Updated, April 2022
How are you going to get your message to your users? TV, radio (don’t we wish!)? Online resource pages? Emails? Enewsletters or in-person trainings?
By “media,” we mean the vehicles, ways, or mechanisms we use to send info to, or communicate with, our users. We also mean the format to be used (PDF files, audio, Braille, to name a few).
Questions To Ask Yourself at the Start
Is your information to be delivered through existing networks, communication channels, associations/organizations, meetings/conferences, and other venues?
How does each dissemination format and mode you use or plan to use reach your target audience(s)?
Do you match each dissemination medium to the expressed needs and preferences of specific user groups?
Are you providing info to users through channels (visual, auditory, etc.) they are known to prefer?
Is your info delivered directly to intended users?
Is your info available in full-text format on the Internet?
Has your staff conducted a needs assessment to determine users’ general accessibility requirements?
Do you provide your info in alternate formats that are accessible to all members of the intended user group(s)?
A lot of aspects to look at, eh? And these aren’t even the BIG question that is posed in the research literature: What are the many ways in which we can disseminate information?
The BIG Question
Take a look at the long list of possible media or formats below and consider which you typically include in your dissemination plans (and which ones you might start including!).
- Social media presence (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Press release
- Newsletters of groups to which target audiences belong
- Newspaper or magazine article or interview
- Magazine article or interview
- Large print format or Braille
- In Word or accessible PDF format
- Video with captioning
- In other languages besides English
- Conference presentation or panel discussion
- Radio or TV interviews
- Links to and from other relevant websites
- Flash drive or DVD
- Software or a mobile app
- Telephone hotline
- Printed or online users manual or guide
- Interactive training sessions
- Online self-paced learning modules
- Blogging, either on your website or another organization’s
- Chatrooms, forums, or online discussions
- Poll and survey mechanisms
- Communities of practice
- Facebook, Twitter, or other social media presence
Learning from that BIG Question
When you look at that long list of dissemination options, it seems daunting—-are we really supposed to be doing all of that?
The answer is yes…and no. It’s a list of possibilities, of options, from which we mix and match, depending on the needs and input of our users. Using multiple vehicles (i.e., media) will make our dissemination more widespread, but it will not necessarily achieve more utilization by users if we haven’t considered what best suits and reaches our audience(s) or carefully crafted our content.
Keep Reading about Dissemination
- We’re All Disseminators: Why This Info is Relevant to You
- The Dissemination Research Base
- Element 1 of Effective Dissemination: Involve Your Intended Users
- Element 2: Involve Dissemination Sources
- Element 3: Mindfully Craft Your Content
- Element 4: Disseminate Through Different Media (you’re here)
- Tipsheet: Writing Plainly
- Writing for the Web