Communications is about so much more than having a few social media platforms and sending an e-newsletter. It’s about being smart and strategic with your outreach, rather than dabbling here, there and everywhere and hoping something sticks. Not only is that not a smart play, but no one has the time or resources to waste on a “fingers-crossed” approach to communications.
Building a basic communications strategy will not only help you clarify your goals and messages, but it’s also a significant tool to get everyone on the same page. The sooner you can align your team, the quicker you’ll have a stronger presence and make some serious headway towards your goals.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve broken down the basic categories that your communications strategy needs.
Research and analysis. A significant part of a communications strategy involves research. Everything from background and context of the current situation the company finds itself in, to a competitor review and a SWOT analysis should be considered through this part of the process. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? How does your competition stack up? The more intel you gather during this process, the stronger your strategy will be in the next steps.
Goals and objectives. Set one big goal and then three to five more focused objectives that support the goal. How are you going to reach your goal? Consider objectives with quantifiable results, such as achieving a certain percentage increase in web traffic visits or social media engagement. How are you going to reach your internal audience?
Target audiences. Your audience cannot be “everyone.” It’s important that you spend the time to determine who you are speaking to. Define your target audience to a specific person and then you can tailor your content to that individual or group. For more information on finding your audience, check out this post!
Key messages. This is a vital step in any communications strategy. Determine what your message is and what you need your audiences to know and understand about your company and/or product. Less is more. Stick to three solid messages that clearly articulate who you are and what you stand for. The more complicated your messages, the less impact you’ll have with them.
Tactics. Often this is where people start, but it should be where you end. Tactics are determined based on your research, your audiences and your messages. Often limited resources mean you can’t do everything, so select tactics that are smart, strategic and directly support your objectives.
Above all, keep your communications strategy focused and simple. You can always add to it later once you have a solid foundation.