Ashley Saunders - National Director, Family Voice Australia - speaking at One Day in Melbourne
One Day in Melbourne – Session 3 - Introduction
Many aspects of a publishing philosophy for medium-sized organisations are shared by both larger and smaller organisations. However, two aspects stand out as being of critical importance:
- Know your audience; and
- Be consistent.
1. Know your audience
Typically, a medium-sized organisation will want to communicate with multiple audiences, without the financial or human resources to justify multiple targeted publications. This presents challenges that must be met in order to communicate effectively; and doing so will commonly involve a degree of compromise.
In a denominational mission organisation, for example, the level of information to be communicated to prayer partners may differ from that provided to individual congregations who, whilst belonging to the denomination and committed to support the agency to some extent, have not covenanted to pray for individual workers.
Similarly, in an advocacy organisation, the communication interests of supporters may differ from those of members of parliament or media organisations.
In establishing a publishing philosophy, it is therefore paramount to know the different audiences who will receive your material, and to have some understanding of their respective interests. These factors impact not only the nature or content of material included in publications, but also issues such as language, style, and appearance.
Decisions then need to be made as to that material believed to be of common interest to all recipients, and material intended for particular audiences among the wider list of recipients.
Presentation considerations are then important. How can the interests of one audience be met while also engaging (or at least not disengaging) another audience? What is likely to appeal to one sector of recipients without presenting as thoroughly unappealing to a different sector?
Although in many ways, this is the place to outline the questions each organisation needs to address for themselves, some solutions may be found in considering the way multiple communication platforms could potentially supplement printed communications at relatively small additional cost, or else how individualised cover letters could be utilised. For example, print publications could contain a link to a page on your organisation’s website where additional (or more in-depth) information can be found. Or, covering letters to each sub-group of recipients could specifically draw their attention to those parts of the publication specifically intended for the different audiences (for example, to supporters: ‘In this edition you will find… We have also included an in-depth research paper we are sending to…’)
2. Be consistent
Every organisation should ensure consistency of communications – and this includes medium-sized organisations lacking the financial resources to have in-house marketing & communications expertise.
Your organisational identity should be reflected in all communications, across all print and digital platforms. This is part of ensuring brand consistency – not only for ease of recognition but also as an essential element in building trust/confidence in your brand. Yes, your publications play their part in this, but so do all other communications.
Do all staff include a digital signature that is not only consistent across all staff, but also consistent with your organisation’s brand?
Do individual staff members (or cross-cultural workers in the case of a mission agency) circulate prayer newsletters or other updates? If so, are they each individually designed and somewhat (or extremely) different in appearance, or are they designed in a manner consistent with your organisation’s brand identity? It is not important that they all have the same appearance; but what is important is that their design/appearance is consistent with your brand identity.
Although lacking the more significant resources of larger organisations, it is no less important for medium-sized organisations to know their audience, to know their purpose, and to communicate clearly and consistently. Equally, time must be made to regularly assess effectiveness and to review both the organisation’s publishing philosophy and its implementation.
About the presenter: Ashley Saunders is married and has four children. After matriculating from High School in Newcastle, NSW, he studied law by correspondence while working full-time as a Law Clerk. He subsequently practised as a Solicitor in NSW for 19 years, during which time he was also involved in elected and organisational politics.
Prior to commencing as the National Director of Family Voice Australia in December 2016, Ashley served as an ordained Baptist minister of churches in NSW and Qld.