EU-funded Projects and Online Dissemination

7th Framework Program logoICT EU-funded projects during dissemination and exploitation phases conduct both online and presential activities, but most of the times they lack of being relevant in terms of outreach. This blog entry is aimed at giving some basic tips and hints to plan an overall strategy that extends from creating (yet another) website to the metodization of social media activities.

Start a new website. First, are you sure you need to start a new one? Frequently eu-funded projects are the follow-up of previous projects, and re-using those facilities could help to save some money but – more important – to retain google page rank.

If you have to buy a new domain name, take a moment to think if your project’s name is a good choice. A little knowledge about how search engines work should help you to consider lesser obvious choices, especially if your aim is to connect with people who don’t know about your project.

What is your website for? Most of them are designed for projects’ partners, that is a good thing, but if you want to attract people you need to spend some time and effort to make it usable for the casual user.

We need a blog. No, you probably don’t. You need to share content, to open a conversation, to find new potential partners, end-users or open source developers. Your blog is not the ultimate answer for those needs, but only a tool to accomplish your research activities, extend your outreach.

Christian Sarkar‘s “double-loop” is the way to go: start by building a blog-like community site that offers useful information and advice. This is the first loop, and its purpose is not to educate the audience about the project’s findings or workpackages, but to achieve credibility among its readers (some journalistic skills are required). Then in the “second loop” you’ll work on gaining traction in respect to the project’s research activities and outputs.

Release early, release often. Dissemination activities, at least attracting people to the site, should start as soon as possible, so that visitors will start to book-mark, refer and link to your website. Analyze traffic behaviours, collect emails for your newsletters, will help to increment interactions with a variety of stakeholders.

Other Social media.
LinkedIn groups as well as Twitter are tools to look at, both for communicating or for opening conversations around your favorite topics, as well as in relation to specific events and activities. Given the pace of change in relation to social media, the dissemination team should follow developments in this area and be ready to use new tools or opportunities as they arise.