Projekt:Europeana Awareness 2012/Communications strategy
This proposal for a communications strategy for the Europeana Awareness Project by Wikimedia Sweden answers the questions of WHY the project needs a communications strategy, TO WHOM the communications should be targeted to and WHAT are the main tools to be used in the outreach activities. In this introduction the justification for communication activities is presented as well as brief introductions to the target audiences. The communication tools will then be further elaborated in the next chapters. The second chapter will also give a brief status report on what has already been done for the project’s Twitter account that was launched on the 26th of June 2012. At the end of the paper some actions are proposed in order to get started with the possible implementation of the communications strategy.
For an awareness raising project a viable communications strategy that can help reach out to the constituencies and stakeholders is crucial. Communication with specific tools for specific targets is vital in getting out the messages of the project. This core message could be simplified as raising awareness of Europeana within the Wikipedia community and its volunteers and the positive effects of a partnership between Europeana and Wikipedia as well as GLAM institutions in general. The main tools to be used in getting these messages out will be events and therefore a third, more instrumental, message could be added, i.e. making publicity for the upcoming Wiki Loves Public Art contest as well as the other events.
As target audiences of the Europeana Awareness projects three groups of stakeholders should be considered in order of importance. The first group are the content producers and facilitators such the Wikimedia Foundation as well as the Wikimedia chapters, GLAM institutions and Wikipedia contributors. The second group can be identified as potential content producers and multipliers that are for example interested public and journalists, and the third group is constituted by the “longshots”, as in the general public. The first category includes the GLAM partners as well as relevant Wiki(p/m)edia Chapters, especially in the six countries that are targeted by the Europeana Awareness project. Here also active Wikipedians, who might have something to offer to the project are considered. This group is considered as the most important stakeholders as they are crucial for the project to succeed and therefore also most of the communications activities will be directed to this first target audience. The other two groups are however also crucial for this project as a big part of the success of the project, as also mentioned in the Description of Work, comes from how much we have been able to engage and raise awareness of Europeana among new audiences and get new content under free license.
As for the communications tools, social media and other online tools have become an inevitable part of outreach activities nowadays, leaving the more traditional press relations behind them in importance. For Europeana Awareness there are great possibilities in using tools such as Twitter, blog posts and various newsletters to disseminate our message and get also others involved in what we are doing as many of the key people and institutions that we would like to reach are already online. This is especially effective in terms of the two first target groups for communication that were identified earlier. These interactive communication tools are of a special importance for a project that bases on a bottom-up approach, open information, and that wants to include anyone into its processes, either to contribute or to suggest ideas or to take part in the events and so on. However for the third target group, the general public also other kinds of more traditional, but also more innovative outreach methods are needed that will be discussed later in this proposal.
In this chapter the relevant communication tools for the project are elaborated further. The events, that are the most obvious tool, are left out of this proposal as they fall under the work of the Event Manager. These tools outlined below are to be used in addition to the events and especially in order to do outreach activities relating to the events.
Twitter should be the primary social media channel for Europeana Awareness in reaching out to the first two communication target groups (the content producers and facilitators as well as potential content producers and multipliers) as it is a great tool in reaching out to specific audiences and in promoting and linking to everything else that is done in the course of the project in a highly time-efficient manner. Twitter is also rather actively used within the target groups, i.e. people interested in digitizing material and working with Wikipedia as well as GLAMs. Downside with Twitter is that it does not reach anyone who is not already interested in the topic at hand or active in Twitter, even though messages can be with the innovative use of hashtags be disseminated also beyond the core group of followers.
