Communicating service resources

Over the past few weeks our team have been thinking through how we can communicate our resources more effectively through various channels. The thing is we don’t really have a handle on what works best at the moment so to begin with we’ve settled on using those channels which are already well established across the service and gathering some data on their effectiveness. Those channels comprise of: our mailing list; twitter; and our service blog. On top of this a decision is made as to whether any changes are required for the front of our website and we email relevant stakeholder organisations to inform them of new/updated resources.

The process

When a new resource is produced or significantly updated we produce a launch and dissemination document (the term launch is used loosely throughout). It provides the team with all the necessary information required to promote the resource once ready. At the moment that involves:

  • Resource title
  • URL
  • Expected launch date
  • Additional actions for the website
  • The communications plan i.e. step by step actions
  • Website description (which is also used in a monthly round-up email)
  • Rationale for the resource
  • Internal stakeholder email
  • Target audience – interest, relevant channels and status of communication
  • Blog post
  • Tweet

This level of detail is something new to our planning and as such we’ve been working very hard in trying to adopt it for some of our newest resources i.e. the e-Safety infoKit, online learning topic and MOOCs topic. One of the big differences is our approach to monitoring how well the different communication channels work. To do this we’re using Google’s Custom Campaigns. At the time of writing the e-Safety infoKit has been live for 11 days and has had 716 pageviews. From the channels we’ve communicated links through we’ve had 268 visits (I need to work out how best to match this back to content statistics e.g. pageviews). The graph below highlights which channels are driving traffic to our site. Bear in mind this is still early days and not every communications channel posted messages on the same day — we log these using annotations within Google Analytics.

Visit to the e-Safety infoKit via monitored comms channels 15th April - 26th April 2013

We aim to review the launch of the e-Safety infoKit a month after its launch to think through some of the implications of the data we have but it could be that we don’t have a full understanding until six months down the line when we can also match the e-Safety infoKit data with others. I am surprised that the link from our blog post has resulted in more traffic than twitter.

Lessons learned

  • It’s difficult to coordinate multiple stakeholders. We had one internal stakeholder tweet our launch message early. We’re not sure on how to manage this going forward because it is useful sharing the full launch and dissemination document, we aren’t keen on hiding information
  • It makes the launch so much easier! We scheduled our blog post and tweet to go out automatically at a predetermined time and had contacted the relevant people to amplify our message
  • Remember that your own team is an internal stakeholder – everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on
  • A lot of our recent work in this area has been rushed. In future we expect to start drafting this launch and dissemination material at the start of the project
  • We will be adding a section to log emergent communications activity post-launch. This will help us to clearly think through future approaches to our communications
  • We’re working on making the template clearer so that individuals responsible for certain actions can include relevant updates

Going forward

There’s still lots to do. This process focuses on the dissemination and launch of products. We still want to think more strategically about the types of messages we send out more generally from our communications channels. This will help to inform and educate the team how best to use the various tools we have in place.

If you have any advice or guidance that you’d like to share with us please do so in the comments below or contact the team directly. We’d love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Communicating service resources

  1. Pingback: Weeknote 01/2013 | andystew

  2. Pingback: Reflecting on our communications channels | Jisc infoNet's team blog

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