Finding the right balance between the Brussels and national perspectives is crucial when communicating on EU policies, while blogs and video clips are becoming an increasingly popular means of communicating online, indicates a EURACTIV survey.
The survey was presented at a conference organised by Kellen Europe on 28 February entitled ‘Euroconference: Taking your association to the next level’. It revealed that an increasing proportion of stakeholders at EU level are employing innovative means of communication – including online video, blogs and RSS feeds – to complement their traditional methods.
Notably, federations believe online videos offer more added value (45%) than blogs or content syndication options like automated text inclusion or RSS feeds. Despite this, while over three quarters (80%) of the respondents claimed to be familiar with online videos, just 12% use them for external communication purposes. However, a further 28% revealed their intention to use them “this year or later”.
The results also reveal a surge in the popularity of blogs. Their use by federations tripled in just one year between 2006 and 2007 and 32% now believe blogs give added value to their communication strategies (see EURACTIV Links Dossier). Not only were 60% of the respondents familiar with blogs, but almost half (47%) read them occasionally and a further 8% do so frequently (another 5% write their own).
Content syndication options are less widely employed by federations, with just 16% of those asked indicating that they already use automated text inclusion or RSS feeds. This may change in future as revealingly, a fifth intends to use them “this year or later”. Just over a third believes that RSS offers added value to their strategies.
Most federations (72%) prefer to develop a balanced focus between Brussels and national capitals when raising awareness of the policy issues that concern them, the research shows. Participants overwhelmingly emphasised (93%) the vital importance of having an updated website in communicating with stakeholders, and half of the respondents employ consultants to help them get their positions across.
Though the websites of the Commission and Parliament are an important source of EU policy information for federations, the results also revealed that national newspapers and websites still have a huge role to play in disseminating such information. Excluding EURACTIV, BBC Online is the single most viewed website on EU affairs, while the popularity of Google News is growing fast.
Finally, the results stressed the importance of multilingual coverage, with over half of the federations contacted identifying the choice of languages as the most valuable feature of EURACTIV’s multi-country network.