Last week, we talked about the importance of having a communications strategy for your small business. This week, we want to focus on the building blocks of an effective strategy.
The first thing you should know is that a communications strategy must be personalized for you and your business goals to be successful. You’ll see a list in this article that explains the different items that could be part of a communications plan – some of these are optional depending on your business goals, but having a communications strategy is always necessary.
So, let’s look at the functional sections a communications strategy might have.
We all know having goals is the driving force of your enterprise’s existence and growth.
This section could be broken down into a goals, objectives, strategies and tactics (GOST) or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (SMART) format, or even a combination of both. It would establish your goals and identify the most effective ways to achieve them and measure your progress. In this section, you would also institute the identity you want you and your brand to have for the public.
What does that even mean?
It means that your communications strategy establishes a set of messages that are consistent with your identity and based on your goals to be weaved throughout your communications outputs. Having key messages keeps you consistent across all forms of communication – speeches, social media posts, blogs, interviews, etc. They are not necessarily repeated verbatim across these channels, but they are used as a base for what you want to communicate and the content for these mediums is built on those message points. Key messages can also be situational and new ones can be created depending on the context, whether it is an event, initiative or other form of action.
Unfortunately, appealing to the “general public” is not realistic, which means you need to target certain groups of people.
In your communications strategy, these groups are identified based on who would be more likely to help you achieve your goals. These groups are not limited to your potential customers or investors, they could include policymakers or people who influence your target customers or investors. Anyone that could have a direct or indirect impact on your business could end up being a targeted group depending on your goals.
Social Media Plan
I know, more planning, but it’s 2019 and having a social media plan is important for your company.
You want to keep what’s on your social media account consistent with your key messages. It should be a plan that makes sure you’re constantly reaching and connecting with your target audiences, keeping yourself top of mind for them and delivering your messages quickly, constantly and clearly.
This section is all about participating in and attending events to make you and your business known.
An engagements section could be a list of speaking opportunities, interviews, conferences, meetings, etc. Based on your goals, a communications strategy will include a list of engagements with rationale on why they matter to you and how they advance your goals.
SWOT or PEST Analyses
A SWOT analysis reviews strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as they relate to your organization. You want to keep yourself prepared for any threats while being aware of the risks your weaknesses bring your way, while you want to make the most of strengths and take advantage of any opportunities you have on the table. A PEST Analysis looks at the political, economic, social and technological landscape that could impact you or your organization as it relates to your goals.
Remember a communications strategy – particularly having one written out – will keep you on track so you don’t lose sight of your goals or take a wrong turn somewhere on your way to achieving them.
You can book a free consultation today to get an idea of what a communications plan would look like for you.