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Easy tips for Co-producing communications

In this guide, we have worked with the Coalition for Personalised Care to create a guide that helps you understand how to co-produce your communications to give them an authentic voice.

Reading Level: Advanced
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Created with Coalition for Personalised Care

At the centre of any co-produced project is a change in power dynamics to create a more equal relationship between the people who use services and those who provide them. Co-production involves people with different forms of knowledge and lived experience working together equally.

You can learn more about co-production in our co-production guide.

This also applies to what you say before, during and after any project, programme or activity you create. Everything from the name of your project to the language you use on your website can convey intended and unintended messages about who is included or excluded from the project.

Why is co-producing communications important?

It is important to co-produce your communications. Making this effort means that everyone you work with to co-produce the project is included in the full length of the project. It will make certain that your communications are accessible and inclusive to all. If you take your time at the beginning, it will save you time in the long run. This is because taking the time to properly co-produce your communications means they will be more effective, preventing you from needing to re-do them over and over.


Although there is no list of qualities that every co-production partner needs, involving a person with lived experience in any campaign is a great place to start. By co-producing with someone directly connected to your project, you will learn what helps people engage or hinders them from doing so. 

This allows you to better understand what makes them feel comfortable and friendly and what might create barriers or anxieties. Without the co-production process, you wouldn’t understand how to talk to those you want to reach in a way they actually want and are receptive to.

When done well, co-production can add credibility to your communications by giving it an authentic voice for the group you want to communicate with. Authenticity, honesty and accessibility are key

Where to begin?

  • When you think about how to start, make sure that any communications planning begins with the person or persons you co-produce with. This focuses on what works for the intended audience and the best way to engage them.

  • Co-production should be present at the planning stage of the design of any project. As you move forward, you can think about how you will communicate your project to those who will participate in it. Involving someone with lived experience in the design of your communications strategy will allow them to steer the messaging and make it more impactful from the outset.

  • You will need to work hard to ensure that the co-production approach is genuine and not tokenistic. Remember that creating a document and asking for consultation afterwards is not co-production. It should be implemented at all levels, from strategy to specific projects. 

A successful co-produced communications approach

To be done well, co-production needs adequate space and time. You cannot rush through co-production projects. You should remember that not everyone you work with will be a professional. They might be working in our free or spare time. Be respectful of their needs, workload and capacity.


You can tackle this by building additional time for project implementation to ensure that co-production can be carried out fully and effectively. You want to make working together as easy as possible. This may include removing barriers by having a single point of contact, working out a clear plan, and thinking about accessibility. 


Think about the audience demographic of the work you’re doing and try to bring together a representative group of people to co-produce your work. It’s important that the individuals you are working with bring to the table the lived experience of a wider group of people if possible.


Consider utilising different mediums or channels, such as digital or in-person meetings, according to everyone’s individual needs. Yes, technology is a useful tool to assist co-production, but it can also present challenges. You can learn more about co-producing digitally in our useful guide.


Every effort should be made to empower the voices of those with lived experiences. Too often, people don’t realise that their voice is important and can make a difference. This is especially true when it comes to communications. We are all more receptive when working with rather than talking to. Working together allows those who may not always have the skills to present ideas articulately to be included and feel heard. 


Offering validation of experience, and training to build skills, enables everyone to speak more freely and effectively. It is important to show that co-production is valued by appropriately paying people with lived experience or offering alternative benefits. You shouldn’t take advantage of their time. Co-production is a process of working together which should be respected.

Next Steps

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