Unit 7 highlights the importance of selecting an appropriate channel mix for a communication response, and describes five categories of communication channels: mass media, mid-media, print media, social and digital media and interpersonal communication (IPC). For each of these channels, advantages and disadvantages have been listed, as well as situations in which different channels may be used.
Although this Unit has attempted to differentiate the channels and their uses for simplicity, there is recognition that channels frequently overlap and may be effective for achieving similar objectives. This is why the match between channel, audience and communication objective is important.
This unit provides some tools to help assess available and functioning channels during an emergency, as well as those that are more appropriate for reaching specific audience segments. Once you have completed this unit, you will have the following tools to support the development of your SBCC response:
What Is a Communication Channel
A communication channel is a medium or method used to deliver a message to the intended audience. A variety of communication channels exist, and examples include:
- Mass media such as television, radio (including community radio) and newspapers
- Mid-media activities, also known as traditional or folk media such as participatory theater, public talks, announcements through megaphones and community-based surveillance
- Print media, such as posters, flyers and leaflets
- Social and digital media such as mobile phones, applications and social media
- IPC, such as door-to-door visits, phone lines and discussion groups
Different channels are appropriate for different audiences, and the choice of channel will depend on the audience being targeted, the messages being delivered and the context of the emergency. Using a variety of channels or a channel mix, is recommended so that messages can be reinforced through multiple sources. More information on communication channels.
Why Are Communication Channels Important?
Communication channels are the means by which a program can reach its audiences with key messages during an emergency. They are therefore an essential component of SBCC programming; however, their effectiveness will depend on a careful selection process, based on the intended audiences’ habits and preferences. Selecting a mix of appropriate and accessible channels will increase the likelihood of the audiences hearing and seeing the communication messages.
Key Steps for Effectively Choosing Communication Channels