Key Questions for Online Communication Strategies

Article modified: September 2017, Author:

This document was produced by Nick Buxton, Website Development Manager, as part of an exercise at CAFOD. Originally written 2009 (?), so needs updating re social media etc.


–          who are the key audiences/stakeholders you want to reach on the internet?

–          What are their needs? How well does your online communications currently serve their needs? What do they want from the website/email communication? What information are they currently using or which pages are they visiting most often? Have you asked them what they want/would like?

–          How will you seek to answer their needs?


–          what is the core content you need for addressing your audience/constituency?  Is it currently there on the website or will some material need to be produced/redone? Will you have capacity to deliver the key essential first parts of this by the end of November?

–          Does your core content speak to both people new to the organisation but also encourage deeper involvement by those already signed up?

–          Could putting some targeted content on your website help minimise the number of requests you receive?

–          What do you want to update regularly? How often? How will it be resourced?  Are there things that you already produce that could be adapted to be more relevant for the web/email?

–          How will your online communications work with your other communications? What is the best medium for each of your communications? How can you make sure your online communications complement other communications and does not unnecessarily duplicate?


–          Is email an effective way to communicate with your constituency?

–          What groups/lists of emails would be useful for your section’s communications – based on occupation (eg student, teacher), based on geography, based on interests/issues etc.

–          How many people would you expect to join the elist over 1 year/3years?  Would the list be public?

–          How often do you imagine sending out emails to groups? Who would be in charge of doing this?

–          Would you want to send html emails (ie look like web pages in your inbox but not accessible to everyone) or text-only emails?

–          How would you recruit for the groups? Through your other channels (eg magazines), through the website, by other means?

–          How do you want your email groups to be linked to your other communications such as mail-outs/web pages? Do you want emails to replace mailings for some people, to be an additional communication which strengthens your mailings? Do you want your mailings to be accessible on the web so that people can refer to old messages at a later stage?

–          How will you ensure your emails are relevant to the audiences you go to?  Would you want to personalise emails (by name, content)? Would you want to monitor whether they open their emails/visit certain web pages/forward it to their friends?  Would you run occasional surveys of your list? Would you want the egroup to be linked to other data we hold about that person eg how much money they have given, what other groups they belong to, plus other information stored on the supporter database?

–          Would it be a discussion or announcement/broadcast list? (ie one where all members can post information to the list, or one where only you or someone in your organisation can post to the list).


–          How would you encourage your audience/stakeholder to engage with your communication?  What options would you give for them to feedback?

–          Would it benefit your work if your audience/stakeholders could communicate with each other or with other groups directly (eg by email groups/web discussion boards, chatrooms)?

–          What options would you like to explore?  What options are your audience most likely to use and benefit from? What issues/resources/skills are your audience most likely to want to focus on?

–          How would you build and nurture the community interaction?

Learning from best practice

–          Have you looked at other websites covering a similar field to yours?  What do they do well/ what do they not do well? What lessons do they provide for your organisation’s strategic development?

–          What other sites are your key audience/stakeholders using?


–          What training might you need in your section in order to use the internet more efficiently for your communications?


–          How will you promote and market the internet communications you are providing?


–          What would you want to be able to monitor in terms of usage of your web material?

–          What processes will you set up to ensure evaluation of internet usage feeds into ongoing and future work on the web?


–          Are there ways you could integrate online communication into your work (eg include on agenda of team meetings, attend awareness courses etc)

–          How do you see your online communications developing in the long-term?

–          Are there things we could be doing to generate income from your online communications?

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