Just lately I’ve come across some great ideas for communications projects.
Slick, well designed and, mostly, based online.
However, every project had one common mistake. No-one had spared a thought for how their project will be resourced in three, six or 12 months time. Publishing new content, promoting the site, sharing information, evaluating success. All of these were glossed over in a rush to deliver a product.
Crucially, the all-important need to engage, and continue engaging, with the audience was not accounted for.
You wouldn’t publish a newspaper without reader’s letters, or hold a public debate without questions from the floor. So why do so many people launch online spaces then fail to respond regularly to the questions and comments that their visitors make?
‘They don’t know what they’re talking about’ or ‘the article wasn’t aimed at them’ are common retorts. But I would argue that, regardless of how niche your communication is, or whether the reader is an expert or not, they are by definition a customer, because they took the time to look at your product. And you know what they say about the customer always being right.
When I’m trying to think creatively about a communications challenge, I still return to the 5 w’s:

Who?
What?
Where?
When?
Why?

Then I try to plan answers to these questions based on a number of months or years, depending on the scope of the project. This has helped me, and others, to think about the delivery of a website, magazine or event in a sustainable, objective way.