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22 September 2019
Career skills toolkit part 2 of 7: How to begin a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign. Print
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:00

Strategic thinking at the beginning of a RUC Campaign helps to clarify objectives from which a plan will follow. In this section we discuss the value of taking a campaign approach to a Research Uptake Publication project.

A campaign approach helps you to publish with purpose. It involves taking an organized course of action to achieve a particular goal. Importantly, a campaign approach takes into account that your project is probably funded, and sets you up to smoothly work through the strategy, implementation, monitoring & evaluation and reporting phases required by your funder. But where to begin?

Q: What basic pre-campaign questions should we be asking?


A:Start simply. There are some basic questions you can ask yourself at the beginning of a Publishing for Research Uptake campaign to get simple clarity on what you want to achieve from the campaign. These are questions based on the basic key concepts of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, HOW and HOW MUCH.

  1. WHO is this campaign for? [i.e. this identifies your audience/s]
  2. WHAT do we want to achieve from this RUC campaign?
  3. WHY would this campaign be useful to our university?
  4. WHEN do we plan to start and end this campaign?
  5. HOW do we envisage this campaign shall roll out?
  6. HOW MUCH campaign budget is available to us?


An example for insight 

Click here to find RUC2013 Campaign – Basic starter questions for a Research Uptake Campaign.  This is a working document example of how DRUSSA answered the basic questions (as listed above) when we started the RUC2013 Campaign.


A template for action

You’ll also find a Basic Research Uptake Publication Campaign starter questions template here.  This is for you to use and adapt for your own campaign. Feel free to jot notes on the template as you work through this section.


Q: Should we be getting our campaign outline right first time?

A:Don’t be too concerned about ‘cracking’ it first time. It will probably take several passes at the basic questions included before you begin to refine your campaign purpose and intentions. If you do this on your own then once these basic questions are initially resolved it’s a good time to discuss these with appropriate partners and collaborators. Their insights and input will inevitably lead to more changes as you fine-tune your own basic starter answers for your Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign. Document and circulate drafts as you work towards a final version.


Q: Once we’ve answered the basic pre-campaign questions, how do we begin compiling an official campaign document

A: Brainstorming and discussing the basic pre-campaign questions puts you on the right track to compile a more official ‘Campaign’ strategy document. The answers you came up with for the ‘Basic Starter Questions’ provide the backbone of the information you need for your ‘Campaign Strategy Document’.

An example for insight [3 – to come later]

A read through an example of an official ‘campaign document’ may be useful. You’ll find ‘DRUSSA RUC2013 Campaign: Stage 1 – Concept to Publication here. This campaign strategy document was filled in using the backbone of info contained in the previously mentioned ‘RUC2013 Campaign – Basic starter questions for a Research Uptake Campaign’.


A template for action [4- to come later]

You’ll find a blank ‘Campaign strategy template here. You can adapt this to your own purposes.


Q: What strategic and practical purposes does the ‘Communications Campaign’ document fulfill?

A: a ‘Campaign’ document is a very useful and practical tool.  Working through it helps you consider various aspects of the project before you take action. It helps you plan the journey, and, in turn, becomes a road map to see you through the journey from strategy to monitoring, evaluation and reporting. It ensures you have defined your:

·      Campaign Mission

·      Audience

·      Communication channels to be used to achieve your campaign goals

·      Participant groups involved

·      The personality and style to be applied to your campaign

·      Critically, your campaign document includes breakdowns of

o   Campaign Goals

o   Campaign Objectives

o   Campaign Key Performance indicators [KPI’s], and

o   Campaign Tactics

o   Working through these helps you plan your publishing campaign journey from strategy to monitoring, evaluation and reporting


Q: What are ‘Campaign Goals, Objectives, Key Performance indicators [KPI’s] and Tactics’ ?


Campaign goals: Indicate the end result desired linked into the key campaign objectives i.e. the ‘where to and why’. [Cannot be measured.]

Objectives: Detail how we are going to reach the goal set [the steps we will take to get to the finish line] i.e. the ‘what’. [Can be measured.]

Key Performance Indicators [KPI’s]:A metric that helps us understand and measure how we are doing in relation to our objectives. i.e. the ‘how much’.

Tactics: A tactic states how we intend to go about achieving our goals and objectives i.e. the ‘how to do it’.


Q: How do the components detailed above help with both measuring campaign progress and project reporting?

A:Doing this part of the process up front has benefits. You can use your populated Campaign doc as a constant reference to measure your progress. Periodic measuring of progress against your Objectives and KPI’s tells you ‘what’ and ‘how much’ you have done – keeping you focused on what ‘tactics’ you still need to employ to reach your ‘Campaign Goals’. And - when you get to the reporting stage at the end of the project you are set up to do this fairly simply –  you can literally save a version of your campaign document as a ‘report’, add another column to all tables, and populate these columns with reporting info that relates directly to the initial agreed strategy. Obviously your report can be adapted, fine-tuned, remixed or rehashed into whatever format suits the needs of your campaign. [Note: In the final section of this booklet we talk about and include an example and template for the report version of the campaign document – more clarity on this later.]


Q: Once we’ve drafted our campaign document, is there any other information we should consider?


  • There may be official proposal or strategy templates, format guides or policies at your University that you need to know about and use as you fine-tune your Communications Campaign document. Find out about these requirements and incorporate them through the stages of your campaign document from strategy and initial presentation to final presentation and approval of your ‘Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign’ concept.
  • Make sure you document and circulate your final approved Campaign strategy.  This official campaign document will serve as your road map, keeping you focused as you make your way through your Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign’. It also serves as proof of the final strategy agreed upon by those involved. This comes in handy in situations where conflict arises over what was expected of whom – it’s always helpful to have written documentation to clarify any issues that may unexpectedly arise.



Research Uptake Conversation: What are your thoughts on a campaign strategy approach?


Find the previous post in this series: Career skills toolkit part 1 of 7: PLATFORM2013: The Research Uptake Conversation Continues

Find the next post in this series: Career skills toolkit part 3 of 7: How to conceptualise a Research Uptake publication formula and how to brief a designer and editor’