In Twitter the focus groups are Wikimedia chapters, active Wiki(p/m)edians, GLAM institutions and archivists, Wikipedians in-residence, Europeana, people active within open knowledge and so on and so forth. Therefore also the tweets that we produce are mostly related to first and foremost Europeana’s and Wikipedia’s activities as well as to GLAMs and open knowledge in general. In Twitter the tone of tweets should be kept professional and not too pushy, i.e. not too much advertising of our or Europeana’s work, but the account should primarily be seen as a hub for interesting information from both sides of the project, i.e. Wiki(m/p)edia and GLAMs. This way we can get a bigger follower base and then once in a while also do some “marketing” of our project. In addition Twitter can be used to ask for people’s opinions and help in relation to different tasks of the project. One of the key ideas with the Twitter account is also to try to create a buzz about the Wiki Loves Public Art, to which a hashtag was created following the example of Wiki Loves Monuments (#wikilovespublicart).
Setting up a Twitter account was the first task in creating a social media presence for the project. The account was launched on the 26 th of June 2012 under the name Wiki plus Europeana / @wikieuropeana. (Be sure to follow us after reading this!). The idea is that anyone related to the project can provide content for the Twitter feed either by themselves logging into the account (password can be provided) or by sending interesting material to John Andersson or Laura Tuononen. It is also important to target people that we meet or contact in other ways in Twitter; therefore a list of these contacts should also be provided for the operator of the Twitter account. For measuring the success of the Twitter account the most important statistics about follower increase and mentions are tweeted weekly through a service called Twenty Feet.
EXAMPLE: So far the Twitter account has been mainly used to link
to interesting material from sources such as Europeana and GLAMwiki as well as related to events that belong to the project’s interest areas, such as the on-going Wiki Loves Monuments – contest, the forthcoming Open Knowledge festival in Helsinki or the past Wikimania 2012 in Washington. In addition the account has been used to promote the work done within the project. However this aspect of using the Twitter account in telling to people what we are doing should be more in focus during the fall 2012 and spring 2013 in order to gain momentum for the important up-coming milestones of the project, such as the Wiki Loves Public Art contest and for example the cooperation with
Europeana Fashion and other GLAM events.
In Twitter also an automatic newsletter called The WikiEuropeana Daily has been created in order to effectively collect relevant tweets from the accounts that we follow and promote our own account. This is a fairly easy way of creating retweets and interest towards our Twitter account, as the newsletter is highly automated and requires very little effort, but the fact that there is a tweet about the newsletter daily, that most often mentions the tweet accounts from where we collect information by name, it also draws attention to us from these accounts that are mentioned.
A Facebook account could be highly relevant for the project and especially for the Wiki Loves Public Art contest as it can reach the wider audiences (i.e. the third communication target group) through the “Like” function.
Facebook as a means of communicating the other parts of the project are however limited, with the exception of the possible cooperation with Europeana Fashion or other events that are of most interest to the general public. Because of Facebook's legal terms it is however not possible to upload pictures that are under a CC-BY-SA license, hence preventing the best pictures from the Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest to be displayed also on Facebook.
For the moment there is not an immediate need for a blog for this particular Europeana Awareness project, but what is encouraged is visibility on Europeana’s and Wikimedia’s blogs. For the first a post about the project itself should be written, with some general ideas on how Wikipedia and Europeana can work together and what we would like to achieve with this project. Here we should also promote all the social media channels that we are using and to ask people for their ideas e.g. on cooperation and events that we are going to launch. These blogs can then be used also to spread information about any further events that the project is planning. The key is to create awareness of the project’s work already when it is in a planning phase in order to get information out there and in order to receive inputs from key constituencies.
EXAMPLE: At the early phases of the project one idea for a blog
post would be to provide information on what this specific Wikipedia and Europeana cooperation has to offer. The post should explain why it is so important to have knowledge there where people use it and the special focus could be on the volunteers and the possibilities of new kinds of use of information. As the project progresses the focus of the blog posts should be shifted towards the actualised results of the project and its contributions to open knowledge, with the Wiki Loves Public Art as
its main achievement.
