A brand – even if it’s your personal one – without a communications strategy is a bit like a ship without a captain, sailing blindly to some unknown destination with no clear plan of how to get there or what direction to take.

And, just like a sCommunications Strategyhip sailing into unknown waters, your brand may run aground or hit an obstruction and sink. Devising a well-defined communications strategy will provide you with a clear picture of the direction that you’d like your brand to take and, moreover, what steps you should be taking in order to get there.

Your strategy doesn’t have to involve countless spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations with convoluted charts and graphs, either. You can start with something as simple as an editorial or social media calendar, and build your plan from there.

Brands do not exist in a vacuum. In other words, in order to survive and be sustainable and, most favorably, profitable, a business needs to have some sort of reciprocal relationship with its target market. Communication, as I’m sure you know, is the bedrock of any relationship. Whether through marketing campaigns, online advertising, targeted press releases or customer feedback surveys, there is always some flow of communication between brands and their various publics.

Below, I’ve provided a step-by-step guide to building your communications strategy.

Step 1: Define your audience by creating a brand persona

I can’t stress the importance of this step enough (hence the fact that it’s numero uno).

The logic is pretty simple: if you know who your clients are, you are able to tailor your messages so that they are appealing and relatable to your intended audience.

Think about what your ideal client might look like, their likes and dislikes, level of education, language preferences, age, type of work that they do and what social media channels they’re active on. Give them a name and a personality and write your strategy around these traits.

Below, I’ve provided a very basic example of a brand persona document for a manufacturer of security equipment. As you can see, I’ve given this fictitious client a name and even a brief bio. You can base your own brand persona on my example.

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Step 2: Select your media

One may be tempted to adopt the shotgun approach to marketing and just blast your content

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across all available channels. However, this often turns out to be a waste of time and resources as certain channels might not be a good fit for your target audience. Social media marketing isn’t a case of one size fits all.

Spend some time

 

researching which channels your audience is most active on, and focus your marketing efforts on those channels.

Some platforms to consider are:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Some of these channels, and Facebook in particular, have extremely robust targeting options that enable marketers to only target specific regions and users with specific interests, for example gadgets, technology, digital marketing, etc.

Draw up a communications calendar

Consistency is key to maintaining a good brand presence online.

Once you’ve decided on which channels to target, set up a basic calendar that outlines which brand messages you’ll Communications calendarbe communication on which days. You can drill down even further and stipulate at which times you’ll be posting. This is especially useful for Twitter campaigns where you may want to do multiple tweets throughout the day.

If you own and run a blog, a great way to ensure posting consistency is to make use of an automated posting service such as the brilliant Hootsuite, which allows you to create and schedule future-dated posts.

Posted by Charl Mijnhardt

Charl Mijnhardt is an established freelance writer with a special interest in wellness and mental health. He is also an experienced technical writer with many years' experience writing for the security industry. He currently lives in South Africa with his wife, Nastasia, and his cat, Gizmo. Hire him to write engaging copy for your website, blog, e-book, newsletter or marketing communications.

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