Written material is an effective and popular form of communicating with different audiences on a large scale. When preparing written materials:
- consider the level of knowledge and interests of your audience;
- be clear about your main messages;
- determine the audiences you want to convey the messages to;
- be sensitive of the social and political situation;
- satisfy the information needs of the audience;
- determine how you will distribute your materials.
Test your material before you distribute it to your audience. Use a sub-sample to determine if you have provided all the information that is available and necessary for the audience to reach their own conclusions about the risk. Focus groups are also useful for gaining information from participants. Once participants have read the material they can give their impressions, opinions, and criticisms in a group context.
Sending out brochures with reply envelopes is a good way of collecting information about the communication needs of the public; it is also cheap. A good way to ensure that you receive responses is to include a contest or some other form of incentive for mailing the reply. Again, you may want to test your reply questions before sending them out to ensure that you are getting the types of responses that will be useful.