A clear communication and content strategy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to.
Everyone knows that content is king. But with the sheer amount of it available to us today, it can be overwhelming. For content to remain as royalty, it needs to be concise, crisp and cleverly crafted.
When a new client approaches neoseven marketing to assist with their communication strategy, we always approach the process with 5 steps in mind.
Communication #1: Define your goals
A strategy is entirely relative to your ambitions. It is imperative to nail down what you want before you get going. All activities will be dependent upon those decisions. For example, should you wish to introduce your brand to an entirely new market and gain sales of £100,000 within the first month, your required activity would be monumental and different compared to a company who were looking to improve their client retention.
At neoseven, we typically work on a schedule of:
Define, understand, create and implement.
Understand your audience
You cannot effectively create a communication strategy without understanding who you’re talking to. It is simply impossible. If we take it out of marketing context for a moment, just think about how you communicate with your peers. You’ll soon realise that there is a distinct difference between the way you speak to your Grandma, your employer and your best friend. Not only will the way you speak to them be different, but what you speak about will also be very different. And this is the same for a company or brands audience.
Understandably, a law firm will communicate in one way. Whereas a restaurant promoting their new menu item will communicate in another.
When you gain an understanding of your audience and define exactly who you’re speaking to, your strategy becomes much simpler and much more effective. It also allows your brand to become much more prominent and recognisable. If you were to open a newsletter from your favourite clothing brand and the content sounded like it had come from your GP, you would probably be uninspired and may unsubscribe.
Every brand or company has a personality. Whether or not it has been created intentionally, a personality exists. When you define your brand personality, you will have a better understanding on how to communicate with your audience. At neoseven we have personified our brand to be approachable and relatable, hence why we have written our content in a conversational tone. However, a top 10 accountancy practice will adapt a much more corporate, professional, authoritative tone.
Decide on who you want to be or who you already are.
Choose your communication channels
Every industry, company or brand may have different channels that offer effective communication to their target audience. Being thoughtful about your approach in determining the most appropriate channels will not only save valuable time, but you’ll come across as much more authentic. Every channel will be effective to certain markets or audiences and therefore every business will need to approach them differently. One strategy would incorporate printed publications, weekly newsletters and Instagram. But another would utilise event sponsorships and exhibitions, website blogs and LinkedIn. Every communication channel offers relativity to certain target audiences, industries or aims.
Selecting appropriate channels is as important as the content you share. It’s not just what you say, it’s how and where you say it. Knowing where your target market “hangs out” is important in ensuring your message is delivered to them using their preferred communications vehicle. If your target market isn’t on Facebook, then how will a Facebook Business Page help your marketing effort?
Ask yourself the following questions to determine which channels you move forward with:
- Does the channel reach my intended audience?
- Is the channel affordable and sustainable given my company’s overall marketing budget?
- Does the channel allow me to provide the message or visual I need?
- Will I be able to measure the channel’s success?
Plan of action
Now that your audience and key communication channels have been identified, the next step is to outline your communication activities, budget and the resources you will need to get the job done. This step requires every aspect of the campaign or strategy to be scheduled and organised, from timescales, key milestones and calendar hooks.
This is probably what most clients find a little intense. The ground work was fun, but beginning the implementation can be seen as scary! But again, it doesn’t need to. In fact, it’s all very simple, once you take the panic away. Begin looking at the channels you have chosen, choose the frequency of content, discuss topic ideas with calendar hooks in mind or key industry dates, and before you know it, your quarterly or yearly plan is sketched out!
Set goals to measure your success
With any sort of marketing, goals and KPIs need to be set. This not only helps track the success of your activity, but it also allows a guide for the forms and frequency of the activity! By understanding what your company’s goals are, the deliverables are much more easily attained.
Again, the measurement you use will entirely depend on what you want your outcome to be. For instance, should your goal be to increase online bookings or sales from 50% to 75% for the year, Google Analytics is probably the best measurement tool. It will provide you with all the data you need to understand where the traffic is coming from (measure the performance of ad channels), what pages they visit (how engaging the page content is), how long they stay on the site (are visitors interested in your offering) and of course if the purchase. If you are not achieving your goals, review, refine and go again.