Dissemination Toolkit: Audience & Messaging

audience and messaging icon

AUDIENCE
Writing a paper for a peer-reviewed journal is very different from writing an informal blog. Vocabulary, tone, and length are just a few aspects of your writing that should change depending on your audience. If you don't identify the right audience and adapt your writing accordingly, journals and blogs may reject your submissions or, if published, you may lose the interest of the very group you are trying to reach! 

Your strategy for outreach may depend on your audience as well. For example, social media or online communities such as the Teaching Channel might be more appropriate channels for a practitioner audience than a peer-reviewed journal article. For a policymaker audience, sharing a brief or short video, in addition to a report, might make your case more compelling.

It may also be helpful to get advice from potential audience members on what issues interest them, where they access information, and how they use information (on that topic) as you are drafting your plan, messaging, or product. 

Helpful Resources:

  • Know Your Audience
    This SkillsYouNeed article covers the importance of knowing your audience, how to start identifying your audience, and how to tailor your writing to your audience.
  • Know Your Audience Visualization Tool
    This tool co-produced by the Culture Lab and Race Forward will help you to "understand how to apply audience analysis to your story development and engagement process; gain tips on easy ways to start gathering audience data and insights; and prioritize and build out personas for your core and reach audiences.”
  • Writing for an Audience
    The University of Maryland, College Park, has written tips on identifying your audience and crafting your writing to meet their needs.

MESSAGING
Businesses pay a lot of attention to messaging. You should too. Below are tips and strategies from marketing companies that can help you craft appropriate and compelling messages about your research. Whether you are trying to recruit teachers for a study or promoting your latest module, messaging can be a key strategy to getting the right information out and attracting interest to your work.

Helpful Resources:

  • 3 Keys to Crafting Relevant Messaging
    Akoonu, a company that specializes in sales and marketing, posted this blog about three key principles you should keep in mind when crafting and planning your messaging strategy.
  • A Planning Check List for Business Messages
    The title of this article is misleading. In addition to a checklist (that is useful beyond business messages), it describes determining your purpose; credibility, audience, timing; and the pros and cons of different communication channels.
  • Questions to Consider When Crafting the Message
    How does the target audience see the campaign issue and goal? And how can the audience be motivated to respond to the call for action? Consider these and other questions in this UN Women article when crafting your messaging.

See also the Writing & Publishing section of our dissemination toolkit.

Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
A compilation of resources to help you think about audience and messaging.
Resource Type: 
Tool