What does it take for effectively building-up strategic communications
Written by Angel Mora
Settings as ferocious as the one online companies operate in today have prompted a shift within the dialogue held by customers and brands; making it a requirement for public relations and marketing departments all over the world to develop innovative and adaptive strategic communications.
This implied discarding rules brought in by conventional advertising, and instead, thinking of digital media under a new light with the sole purpose of creating a mutually beneficial relationship with online users – as these being potential clients.
If you’re currently managing a startup or bringing the offline operations of your business to the virtual terrain, then maintain effective communication on as many platforms as possible should immediately become your main focus.
However, the greatest challenge in this scenario is recognizing what are the best practices to take advantage of your resources – however limited or extensive they may be – into developing an image of transparency and reliability.
After all, if what you want is to sell a product or a service, why should the public think that offer is different from any other?
It is at this point where logic and creativity come in.
Therefore, if you are interested in finding an answer and accelerating your conquest of the online market, in today’s article I’m going to explain the keys to strategic communications and relevance.
Having said this, let’s jump right on it!
What are your communication resources?
Let’s remember that today’s consumers – like you and me in other areas of life – grew up in a purely advertising environment, with big names ingrained in their buying habits, rejecting any product and service that, at a first glance, doesn’t relate to their demands.
When was the last time you read “We’re the number one company…” and believed it or even cared about the brand afterward? Users react negatively to ads, invasive, or interrupting campaigns.
Don’t get me wrong, pop-up ads, video ads, and the whole gamut of gimmick advertising have, indeed, a role to play. Otherwise, corporations wouldn’t invest so much in them. But, following the initial argument, unless it’s about brands like Apple or Cocacola, you’d better steer clear of marketing clichés.
In contrast, having a strategic communication plan allows you to sharpen marketing actions towards profit and opportunity. Look up-to proving the value of your offer organically – which brings us to the next point.
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The basis of strategic communications
We have already made it clear how your primary marketing objective is to make the product or service, remarkable and convenient enough for users. But your target audience must not only understand what it is that your brand is selling, but also understand what it means and represents.
Let’s me expand on this:
Start by doing a little corporate introspection, exploring the following angles: What’s the DNA of your company’s and the identity of the brand itself?
Yes. Although coming from the same principle, they represent different ideas.
In the first one, we refer to the main motivation behind your offer (why you created it in the first place). It’s about mission and vision, the mission being to provide a solution for a specific problem while the vision involves future ideas surrounding the offer.
From this subdivision, you will get your short and long-term goals which will both dictate the course of strategies.
The second one, however, revolves around the idea of “packaging”. The appearance and personality showcased online.
For example, it is not the same presenting a financial solution from a budget perspective (“buy this” or “subscribe to that”) to audiences in general, than to target a population of young economists and business people utilizing their codes and platforms, as if it was an exclusive service. (I’ll explain this in-depth later in the post).
According to data collected by Hubspot, the new forays into e-commerce will manage to overcome the barrier of $ 4.5 trillion by 2021, as a result of economic evolution and targeting strategies.
After defining aspects like goals and approaches, let’s dab in the storytelling.
It should be noted broadcasting your brand and implant it in the collective consciousness goes beyond mere promotion and social-media posting on social networks. To boost a strong narrative, you and your team will have to perform transversal actions so that the story is not only trustworthy but also ascertainable.
5-step launch scheme
When the public has no idea who you or your company are, the first impression to make is crucial. Consequently, it will be very important to contemplate many factors for this launch to be effective.
Among other aspects, a basic foundation is choosing the right moment for reaching. Trust and visibility are the biggest assets for any digital business; not only do you want to engage regular customers but create an active community drawn towards every new release.
But as I have already mentioned in previous posts, one of the phenomena of globalization and e-commerce is that entrepreneurs look for the “quintessential formula for success” instead of concentrating on designing their own.
Please avoid that. Reaching dream figures in terms of sales depends on you employing a solid framework comprised of 5 key segments: objectives, analysis, variables, instruments, and time-frame.
As I said earlier, your communication strategy must be rooted in the identity of your brand and what you want to showcase it. Take on the task of finding out strengths and weaknesses within the proposal.
To do this, ask yourself what you want to achieve: amassing a minimum number of followers, getting subscribers to your service, or receiving press coverage.
Additionally, these intentions should be encapsulated in a message especially created thinking of your market sector; then distributed in positive actions that shape people’s perception of the company. Once there, you will know how to attract customers.
Do you know what online stage your organization is in?
The definition of starting from scratch is different for every entrepreneur. In this sense, if you have already applied the previous point, you likely have several advanced tasks, such as a proper website or a social profile. Moreover, if you are transferring an offline business to the online world, you already have a minimum customer base and even business partners.
