How researchers get heard

You’re a Public Expert, Not a Research Communicator

Our world is filled with hammers and nails. For instance: Writers tend to see all content problems as writing problems, solvable by more or better writing. But content problems are strategy and audience problems first; your #1 job is to get the audience to engage with the content in ways that serve you and your organization strategically. Achieving that goal might require less writing, simpler writing, writing with more visuals, or (gasp) no writing at all. So the writer who wants to be a content strategist needs to evolve.

Similarly: Being able to communicate your research is just a fraction of being a public expert — which requires

  • Developing strong and evidence-supported POVs,
  • Asking questions that open up new ways of thinking and seeing,
  • Shaping your research-based insights into narratives that key audiences want to join,
  • Cultivating communities around your content,
  • Inventing a lexicon to better express the way you think, and
  • Integrating your public expertise with larger strategic goals held by your organization or company — and perhaps even driving that strategy.

Focusing on better research communications gets you well-communicated research.

Focusing on your public expertise gets your ideas attention, your solutions traction and your organization new funding or business.

They don’t talk about any of those things much in research communications. You might have noticed I do.