One important step in the communication process is
determining which vehicles you will use to reach your target audiences. Given your
objectives and the resources available, select the tactics that will most effectively
impact your audience. Navigate through the links on the left to get and overview, tips
and examples of several communication tools.
As a guide to planning, the following list of potential communication modes includes a
brief discussion of their use and value. This is not a definitive list, but a beginning
guide for considering options, roughly divided into three categories.
A thoughtful and consistently implemented plan of public relations is the most
cost-effective method of communication. Over the long-term, systematic public relations
efforts will ensure the organization can survive nearly anything with its reputation
Providing direct and immediate access to news and information for the media
(television, radio, newspapers).
Key components include: regular contact with journalists through news
releases, news conferences, media alerts, background information kits,
feature articles, editorials, designating a spokesperson, and
See the Media Section of the Toolkit
Staff time to develop and maintain a system for media relations must be set
aside within the agency’s work plan. Regular and consistent contact
is the most successful long-term approach to the media.
Regular and ongoing contact with organizations and individuals within the
service area of the organization.
Includes: speaking engagements and presentations, public/civic group
meetings, education, sponsorships, personal contacts, newsletters or
Staff time to coordinate and arrange meetings or presentations. Staff time
for attendance and follow-up. May be some materials expense for handouts or
Regular and systematic contact with public service officials
May include mailings, personal contact, emailing, briefings
Staff time to develop relationships and maintain contact. Some materials
cost for research or printing.
Maintaining an organizational presence at community events such as trade
shows, community [health] fairs, or special events.
Includes displays, speeches or presentations, and designating a
spokesperson to represent the organization.
Staff time to organize a calendar of events and assign organization
representatives to attend. Some materials costs for displays, brochures,
handouts, giveaways, etc.
Creating and maintaining a Web site for the organization with information
on all program areas and up-to-date news as it relates to the organization
and its programs.
Provides information, education and an interactive link with the
Depending on the capabilities of the organization, may incur design and
engineering costs for startup and maintenance. Some organizations have
internal IT capacity to support maintenance as well as development.
Integral to the success of an organization and its communication efforts is a
well-informed employee group. A few simple, low or no-cost tools will enhance your
public relations efforts through your staff.
For effective communication, follow these guidelines with employees:
Always inform employees first
Give employees written and electronic summaries of important
Always provide a key contact person and suggested resources where
the employee can find more information
Take the time to answer employees’ questions as soon as
Staff time and a commitment to systematize the flow of employee
Regular staff communication channels may include items such as email,
electronic newsletters, staff meeting notes, posters, bulletin boards, and
pay envelope stuffers.
Staff time and minor printing costs; the most important factor is creating
the habit and content accountability.
Paid ads in mass media can be an effective strategy for a special event or
emergency situation. The mantra is to plan the size or frequency and
placement for optimal effectiveness.
In general, TV is the most expensive and newspaper the least with radio
in the middle. Magazine or special publication ads may be effective if
well targeted to your audience.
Out-of-pocket costs are highest for paid advertising, but can be very
effective for reaching specific audiences with targeted messages.
Take time to plan the placement and distribution to meet the
demographics of your target audience.
Outdoor – Billboards
As part of a comprehensive campaign, these advertising strategies can be
very effective. Most importantly, match your ads to your audience to ensure
best use of your advertising dollars.