Laura Petrolino

Business Spring Cleaning: Communications Strategy Success

By: Laura Petrolino | April 3, 2017 | 

Business Spring Cleaning: Communications Strategy SuccessLast week we talked about cleaning up your website, the week before your social channels, and now we dive into your communications strategy.

A communications strategy is a map.

You have your starting point (benchmarks) and your destination (goals).

The journey from point A to point b can vary greatly.

Which is why you must consistently check  your Google Map (pr metrics) to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

Your spring cleaning effort should be looked at as a rest stop to evaluate your communications strategy journey and make adjustments in either the direction or the vehicle you use (or both).

Legal Money Laundering: PESO Spring Clean

The only type of legal money laundering!

Seriously, I crack myself up. Money laundering. PESO. Get it? Right? You guys!!!!!

Ok, moving on. So let’s break our clean-up by media type.

Communications Strategy Clean-up: Owned Media

Owned media takes time and effort.

And, for the most part, it requires a certain level of full organizational buy-in.

This is why it’s so important you constantly monitor the value your owned media strategy provides.

Your content strategy dictates both the direction and the objectives of your earned, paid, and shared strategies.

And likewise, these distribution strategies—through paid media (increased reach), earned media (increased awareness), and shared media (increased distribution) allow owned media to be effective.

I always like to say it’s the alpha and omega of a communications strategy.

A couple of weeks ago Gini Dietrich wrote a great series on the future of owned media and included  owned media metrics you should track.

This data is where you need to start to determine if your owned media efforts are doing what they should, and if not where you are missing the mark.

Remember: Your communications strategy should drive revenue for your organization.

If it’s not, you need to rethink where you spend your time and how you view communications and PR in context of your business operations.

Communications Strategy Clean-up: Shared Media

Start with the social media clean-up from a couple of weeks ago.

This will clue you into areas where your social media might not be consistent or properly integrated with the rest of your communications strategy.

The next biggest area where social efforts often fall short is the lack of clear objectives for each channel and goals for social media efforts as a whole.

Ask yourself:

What your goal for social media overall?

These could be things such as:

  • Engage brand ambassadors to further distribute your message;
  • Drive “warm” leads to your owned content and particular landing pages for subsequent nurturing;
  • Connect with influencers;
  • Moderate a discussion around a certain topic; or
  • Cultivate a community.

And then you need to put measurable numbers in place around those goals.

How does each channel contribute to those goals?

  • Who does each channel talk to? For example we have some clients who use Facebook for consumer communication and LinkedIn/Twitter for B2B outreach. It’s often useful to build a persona map for each channel and then include any variations in voice based on this to your personality document.
  • What is the objective of each channel? Customer service? Lead generation? Community engagement? Make sure you know, because this will effect your tactics and social content calendar.

How does social integrate with the rest of your efforts?

  • Paid (both email marketing and paid social)
  • Earned (really look closely and influencer relations here)
  • Owned (consistency in messaging and platforms is often overlooked here, as well as the how, why, and what of social referral traffic).

Finally, remember social is almost always going to be part of a buyer’s journey.

It might start the journey.

It might be some where in the middle.

Evaluate how it affects that path.

Communications Strategy Clean-Up: Earned Media

When we look at earned media success, we evaluate three things:

  • Brand awareness: Through placement in a publication our target customer is reading
  • SEO: With the use of a targeted keyword as an anchor to link back to the site from a high-authority influencer site.
  • Lead generation: Referred leads are sent to owned content, which provide additional educational content and contains a call to action.

(We teach this process, how to integrate earned and owned in this way, and how to generate success in all three prongs in The Modern Blogging Masterclass).

Evaluate your earned media strategy based on those goals as well.

One of the biggest problem PR pros struggle with when it comes to earned media (well in addition to bad media pitching) is how to track success.

As you do your spring clean, look at the three prongs of earned media outlined above and evaluate how (or if) you measure those things.

You might not have your communications strategy set-up to evaluate PR metrics in this way.

And that’s ok. That’s why you are scrubbing your communications strategy clean in the first place.

Communications Strategy Clean-Up: Paid Media

Integration is key for paid media.

Whether email marketing and email drip campaigns, paid social, sponsored content, or lead generation through content behind landing pages; paid media will be utterly unsuccessful if it isn’t done through an integrated plan.

The two most important things to evaluate here are:

  • Buyers journey. Both before (lead generation) and after (lead nurturing) prospects sign-up through a landing page or provide their email in some way.
  • Consistency and value (as they move through that buyer’s journey).

Whew….that’s a lot!

You’ll notice I included a lot of links in this piece.

That’s because they all provide additional information to help you through this process or dig in deeper to an element where you might be struggling.

This is the most time consuming part of the spring clean-up, but definitely time well spent.

Let’s start this next quarter off on a more successful foot.

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.