Create a solid communications strategy with these four tips
A bridge is only as beneficial as the traffic flow that it can produce. What good is a one-way bridge if there is no way back? You’ll end up with a lot of angry travelers barking at the gate. The same goes for your communication strategy.
I know this article might seem a bit broad, as communication covers a wide array of channels and techniques, but you don’t start building a bridge by picking out the nuts and bolts. You start with the big picture. These tips should be a refresher for your communication strategy; to confirm your strategy is still on track and to adjust your techniques as your communication landscape changes.
And it will change. Your landscape might shift because of a new product, additional target audience or a new tactic or type of media was created that could help you better communicate. Gini Dietrich does an excellent job breaking down the details of the new PR landscape in her recently released book Spin Sucks.
So what’s my point? Don’t underestimate what a solid, cohesive communication strategy can do for your company.
1. Send Out the Feelers. Feelers are little ways you can monitor and track your communication, your competitors’ communications and how each is being perceived. Especially for PR pros, the information we glean from our feelers dictate our overall communication efforts.
Get Started: Create alerts in Talkwalker for main pieces of content you’ve produced, your company name, competitors’ names and your company’s experts or C-Suite employees. Sign up for a social media monitoring site to help you track the company’s reputation on social networks. Lastly, track links to your content through Ahrefs.
2. Prioritize. With the ever-growing communication landscape, you need to focus your efforts where you can glean the most benefits. While it is important to keep up with all the channels you are on, don’t fall into the trap of creating mediocre content for all your channels just so you can get something on it. Invest in the channels that will give you the greatest return on your objective.
Get Started: Create a list ordering your tactics and channels from most beneficial for the company to least. If you’re not sure, analyze your competitor’s success on each of their channels or send out a survey to your target audience to see where they would be most perceptible to your messages.
3. Know Your KPIs. An inch can’t be an inch without a ruler. KPIs (key performance indicators) make up the markings on your communication ruler. They tell you how well your strategy is working and whether you need to tweak your tactics.
Get Started: Separate your KPIs into short term and long term goals. Long term goals, such as the total cost per lead or the number of converted leads, are usually the primary indicators that your communication program is working. Short term goals can be blog/email subscribers or cost per visitor, which are usually check-in points in the customer’s journey.
4. PDCA (Plan, DO, Check, Adjust). I know it’s a pain, but as the adage goes: no pain no gain. Maintain the cycle of plan, do, check and adjust to keep your communication strategy on track. Communication is a lifelong marathon, not a sprint. The more you run the quicker and better you’ll become. But the moment you stop, someone will pass you.
Get Started: Add your PDCA timetable to your calendar (one you actually keep up with). Once you get your communication strategy rolling, you can pick up the PDCA at the “check” phase at the end of every quarter (or whatever frequency you think best) to evaluate what kind of adjustments you need to make to your communication program.
What other tips do you have for developing a communications strategy?