The first step in planning a publication is to decide what you really need. Communication objectives can be accomplished in many ways: a brochure, poster, letter, newsletter, open house, informational meeting, website, advertisement or speech. How do you decide what will best meet your objectives? Answering the following questions may help:
- What do you hope to accomplish? What is your message and what response are you hoping for? What problem do you want to solve?
- Who is your audience? Don't say everyone. The more specific you can be, the more effective you will be. What is the best way to reach them? What do you want them to do?
- What is your budget for this project? Will there be mailing costs? Are there ways to lower costs by creating something that could be used by another department as well? Are there existing products on campus that can fill your need?
- What is your deadline? Do you need it prior to an event? How long will it take to design? For a printed piece, how long will it take to write, edit, and print it? Who needs to be involved and who should review and sign off on the project? Will your audience need time to respond?
- How will the material be distributed? Will you have to use a mailing house? Are there postal restrictions on format? How will you get the mailing list?
- Are there any related pieces? In addition to belonging to the university's family of publications, should it share the "look" of related pieces produced by your unit or by the university? Could this material, or any part of it, have any other uses on campus or can it be augmented by existing material?