Step 10: Disseminating Your Materials

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Ensure Your Message Reaches Your Intended Audience

No matter how strong the message of your tobacco education materials may be, they won’t fulfill your goals if you don’t have an effective plan to get those materials into the hands of your intended target audience(s).

Dissemination plans need to flow from your analysis (conducted in Step 3) of your target audience's lifestyle, taking into account such factors as where they live, work, shop, study, dine, recreate, pray, congregate and go for services such as healthcare. This will help identify potential points of contact with your audience where materials can be disseminated efficiently and effectively.Following are several things to consider when developing your dissemination plan:

  • Identify community-based partners and businesses who can provide access to your audience and who will allow you to disseminate materials through their existing distribution channels.
  • Do places of worship represent potential distribution points and would they be willing to share your materials with congregants?
  • How about schools or libraries?
  • Are there businesses that serve your audience who would be willing to display your materials?
  • If your audience lives primarily in multi-unit housing, see if apartment owners/managers would be willing to help distribute your materials. If your audience is homeless, what shelters or other support services are set up to reach them?
  • Doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals and mobile service providers can be valuable partners.
  • Government offices (city halls, community centers, essential service locations) can be effective in not only reaching your audience, but also elected officials and their staffs.
  • Partner with local utilities or government agencies who are willing to let you “piggyback” on their efforts. Examples include statement stuffers, web links on city/county websites, and articles/announcements in city newsletters/newspapers.
  • If you are part of a community coalition, ask your coalition members if they can distribute your materials at their sites or while working in the field.
  • Get a list of upcoming community events and determine if any of those present good opportunities for distributing your materials. Also, are there key locations in your community where staff or volunteers can hand out materials? Get permission where required, whether on public or private property.
  • If your educational materials deal with signage issues, make sure to collaborate with local government, and specifically with the department charged with enforcement.
  • Web- and cell-based dissemination of public health information is a rapidly emerging field. Electronic delivery can be a cost-effective and quick way of reaching your target audience if they have access to these technologies and are receptive to receiving your messages in that format.
  • Consider the environmental impact. You don't want to be handing out materials where there is a high risk of it later turning into a trash issue.
  • Take into account legal/ethical considerations when disseminating materials. Make sure you have the proper approvals (preferably in writing) when using someone else's site or staff/volunteers to distribute your materials. Remember that strict legal and ethical guidelines govern direct mail or distribution to individual residences.
  • Follow through. Make sure that your materials are kept adequately stocked if you are using distribution points in the community. Be sure to remove the materials after your dissemination effort ends.

We Can Help

If you have questions about the best options for effectively disseminating your materials, TEAM Lab is here to help. Contact us.

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Resources

Evaluation

Materials Development Tips