Blog posts on specific areas of the project as well as on the overall idea of the project are also important to have as additional information for example for journalists to complement the more traditional press material. This is due to the fact that the weight of the message that we try to convey is clearly higher if it has been published on many different platforms and in many different levels, e.g. nationally in the Wikimedia Sweden’s blog and EU-wide in the Europeana’s blog. Blog posts are also a way of producing easy-to-read and effective information about the project to which we can link to in many other platforms such as Twitter or in press releases or newsletters.
Also more traditional means of communication are essential for this project, as these are the best ways of reaching out to the general public, as well as to the interested public. A press release should be sent at the early stages of the project in order to gain momentum for the project. This press release should focus on how GLAM institutions and Wikipedia can work together and what impact digitising material has.
EXAMPLE: One opportunity for promoting the project’s up-coming
Wiki Loves Public Art contest can also be in adjacent to the on- going Wiki Loves Monuments contest, as when a press release for example in Sweden is written about WLM, it should mention that
in the spring 2013 there will be a chance to be a part of WLPA.
Press releases should also be issued at any major event that the project has as well as at the end of the project in order to go through what the project succeeded with and what could be the next steps for Wikipedia plus GLAM- institutions cooperation. They should be targeted towards major publications as well as more focused art/cultural publications in the six key countries and preferably written in the language of the publication.
Press relations can also be pursued online via Twitter, once relevant journalists have been identified for example in all of the six targeted countries.
The project could also have its own newsletter, but in addition to this and most likely even more effective would be to try to get some space on the Wikipedia Signpost, Wikimedia chapters’ newsletters and in Europeana’s newsletter. Also items on the various GLAM institutions’ newsletters would be desirable, but these are to wait till there is at least some kind of an indication of cooperation.
If the project is to have its own newsletter, it should be published too frequently (e.g. in the beginning of the project, twice in the course of the project and once at the end) as this method is not the best way to reach out to new people, who do not already know what we are doing. A newsletter is however a good way of keeping the current stakeholders informed of the progress of the project. The project’s newsletter could then also be promoted in Twitter or in blog posts and press releases in order to gain a wider audience.
The newsletter could have its own subscription page, but the most natural place for publishing it would be on the Wikimedia Sweden’s wiki and web pages. The newsletter could also be sent to the relevant actors on Wikimedia Sweden’s and Europeana’s existing email lists.
Publications to be handed out at events such as Wikimania and anywhere to all the new contacts that are made in person are also an important part of communications. The main point of publications is to give people something concrete that reminds them of the contact that was made and that hopefully will make them search for more information on the project that will then be provided online. Also the general public can be reached through the use of posters on places where people are likely to see them, e.g. bus stops.
EXAMPLE: The publications should however be somewhat
innovative so that we do not put a lot of effort into something that just will be thrown out two seconds after. One idea would be to make small (A5, A6) card-like publications that tell for example the basic story of Wiki Loves Public Art, but also function as a postcard. Posters about the Wiki Loves Public Art could also be distributed to public places in the countries that are taking part in the contest. These publications could be individualised by for example with illustration, e.g. maps, on where to find the public art that we want people to photograph in a specific city with links
to webpages where people can find more lists.
The publications that a project of this kind needs are a poster to be used at events or for public outreach, flyers to be handed out at events as well as business cards to be given to all contacts. A flyer on the project, focusing on Wiki Loves Public Art as well as business cards with links to e.g. the Twitter account of the project were already created to be handed out at Wikimania 2012.
Other online tools
The Wikimedia Sweden’s, Wikipedia’s and Wikimedia Commons’ wikis are all used to inform and engage the volunteers and other participants regarding the activities within the Europeana Awareness project. In addition a website for Wiki Loves Public Art is to be created in order to have a visually attractive point of reference for all the information about the contest that is interesting for the general public. This website will then need to be kept up-to-date about the contest’s preparations, e.g. national coordinators etc. as well as about the achievements of the contest.
As emails are still the main form of contact with the prospective partners and other stakeholders, an email signature is of crucial importance in providing links for further information about the project. The email signature should at least feature the link to the project page in Wikipedia and the project’s Twitter account.