So, you know what you want to say to tell your story and grow your brand. So know who you want to say it to. You have a good idea of how to get that message to that audience. But as for the when? Forget about it! Planning can make spontaneous creative types want to curl into a ball in the corner, but a plan makes bringing your beautiful communications to life without the guesswork.
Want to know the nuts and bolts of how to bring communications to your audience?
I’ve written before about supercharging your communications by nutting out your goal, audience, message, tactic and evaluation method for each and every piece of comms collateral you throw out into the world. What I didn’t mention in that post was the importance of considering the timing of each and every comms activity in your business. You see, when you’re planning based around what’s going on in your business, life and the broader world, you can make your communications much more effective, even from the basis of setting you up to be better placed to manage or influence your cashflow.
My whole schtick is about communications being aligned to broader business goals. From your business goals fall your communications goals, and not the other way around. So many times I see frazzled people trying all the things, and losing time and energy and money in tactics that have no relevance to their broader goals. This is about deciding the response you want from each and every piece of communications that you put out to people, in the context of your goals for your brand.
Fancy some examples?
If a business goal is to develop a clear, known brand, obviously you’re not going to use different logos or to flit between fonts or colours.
If you want to sell your online course (business goal) you may wish to build your mailing list to a certain number because email is how you want to convert people.
If you want to reduce your operational inefficiencies (business goal) you might decide to refresh your website with some frequently asked questions to decrease your admin time.
If you want to reach a new audience of fit women for a specific program (business goal) you might chase being published in a women’s health publication.
There are so many fabulous tactics that you have at your disposal:
- External events
- Internal events ie the events that you host or the events that you manage
- Social media strategies
- Alliances, collaborations and joint ventures where you team up to work with colleagues with similar audiences
- Media campaigns
- Advertising, print and online
- Client touchpoint communications
- Content marketing ie emails, list building activities, blogging, video, LinkedIn articles
- Business awards
- Social proof campaigns
These are just some of the tactics that you can take advantage of, but rather than do all of them, bring your planning a-game so what you do rocks. When choosing tactics, think about things that you’ve done in the past that were amazing for your business or for your brand, that really increased eyeballs on your stuff. Also think about what was a bit of a flop.
And with that complete, pick some of the tactics above that you like the look of – no more than five. Let’s do this!
So you’ve got everything; you’ve got your messages, you’ve got the tactics that you want to do. Now you basically plot out when are you going to do it.
Of course, there’s fabulous tools like Asana but you know what I fall back on time and time again? It’s ye olde wall calendar. From here, I can see my whole year. I plot out things like school holidays, every Write Here Right Now batch writing workshop, every Band of Batchers session.
I know that once a month, I’m going to be doing some sort of mailing list opt in, I’ve got my speaking gigs and I have my key dates for my year on that- some brands are aligned to things like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and spring carnival.
Then plot out each detail of each tactic that you need against those dates, and plan them. Lock them down! Bottom line, however, is don’t overwhelm yourself. If, like me, you work around the constraints of school terms, if you want to launch something at a certain date, pop that date down and make sure you’ve got at least six weeks to implement it.
For example, you want to refresh your website, to be launched in February. This means you’ll need your copywriting and your design work starting at least in January, maybe December depending on what’s going on. If you are entering a Business Award in June for the end of the financial year, you start your work on your entry in April.
Basically, the goal of planning is having a clear understanding of when and how you’re going to do things. And yes, I know, I know. It can be as boring as bat poo. That’s why having someone with some outside perspective can be really helpful. Someone like, I don’t know, me!
I love writing about communications, writing, life in business and life in general! If there’s something specific you’d like me to cover in my writing, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.