So, you can initiate a bonding strategy by classifying two fundamental elements:
- What is your brand reputation so far: Depending on the user or purchase experience you have provided until now, you may be able to find opinions or conversations held on social media about the brand.
- What are the recent market trends: In addition to working with the public in mind, make sure to follow the course of the industry right now. Usually, companies apply similar actions until now (i.e. promotions and launches.)
I’ll expand on this in the next segment.
What level of advantage or disadvantage do you have concerning the market?
Evaluate the events that are taking place within your company (restructuring or change of team), niche, and even in other organizations worldwide.
Keep in mind that your competitors are also under continuous analysis and restructuring of strategies. Hence, take a look at their internet activity as well as their catalogs to make sure yours is not mimicking their strategy.
Also, consider there are constantly new consumption peaks or economic crises in some sectors, which can affect your overall performance. The goal here is to include these fluctuations within the scheme and evade them.
Being creative is no longer a virtue but an obligation. Accordingly, investigate and delve into changes in other platforms as well as innovations regarding communication channels (apps and media coverage).
There are always better ways of reaching out to your audience. On the other hand, I’d like to emphasize that having a digital presence doesn’t mean being saturating users with information overloads, but to be only present on the channels used by your buyer persona
That is: If you have a business focused on sports supplements, most likely you should direct all marketing efforts on having a wellness blog, but when it comes to newsletters, they may be of very little help depending on the habits of your target audience.
Although it is impossible to set out for sure when all of these strategies will take effect, settle a time-frame for periodically monitoring the evolution of your digital reputation.
Some companies conduct appraisals quarterly, others every 6 months, and others for an entire year. Our recommendation in Media Coverage is to collect data according to specific criteria (CTR, impressions, engagement, etc) in a spreadsheet weekly, to have a better understanding of the evolution of strategies and then, prepare a monthly balance by relevance.
Choose which are the primary indicators for your brand. In case you have a marketing and public relations department, ask your collaborators to keep you updated to determine whether the purposes are being fulfilled or not.
Well, at this point we’ve talked about how systematized and coherent communication steps help your image, brand, and product. We also said at the beginning of the article that promotion covers a broader spectrum. That spectrum is content.
Content marketing is the fundamental communication tool
Valuable content is in charge of proportioning the appropriate response to your public relations objectives since through it you’re able to position your sites at the top of the search results, and then make the brand accessible.
That is why content marketing is the communication strategy par excellence in both the medium and long term. But even to create content you need to follow some essential parameters:
- Incite dialogue
Since your primary goal is for your brand to grow and lasts over time, you need a lot of patience and perseverance when creating articles and distributing them for obtaining the much-desired word-to-mouth.
Start by writing your articles in a conversational tone. This will let your niche know that yours is a different offer and that you are providing other types of additional values to the initial product and service. Nevertheless, the next step in this loyalty journey is to transform yourself as a leader into an expert in the field.
By now, audiences have come to know what your company is about thanks to the strategic communications held so far, but do they buy your products or services?
Again, getting an Internet user (who just logged in browsing for information) to suddenly buy something from you, you must first earn their trust. In case you ever wondered why it seems that everything that Instagram influencers and YouTubers touch turns into gold, it is because they’ve been building that bond of trust with their followers to the point of becoming true trendsetters.
- Recent studies confirm that brands that bet on influencer marketing strategy obtain 5.2x more in return than their initial investment.
Given this, I want to clarify that brands only become opinion leaders in the media when they manage to transmit their benefits at the same time as they provide useful information on internal and external platforms, obtaining user reactions.
This effect is known as Earned Media, an insurmountable tool that implies you got the attention of the press, potential customers, or even other experts.
If you’re planning on obtaining Earned Media it is necessary to combine the principles of Public Relations and marketing in one SEO tactic to appear at the top ranks without making any investment. This encompasses techniques such as backlinking and guest-posting – I’ve previously talked about What is linkbuilding pr and why should you include it in your marketing strategy this 2020.
- Omnichannel presence
This is about placing customers at the center of your message in a certain format on a website (infographics, newsletters) or via multimedia content, extending the user experience started through a specific channel, adapting it to new setups.
In the corporate field, we have great examples of that such as Buzzfeed and Bloomberg, who, in addition to their own Web content, dab in specific formats for Linkedin, Twitter, or Instagram.
Betting on a strategic communication plan entails a great number of benefits for your brand management and ultimately, for the company as a whole. You just need to determine what your initial tactic will be.
If you liked this article, don’t forget to comment and check the rest of our entries as we are constantly uploading new content about communication techniques, marketing, and Public Relations trends.
Furthermore, if you want to optimize your time and boost the image of your company with professional help, at Media Coverage we have a great team of experts ready to assume the task. You can learn more about this service in our “Pricing” section.