Being strategic is more than a regular schedule of reporting news items, distributing press releases and Instagram images. If you want to be more strategic in your approach here are seven activities and processes that are part of mastering Strategic Communications:
1. Strategic communications begin with a belief that communications are a business asset. The leaders recognize an issue, through member research or through an intuitive finding (the feeling that members are not engaged, interested, or responding to your communications).
2. Begins with top level communications goals: Start your plan with the end in sight. Step one clearly lays out what the plan will accomplish. Every association’s goals will be different. Here’s a real association example:
3. Understands the most important member groups: While every member group is important, strategic communications focus on a few, very important member segments. The theory is that if communications can satisfy two or three key audiences’ needs or preferences, the organization will be able to reach many other member segments as well.
4. Is a formal, documented process including a practical written plan: The plan is deliberate, current, and is the communicators’ roadmap. It’s foundation includes specific messaging that answers ‘why you matter to your members’. Thinking about and documenting a plan is good. A thought-out system that you use every day (along with benchmarks) is even better. It’s akin to the CFO’s role in managing money through a series of key documents (and not making it up as they go along).
5. Includes gathering feedback — on a regular basis — that helps you trust but verify what members think is most important and useful. For example, you can have the best market data in the industry, but if members don’t use it because it isn’t flexible enough to translate into a listing presentation, the data ends up as a page on your website that no one will visit. (This feedback is essential.)
6. All of your leaders and key staff people know how, and actively relay your value to members. You deliver a unified message every time your President, Communications Director, and Member Services staff person interacts with a member.
7. Moves forward towards optimized communications. This is an effective scale to evaluate the maturity of your communications strategy today.
To learn more about Strategic Communications:
– View an infographic of a Strategic Communications Approach
– For other promising communications practices, visit this blog post
– If we can help you review your communications or get a start on your plan, please send us a note and we can get the conversation started! firstname.lastname@example.org.