To master communications in today’s world is a quantum leap in your tactical approach compared to, say, ten years ago. In those days, you could create content, deploy, and pretty much guarantee your members would at least scan it.
Those days are long gone.
Karen Gehle, CEO of the Kansas Association of REALTORS®, put it like this in a recent communications update with her staff:
“We used to be able to put together an electronic newsletter, send it out and we were pretty much done. Our members knew this was where they could get good industry intel and keep up with events, education and other information to use in their business. We live in a very different world today. We aren’t only competing with other associations, our competition is technology, digital/social networks, and other sources of industry information.”
Think about a time when you were lost on the road. No idea which direction to go. Without a compass, or GPS, its frustrating, right? That’s what operating without a communications plan is like.
A Communications Director or AE without a clear answer to “What does our Association offer that’s clearly unique from our competition?” is carrying a flag of “me too” versus carrying a flag of differentiation.
An Association Executive that doesn’t formally question your status quo every so often is missing a crucial step to maintain your relevance.
Competing in the inbox or the social feed means planning, creating purposeful messages, and perspective to send relevant messages that break through the clutter.
Good communications ends with a successful event, or meeting an RPAC goal, or above industry average click rates. To succeed, a lot happens at the start:
1. A plan that keeps you focused
2. A blend of the right words to get your members to pay attention
3. Periodic reviews think about how the dots fit together
4. Tracking a few measurements to monitor your progress (and consider new ideas), and
5. Putting the right “person in the seat” to manage your association’s message and its delivery.
Whether you delegate communications or do it yourself, here’s a checklist that will help you do a thoughtful check that challenges your status quo.