Marketing is a common theme for businesses and research organisations alike. Ensuring that potential clients know what you offer and are aware of your successes is vital. Research projects are no different: publicising your work will help to raise awareness about the problem you are tackling and your proposed solution.
Journal publications are the ‘go to’ for researchers when it comes to disseminating their results. No CV is complete without its citations and funders will push for them. But some funders, including the European Union, go further and require projects to gain exposure through a variety of communication activities aimed at wider audiences. It can be relatively simple to meet minimum requirements, but it isn’t always easy to maintain a high quality communication program throughout an ongoing project. Below is some advice to help you go that extra mile:
- Start early: make sure your plans include a solid framework of communication activities to promote your project and a budget for them. Clarity in the research proposal will win you points during the evaluation process and will reduce the effort needed later on – win win!
- Keep going: there’s often a flurry of activities at the beginning of a project. Your project launch is news after all. But it’s important not to stop at that point. The ‘News’ section, and/or Twitter feed, of your project website needs to be updated regularly so that onlookers can see that the project is active. And other activities (e.g. newspaper articles, videos, blogs, etc) can be scheduled at intervals to maintain a program of activities throughout the project.
- Think about your brand: in a previous blog, my colleague Lisa mentioned how important a good acronym will be for your project as it will help people to find you online. How you present this acronym – be it in a logo and associated project website, or via Twitter or YouTube etc – is just as critical for a successful communication strategy. Something eye-catching will help people to recognise and remember your project.
- Target your activities: the best communication plans aim to reach a wide variety of people by different means. In a pure research project, for example, communicating with the general public or industry might not immediately spring to mind. Nevertheless, targeting these groups could pay dividends in the future when looking for financial backers or generating markets for new products. Different media will also be relevant: a video, or video blog, posted on YouTube might help to reach the general public, while print or online trade journals would provide a route to industrial stakeholders.
- Put someone in charge: making sure that all of the above can be achieved will require a dedicated person. It’s unlikely to be a full time job, but it will definitely help to have someone in the driving seat and to have a single point of contact for all those involved in the project.
Euram works closely with its project teams to create dissemination strategies and maintain them; examples can be found on our project websites (for example, www.teh-tube.eu or www.epifemcare.eu). For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.