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Durham University

Marketing and Communications

Web Communications

Integrated communications

Communicating to key audiences via the Web is not a stand-alone activity. Web communications should be part of an integrated marketing communications plan, and should therefore complement and support messages transmitted through printed media, email, and word of mouth. When planning a website, think about how it relates to your other promotional activity. Ensure that your key messages are consistent.

Audience-centred approach

When planning online communications, spend time identifying your audiences and ensuring your site will be meaningful to them. Stakeholders generally have little interest in the internal structure of an organisation or department, so avoid structuring your website along these lines. Instead think of the key pieces of information your stakeholders will need from your website and build your site around this.

A relationship-building tool

Use your website to engage with your audience and build relationships with them:

  • Help audiences personalise information they receive from the Web (think about adding RSS feeds to your news stories, or using Podcasts)
  • Make sure you change and update content frequently to encourage return visits (in the CMS news and events listings can be set to automatically display on specific dates)
  • Use a variety of media to make sure your message is heard (text, image, audio recordings, video clips)

Targeted and relevant information

Remember that less is often more. Don't use your website as an information repository. Be selective about the information you add to your site, and ensure it is genuinely relevant and targeted. You might want to vary the information you provide at different points in the year to correspond with the prospective student decision-making process.

Write for the Web

A web page is not like paper. Reading on screen is up to 25% slower than reading on paper, and people have short attention spans when using the Web. Use simple language and be brief. To help you think about the implications of writing for the Web, we have produced a short guide: