Risk communicators use public outreach materials such as fact sheets and FAQs as an important resource for informing stakeholders about risk.

These materials, when printed in hard copy or posted online, complement face-to-face communication during such activities as open houses and focus groups.

Effective Fact Sheets and FAQs

Fact sheets and FAQs must contain clearly presented information that wide audiences will understand. Keep in mind the following when creating these materials:

  • Use easy-to-understand terminology
  • Write at a sixth-grade level
  • Provide materials in multiple languages

In addition, risk communicators should distribute public outreach materials via avenues that maximize the audience and promote engagement. Methods of distribution include direct mail, websites, social media, government agencies and departments, information booths at public events, and public libraries.

Audience assessments help risk communicators determine the best methods of distribution for their audience. With any risk communication plan, risk communicators should perform review and evaluation at every step, from identifying issues and setting goals all the way through the implementation of strategy.

Informed by information and outcomes, review and evaluation enable risk communicators to improve the effectiveness of their communications and make decisions about future delivery of materials and outreach.

Pathway Prompt: How have you measured the effectiveness of your FAQs and fact sheets?

Communicating Effectively When Feelings, Fears, and Facts Collide

More information about risk, high-concern, and crisis communication can be found in Dr. Covello’s video-based course Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication.

This master class introduces communicators to the tools and techniques for communicating effectively—while providing greater insight into why audiences react the way they do during times of stress.

The course comprises nine video lectures and accompanying text modules, plus supplemental materials for putting valuable lessons into practice. More information about the course, including group rates and partnering opportunities, can be found by emailing info@pathwaycommunication.com.

Dr. Vincent Covello

Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high-concern, and crisis communication. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books.