Elements of the communication plan
Communication is essential for any research project. A well-designed communication plan is an essential tool for disseminating results, generating impact and involving the different project stakeholders. Communication plans provide a strategic structure to deliver clear and concise messages that highlight the importance of the research and its progress. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what a good communication plan is and why it is relevant for research project dissemination.
The importance of a good communication plan:
- Visibility and impact: Communication plans provide visibility for the research project and ensure that it reaches the right target audience. This will generate impact on the scientific community, other researchers, the media and other stakeholders, increasing their awareness and understanding of the project.
- Partnerships and funding: Effective communication can create new opportunities for collaboration with other researchers or institutions and make it easier to obtain additional funding for the research project. A good plan highlights the importance and potential benefits of the research, attracting the interest of potential partners or investors.
- Public awareness and support: Effective communication of research projects helps to establish a dialogue with the target audience and to create a broader understanding of the importance of scientific research. This can contribute to generating public support for the project, as well as greater recognition of its relevance for society and public policy.
- Dissemination of results: A good communication plan facilitates the dissemination of research results to the scientific community and society at large. This dissemination can take place through scientific publications, conference presentations, outreach materials, traditional media, social media and other platforms that reach specific audiences.
- Assessment and feedback: Continuous communication with the different stakeholders is a way to collect evaluations, opinions and suggestions that can enrich a research project. This can help improve project design and implementation, as well as provide useful feedback to research staff.
The elements to be described in a communication plan:
- Objectives: Communication objectives are clear and concise statements that define the intended outcomes of communication activities. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Examples of objectives include increasing the visibility of the research project, communicating the results to the scientific community or raising public awareness of the project’s social impact.
- Stakeholders: It is important to identify the different groups of people who are relevant to the research project and to establish the target audiences for the communication activities. This may include other researchers in the same field, the media, academic institutions, decision-makers, civil society, organisations, professional associations, and so on. More specifically, it is possible to indicate which part of society is targeted (the elderly, children, young people, families, people in vulnerable situations, the unemployed, etc.) or which type of administration or institution (local, regional, state or specialised) is addressed. Each group may require a different communication approach.
- Actions: This section describes the different communication activities that will be carried out to achieve the stated objectives. It may include activities such as web pages, lectures, scientific publications, seminars, dissemination materials (e.g., brochures, infographics, roll-ups, videos), outreach activities like the ones in this link , social media communication or media outreach . Each action must be consistent with the objectives and adapted to the target audience. Inspiration can be found by clicking here .
- Calendar: In this section of the plan, a calendar should be created to show the key dates for each of the communication actions. It is important to set deadlines and monitor progress to ensure that activities are carried out on time. A well-structured calendar helps to organise tasks and keep the communication plan on track.
- Budget: This part involves establishing a budget for the communication activities of the research project. Consideration should be given to the costs associated with each action, including travel, printing of materials, external professional fees and online promotion. The budget must be realistic and sufficient resources must be allocated to each activity. Actions with the media and the publication of news and activities on the UdG website must be coordinated with the Area of Communication and Institutional Relations and do not represent any additional cost.
- Evaluation: This is a critical process to assess the effectiveness of communication initiatives, to determine whether the stated objectives have been achieved, and to improve or adjust strategies in real time during the project or for use on future occasions. Evaluation should not come at the end but rather be part of the process throughout the life of the project, so that necessary changes and improvements can be made during its implementation. Evaluation should include measurable performance indicators (number of people reached, media coverage obtained, participation in events, stakeholder responses, etc.) and may also include surveys to gather information and opinions from the target audience on the project and, therefore, on the effectiveness and impact of the actions of the communication plan; monitoring and analysis of media coverage to determine the scope and quality of the visibility achieved; and internal feedback for comments and suggestions about the communication impact from team members and other stakeholders.
The Area of Communication and Institutional Relations (ACRI) is available to advise and review the communication plans of UdG research projects. It can also provide information on research communication actions supported by Central Services.
It should be noted that media actions cannot be carried out without being coordinated with the Area of Communication and Institutional Relations (email@example.com / 972 418346).