How often do you start down a path that isn’t sustainable? We’ve all been sucked into the trap at one point or another. It could be a commitment to start working out six days a week, writing daily in a journal or allocating time each and every week to business development — the list goes on and on.
It’s not that they aren’t great ideas for achieving success or a balanced lifestyle. Where the challenge lies is in the sustainability of these plans. What happens the first day you don’t make it to the gym? Or the second week you’ve missed out on listening to your regular podcast? It becomes a slippery slope and motivation begins to slip away.
The same principle applies to your communications strategy. There are always more people to meet, more tactics to deploy. But can you sustain them to a point where you’re actually being effective?
Set yourself up for success
A smart communications strategy not only looks at areas such as strong messaging and target audiences, but also keeps resources in mind.
Deciding on a phased approach to deploying tactics will set your company up for significantly more communications success than if you activate in fits and starts and take an all or nothing approach.
This more strategic approach also keeps your company focused on your goals. Launching into a digital campaign might not be the best approach if you don’t have the basics covered.
So ask yourself some tough questions. Which social media platforms do you really need to be on? Do you really need a daily blog? If so, how can you better resource that area of the company? Realistically, what can we start executing and still be able to manage six months from now?
Here are a few easy ways to be smart and sustainable with your communications strategy:
Pick and choose your social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat…the list goes on and on and it can be easy to get caught up on the “trendy” platform and feel like you need to be everywhere. But it takes a significant amount of time to update each platform to the standard that it needs to be successful. Start with one or two platforms — where your audience is — that you know you can execute in a strong and consistent fashion. Stay here until you have the time and resources to expand.
Let analytics guide you. You don’t have to guess how people are finding your website, which pages they are visiting and which social networks are the most successful. Let data drive your decision making. Google Analytics makes it extremely easy to determine how visitors are finding your website and what pages they are visiting. Are you spending hours a week on a blog that no one is actually reading? Perhaps that’s not a good use of your time.
Set a strong foundation. We often have clients come to us with amazing ideas for communications campaigns and a desire to expand their business within a very short period of time. The energy is phenomenal; however, we often discover there are some big cracks in the foundation. Messaging is weak, there isn’t a clear target audience and the goals aren’t realistic. It’s often a tough pill to swallow. But sustainable communications isn’t a short-term strategy. It’s a long and strategic approach to business development and reputation management. If you build a house with a shaky foundation and a leaky roof, it doesn’t matter what high-end countertops you put in the kitchen — at some point, it may all collapse and you have to start again.
Strong, consistent and sustainable communications will set your company up with a powerful message and impact your audiences for years to come.