Insights from WCM’s Communications Survey: Media Edition

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words read "Communications Survey 2023"

Washingtonian Custom Media recently invited industry leaders to participate in the first of our 2023 survey series. Survey respondents shared key approaches and strategies behind their organizations’ communications plans, including information about their teams and goals. The final piece of the marketing and communications puzzle–media and how brands utilize communications platforms–is available now, so join us as we dive into the last chapter in our communications plan survey results.

Media & Communications Platforms

A cornerstone of any organization’s communications plan is the media they will use to achieve their goals. Dual print and digital modes are increasingly common for items such as publications, annual reports, white papers, and newsletters. The marriage of physical and online forms allows for wider distribution, making content accessible to more people and increasing total engagement potential. Unsurprisingly, 100% of organizations surveyed have their own website, and most, at 94%, utilize social media and email marketing, too. The content produced for these platforms inherently takes different forms than content for traditional media. The predominance of digital media in contemporary marketing and communications cannot be overstated, and this variety demands dexterity and unison from communications teams.

A line graph reads: Which communications channels do you currently use to reach your audience? PUBLICATION, 66% PRINT 77% digital 16% neither. ANNUAL REPORT	33% print 50% digital 50% neither. NEWSLETTER	11% print	94% digital	5% neither. WHITE PAPERS	11%	print 44% digital	55% neither. BLOG 0% print, 61% digital, 38% neither. WEBSITE 0% print, 100% digital, 0% neither. SOCIAL MEDIA	0% print,	94% digital, 5% neither. EMAIL MARKETING 0% print, 94% digital, 5% neither. DIRECT MAIL	55% Print, 11% digital, 83% neither.

Similarly, the distribution frequency for each medium depends on the platform, which requires ideas to be packaged in many different ways and content to be produced oftentimes rather quickly. With digital and social media content released daily by a majority of respondents, team organization and preparedness are of the utmost importance. An editorial calendar can be a helpful tool, with specific projects broken down and assigned deadlines.

A box and whisker plot reads: How often do you distribute print & digital communications materials to your stakeholders/audience? Frequencies: DAILY	WEEKLY MONTHLY	QUARTERLY	ANNUALLY	DO NOT DISTRIBUTE PRINT	   0% 	 0%		11%		39%		44%		11% DIGITAL 61%	11%		22%		16%		27%		0% SOCIAL  78%	 16%		0%		0%		0%		5%

Print media tends to move slower than digital media, especially in comparison to social media. Though 11% of organizations do not distribute print materials, only 5% do not participate in social media and every organization reported disseminating digital content with some regularity. Digital communications are a mandatory, vital part of a communications or marketing plan, and industries must continue to invest time and effort to utilize these media. 

Were any of these results surprising to you? How does your organization’s communications plan compare? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and let us know!