenient Fixed Internet Expensive
    28. 28. What’s in it for researchers? Quick and easy way to publish Raises researcher profiles more rapidly Ability to reach a larger audience
    29. 29. Blogging Short, crisp writing with a point to make from a provocative angle. A blog should invite thought, response, and dialogue. Questions, even rhetorical ones, are a good idea; they invite dialogue and comment. Links to other blogs, articles, (3 or 4 minimum) etc. are good Use quotes from other good articles and give credit. Especially reference & link to important bloggers, journalists A picture or a video embedded in the blog is great. For a picture, there must be copyright permission.Source: Planet Under Pressure email to bloggers
    30. 30. TwitterA micro-blogging site launchedin 2006500 million active usersworldwide
    31. 31. What haven’t we covered!Tips for managing media interviewsWriting policy briefsThe theories behind research uptakeM+E