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Section 4: Planning for impact from media engagement

This section covers:

  1. The importance of planning

  2. Identify impact goals for specific beneficiaries

  3. Design media activities to meet those goals

  4. Identify how you will create evidence to demonstrate impact


  • Planning media engagement is essential. Lack of planning is the key reason why media engagement with research fails to generate impact.

  • First, due to missed opportunities. Because researchers (and the professional staff supporting them) don’t have a plan of how to generate impact from the research, there are no groups identified that could potentially benefit, nor means identified to deliver it to them. As a result should opportunities arise it is difficult to convert the awareness of the research into measurable benefits that could be claimed as research impact.

  • Second, due to poor targeting. Without clear impact goals, press offices may prioritise angles, outlets or audiences that do little to help generate impact. Researchers need to express what the ultimate benefits are that might be achieved, so that messages and actions can be prioritised accordingly. This will almost certainly mean highly targeted communications to specific audiences, rather than trying to maximise reach but to a non-specific audience.

  • The logic model approach provides a quick and easy way to plan impact from media engagement. There are three steps: 1) identify impact goals, including a specific group who will benefit from the research; 2) design media activities that will achieve these goals for these beneficiaries; and 3) identify indicators of success and deploy a means to monitor and evaluate them to use as evidence.

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