When time, money and resources are tight, it’s important you understand what you want to achieve with your communications and why. Being strategic is vital as this will enable you to present a consistent message that is heard by the right people at the right time.
Working through the strategic pillars below before embarking on your activities will help you and your organisation decide what you want to achieve and why. It can also help remove duplication of effort, enable resources to be directed precisely where they are needed, and avoid wasting time and money.
The strategic pillars are:
What do you want to achieve and why? What does success look like to you? Do you want to find more customers? If so, what will persuade them to buy from you? Is about your credibility and authority in a particular business area? If you’re a charity and you want to find more donors, what is it you need to do to achieve this? Do you want to raise awareness or promote a fundraising campaign?
2. Target audience
Who do you want to talk to and why? Be specific about who it is you want to engage with and what their information needs are, and then target your communications activities accordingly. Don’t forget to think about the how as well as the who.
3. Tone of voice
What kind of personality do you want to convey? Are you fun and energetic? Authoritative and serious? The impression you want to create among your target audience will help determine the type of media channels you use, what you want to say and how you say it.
4. Key messages
What do you want people to know, feel or do? Your key messages will help explain your organisation and what it does, why this is important and the difference you make. They will also help you stay focused on your core narrative and enable you to make the best use of your valuable time and energy.
Central to the success of your communications activities will be the quality of the information your share. What stories do you have to tell. What case studies do you have? Do you have access to data that will help evidence your opinion or your work?
We know. You’re small. You don’t have budget for communications and marketing. But “budget” can come in various forms – in hard cash to pay for advertising, consultancy, training etc. Or it can come in the form of time – as in your time. You need to think about how much time and/or money you have available to support your communications and consider the potential Return on Investment.
7. Comms training
Knowing what you want to say is one thing. Being able to communicate this clearly and concisely in a way that is going to engage your audiences is another. Skills training can help iron out any creases.
8. Crisis comms
Just because you are a small organisation doesn’t mean that you won’t ever find yourself subjected to public criticism. Preparation is key if a crisis is to be averted or minimized. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and having a plan as to what to do if it all goes wrong, are essential to protecting your reputation.
There is no point marketing your products and services if you then can’t deliver once people decide to buy them. Having someone to respond to enquiries, having the right tech in place to take payments, making sure that you have enough stock to fulfil orders, having a team big enough and skilled enough to deliver… These are all important but often forgotten elements of an effective communications strategy.
10. Monitoring and evaluation
Knowing what worked and what didn’t will help you understand which areas of your strategy to change and to do more of, and will provide you with valuable insight to build the case for future investment.
If you need help creating a communications strategy that will deliver for your organisation, get in touch with us today. We can combines years of experience with market foresight to provide you with the confidence and practical steps to achieve your comms goals. Find out more here.