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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Which channels are your best choice? Answer just 3 questions.

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

Man holding a tablet pondering what channel to use.

With so many channels to pick from, how do you choose? Should you deliver your message via live presentation, virtual webinar, brochure, social media post, video, food demo, infographic, blog, billboard, or something else? The choices can feel overwhelming.

Identifying your communication channel is Step 6 in the 10 Steps to Creating Compelling Communication. Up to this point, you have...

  1. identified your audience (Step 1),

  2. understood what they need (Step 2),

  3. determined your purpose and key points (Step 3),

  4. found supporting evidence that is current, accurate, and useful (Step 4), and

  5. crafted messages that are meaningful, memorable, and motivating (Step 5).

It’s time to decide the best ways to deliver your message.

You might be saying, “I already know my channel… I'm a blogger, or a speaker, or a podcaster…” That may be true; your channel may be predetermined.

Even when your options are wide open, it is common to identify the primary delivery channel at the onset of creating communication. For example, you may have been approached to write an article or deliver a webinar online, but at this step in the process, confirm that choice of channel and determine if supplemental channels will strengthen the delivery of your message.

It is rare to deliver a message through only one channel. Presentations have accompanying handouts, articles link to infographics, social media posts promote blogs, and more. Multiple channels improve the reach and impact of a message.

3 Questions for choosing your channels:

When choosing which channels will most effectively reach an audience with a message, answer these 3 questions:

  1. Is this a channel that is available and accessible to both sender (you) and receivers (your audience)?

  2. How does your audience prefer to receive messages? Accessible and preferred channels are your best choice.

  3. Does this channel add value to the message by its delivery style and options?

Each channel has features that can enhance a message in unique ways and can appeal to the individual learning style preferences of audience members. Select a combination of channels that maximize the message and deliver it most effectively to the entire audience.

4 Categories of channels:

Different channels offer unique benefits. Here are four broad categories of channels and what makes them a good choice:

  • Written channels like articles, blogs, brochures, and handouts provide a mode of communication that can be the most detailed, as well as easily referenced, quoted, and stored. If your audience reads well and expects supporting evidence or instructions they can refer to later, provide written communication.

  • Presentations and demonstrations allow for communication that is not only informative but also engaging and interactive. If your audience can be present with you in person or virtually and will benefit from real-time engagement and interaction, opt for presenting.

  • Videos can effectively show and tell information in a way that can be delivered multiple times to an unlimited audience. When the message is best delivered both visually and verbally and the investment in delivery can be maximized by recording for repeated use, create videos.

  • Social media posts provide concise, bite-size chunks of information, inspiration, or entertainment, and can market other forms of communication effectively. Choose social media platforms the audience uses.

Select channels to connect your audience and message

The right channel choice is one that optimally connects message and audience. Effective communication focuses on the audience, message, and channel in concert. These three focus areas must work together to achieve the desired outcomes.

graphic illustrating the interconnection of audience, message, and channel
The 10 Steps to Creating Compelling Communication fall into 3 focus areas: audience, message, and channel.

Be willing to try a new channel

Keep in mind that your audience’s preferred channel may be new to you. Channel choices may stretch you as a communicator beyond your comfort zone. Be willing to learn unfamiliar channels.

New channel options emerge at a fast rate. Just when you think you understand Instagram, along comes Tik Tok. What’s coming next? Who can keep up!?

New and flashy isn’t necessarily the best choice, as the quote below suggests, but don’t limit yourself to only familiar channels. If Tik Tok is your audience’s preference, consider choosing it.

Need help choosing a channel?

Many chapters in Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide provide expert guidance on best practices and practical strategies for communicating via a variety of channels:

Chapters 16-21: Presentations and facilitated discussions

Chapters 22-23: Written materials, handouts, newsletters

Chapter 24: Videos

Chapter 25: Food demonstrations

Chapter 26: Food photography

Chapter 27: Mass media

Chapter 28: Newspaper and magazine articles

Chapter 29: Social media

Chapter 30: Blogging

Chapter 31: Online education

Chapter 32: Media interviews

Chapter 41: Journal articles

Chapter 42: Books

Which channel is your best choice? The right channel choice is the one that optimally connects your message and audience.

Replacing paper with a PC screen doesn’t change the need for clear, precise communication.”

~ Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson

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