Just as a good general wouldn’t go into battle without a battle plan, a map, or a rough idea of who he/she’s engaging, the same is true for a good communicator. Dedicating time to your communications strategy at an early stage is the most effective way of ensuring your story will reach the right people in the most engaging, enduring and scalable way.
Below are three things to keep in mind when designing an adaptable, successful communications approach.
Put your insight into action
Every great plan is based on great research.
The first step is to figure out what you know and what you don’t. Relevant market or industry trends, examples of great work by peers or competitors, and a detailed knowledge of your target consumers should all be assembled and used to inform your approach. Any gaps in knowledge should be identified and addressed early on.
Adopting a research and market-intelligence based approach ensures you’re generating a strategy that is tailored to your needs. Research provides the foundation on which the communications strategy will be built, which is why we call it the Campaign Platform – where insight can be put into action.
Think about your influencers
You may be excited about your story – but what about your customers, stakeholders and the media? Taking the time to understand and define your audience helps show the best ways to reach them: what publications they read, for example, or what they use to help inform buying decisions. Influencers in these areas can be vital in amplifying the reach for your story. When you know the digital communities or editorial teams your audience trust, you know where to focus your efforts.
Building relationships in these communities takes time, but it also takes courage. The best influencers don’t just care what companies do, they care WHY they do it, and they’re not interested in ‘marketing bullshit.’ They are the gatekeepers to their communities, so your approach needs to be designed to appeal to them.
(For another great perspective on the value of understanding your customers, from a start-up perspective, check out Notion Capital’s blog on the topic.)
The final stage of the planning process is to build a framework and structure for sharing your content.
It’s worth creating a plan which groups communications into four, general pathways: Social Media (services such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook); Owned Media (company newsletters, blogs and website content); Paid Media (sponsorships other purchased placements); and Earned Media (press releases, events or direct media relations).
Not everything you produce will be appropriate for all channels, but if you set out without a plan, you’ll be left exposed or, worse, missing opportunities where your story might thrive.
Post produced in partnership with Allison+Partners.