basics of the strategy
every company needs a communications strategy. Here’s how to create one that actually saves you time.
Welcome to the second part of “Easy Impact Communication” – a tailor-made content series for entrepreneurs just like yourself. In Part 1, we covered some common mistakes many entrepreneurs make with their communications.
One of the most common mistakes is trying to be present everywhere: to start a blog and podcast, create a company profile on Facebook and Instagram and of course on Twitter. And what was the name of that new platform again…?
But being present everywhere is hard, especially if you don’t have a communications department or even a dedicated communications specialist. Most often in start-ups, the person who handles communications handles a lot of other stuff on the side, as well.
So the key is in defining a strategy. Communications strategy could sound like a fancy, polished document, drafted in corporate office buildings by dozens of comms executives.
In reality, it can be one or two pages of text in Google Docs. You can even draft the first version on sticky notes, if you like.
You only need to answer these three questions:
- What is your key message?
- Where would you like to disseminate it?
- Who is your audience?
Simple, right? Let’s get to work.
First: Define your key message
What are you trying to tell the world? That is the key message you need to clarify before moving on.
To clarify your message, focus on two things:
- What value you are bringing to the world?
- Which action or actions would you like people to take?
Let’s say your company has developed a product that allows flushing toilets without water like PiiPee in Brazil. Their key message is linked with the uniqueness of their approach: waterless toilets for countries and regions that suffer from water shortage.
Or if you are searching for crowdfunding for your idea, you want to focus on activating people and encouraging them to participate, like Lone Design Club is doing in the United Kingdom.
It’s possible that you have several key messages: one targeted to funders, another for your existing clients and then another for potential clients. In the beginning, focus on one key group and message to gain clarity, and once you’re clear with it, expand the idea onto other target groups.
Then: Pick your channels
Once you know what you want to say, you need to decide where you’ll say it. Often beginning entrepreneurs tend to take on too many channels and try to be present and visible a little bit everywhere.
The risk they run is exhausting their resources and still not getting the visibility they long for. It’s better to choose wisely and do a good job on a few channels than being half-heartedly present everywhere.
I usually recommend a golden rule of 3. This means choosing:
- 1 in-person communication project, such as contacting investors or networking
- 1 content marketing channel, such as a blog, vlog or podcast
- 1 social media channel
If you’re really craving for several social media channels, try and think about how you could repurpose your content instead of creating new content for several channels at once.Later on, when you can afford more help, you can add channels to your portfolio.
Last: Talk to your audience
Knowing your audience – either in reality or just on paper – is a prerequisite for building a successful communications strategy. The better idea you have, the easier it will be to target your communications to this person.
Where do they hang out? The question of who your audience is, is linked to the previous question of choosing your channels. You need to talk to them where they are.
Tone of voice – How are you addressing your clients? Is your tone more colloquial or formal?
Vocabulary – If your clients are executives and decision makers, you probably use slightly different vocabulary than with students or young professionals. Your tone of voice and vocabulary are also different through different channels.
Imagery – Tone of voice covers also the images you want to use. Different images work with different target groups and channels.
Again, you might need to adapt your tone according to your specific target group, but start with one in order to gain clarity.
In the following article, we’ll talk about how data can help you deliver your message and how to start gathering it from day one. Stay tuned!