$5k to $15k
estimated cost of external help
  • Communicate effectively
  • Share
9 weeks or more
estimated run time
6-8 weeks
estimated lead time
Strong communicator
recommended experience
A method of promotion for key information about a project or other engagement activities. Advertising allows you to reach both specific and broad audiences, depending on your requirements and the media selected. Common media forms include television, newspapers, social media and radio.

While advertising itself is a one-way medium, it can be used as a way of sourcing participants for other engagement activities, such as the promotion of an event. It can also be useful for announcing an upcoming change, and directing people to information to understand how the change will affect them. The ability to get a message out to potentially millions of people virtually simultaneously is one of the major appeals of advertising.

In 5 steps...

  1. Determine the content you want to communicate.
  2. Source an agency or designer to formulate your communication in a way that will get the attention of the audience.
  3. Work with the agency or a media buyer to determine the right media and channels for your message. Prior research on the intended audience can be helpful here to know what they are likely to be watching/reading/seeing.
  4. Deliver your advertising campaign.
  5. Measure your campaign’s reach to determine if you have had the intended impact.

When to use it

When you need to get a message out to a lot of people quickly and easily. Advertising can let people know about your project or other activities, particularly if you need to get people’s attention so that they attend.


  • Wide and targeted reach is possible.
  • Advertising channels will be accessible to most people (for example, television).
Long term
  • If your message was well received, this may have a favourable impact on the perception of your organisation over the longer term (even once your message has been forgotten).


  • A poorly considered campaign could result in negative press or the perception that it was a waste of money.
  • Advertising can be quite costly and is hard to do well on a shoestring, so get good support from design and communication experts. If you have no budget but can’t avoid advertising, then keep your message as simple and direct as possible.
  • People will only act on your advertising if it’s in their interests to do so. If you miss the mark on messaging and fail to connect with the right motivators, it won’t deliver the result you are expecting.
  • Some channels require more notice than others. Television and billboard advertising can be scheduled months in advance, for example.



  • Set clear goals regarding who and how many people you want to reach. This will help you select the right media channels. Be as specific as you can.
  • Test your advertisement with members of your target audience to check that the language will be understood and the message perceived in the way that you intend.
  • If you’re seeking engagement, remember to keep your messaging unbiased.

During the process

  • Keep an eye out on social media for anyone mentioning your advertisement or associated engagements. Be proactive in responding to criticism and address any concerns raised.


  • Reactions and any other coverage that has resulted from your advertising (intentional or not) may be useful in understanding how later policy or service announcements on the same topic will be received, so report on anything significant.

Also see: