There’s the old cliché that a New Year means a new start. It’s a time of reflection when resolutions are set. And your communications strategy is no different. It should be a top priority as things can change over a 12-month period from staff and budgets to your company’s vision and goals.
A communications strategy is important as it sets out how you communicate your business to the outside world. Whether it’s promoting a new product you’ve just launched or simply a brand awareness exercise to reach out to a wider audience, it will help put processes in place as to what, how and to whom you communicate to.
The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate if your current communications strategy still fits in with your business goals and objectives. If you don’t have one, then you should and now’s the time to do it.
Before you start, you need to ask yourself, what worked well this year, what does success look like for your business next year, what do you want to achieve, and what are the challenges that may prevent you from achieving it?
You also need to do some research. Have you seen what your competitors are doing recently? Can you be doing it better or differently?
Communications strategy planning
Planning and analysis
Get the whole team and stakeholders on board. Arrange sessions, an away day or 1-2-1s to encourage input into the future of the business – what have you done well, what can you be doing better or differently and how could you improve? By involving everyone from all aspects of the business ensures you’ve got all views covered and should keep everyone happy and on board.
Set new goals, objectives and KPIs
Following the planning stage, review or set new goals, objectives and KPIs to ensure the team and wider business are working to the same brief and timelines. These will also act as a benchmark when you evaluate the success of your strategy at the end of the project or the year.
These may change or stay the same but should always be in line with your overall business vision and purpose.
Remember strong objectives follow the SMART deliverables – Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-bound – so make sure yours do too. To find out how to set goals and objectives, go to our blog here.
Once you have set your new goals, objectives and KPIs, now’s the time to revisit your key messaging to ensure they are aligned. Your messaging is what you want your target audience to hear and remember. Keep them short, specific and consistent. Priorities may have changed, so ensure the messages stick to what you want to say.
Who you communicate to is important and can change depending on the direction of your business. Think about who is your core target market for the new year, as well as how to target them. Remember they may not all be from the same demographic, so your messaging and tactics to reach out to them may differ.
Once you have determined all of the above, you need to ascertain how to get your messages across to the key audiences you’ve identified. Here are some suggested tactics you could include:
- PR – media relations targeting relevant media outlets – print/ online
- Thought leadership/ blogs – creating engaging content for your website or LinkedIn that stands you out as an expert in your field
- Targeting relevant influencers – get people to want to talk about your business or product because they want to, not because you’ve paid them.
- Digital and social media – using engaging information, not too salesy, to increase followers and extend reach through content marketing.
At the end of the year, you need to evaluate the success of the communications strategy. What worked and what didn’t. And then repeat the whole process to review your strategy the following year!