Jump to content

Wikimedia Foundation/Communications/Resource center/Storytelling and messaging/Communicating the Wikimedia story effectively with different audiences

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Communications Resource Center

Sharing knowledge on Wikimedia communications — Please add!

Communications efforts not getting coverage or attention

You put a lot of work into drafting your press release, but somehow no outlet published a story. Why? Then there was this presentation you gave in front of an audience of developers. It was a huge success, but after sharing the same story with representatives of a museum, you left them confused. They didn't understand. Why? What about the invitation postcard you distributed all over the city? Dozens of places, but almost no new people showed up for your first editathon. : People receive the information you send them in many different ways. You don't necessarily know how they will interpret it. Are there tools to improve the effects of your story? Focus on your target group, first:
What are possible differences between different audiences? In the Wikimedia movement we are familiar with language communities, volunteer affiliates, staff, the press, movement bodies such as boards or the FDC, donors, members of organizations, et cetera. These audiences – and other audiences in general – may have different levels of information on a subject you want to communicate about. Some may be experts, others may be newbies. Some may know the history of a topic while it's news to others. Some may read mailing lists, others may primarily engage on-wiki. Some may attend Wiki events, others may get all their information about Wikimedia via the press. There are countless differences regarding formalities, cultural habits or expectations. There is no single best way to address audiences. It depends on the subject, your target audience, your goal, and the channels where you communicate. Where should you start? target group
  1. Who do you want to communicate to? Think about what they already know and what they do not know about you and your subject.
  2. Switch perspectives Now take it a step further and imagine the "journey" you invite your target group to take. How does your information reach them? What will they expect your information to contain? What are they likely to think when reading/listening/watching (Just make a guess, it's fine!)?
  3. KISS, keep it simple and straightforward (see below for other variations of the acronym). Try not to make assumptions on what your target group knows. When in doubt, explain something. Use short sentences, avoid unexplained acronyms (such as KISS) or complicated words (such as acronym). Put things as briefly as you can. Links to detailed information may help you focus.
  4. Ask ...people to do something. What would you like your audience to do after they have read/heard/watched/ your information? If you want them to comment, tell them so. If you want them to do something online, tell them how and where. If you want them to engage in a certain manner, tell them which steps to take.

Further reading