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 Waze (PR metrics) to make sure you are both headed in the right direction and taking the best course.

Think about how relieved you are when Waze saves you endless time and stress by telling you there is construction ahead—or a cop. Your PR metrics do the same for your communications strategy.

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 of the vehicle you use (or both).

This is more true now than ever. Think about how radically the way we work, live, and communicate has changed in the last month(s). Your communications strategy needs to change, too.

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

OK, moving on. 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, earned, and shared media allow owned media to be effective.

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

This is a great list of 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 the 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’s 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 affect 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 somewhere 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 as part of the PESO Model Certification.)

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:

  • Buyer’s 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.

It’s been a rough end to the quarter. give yourself the time and tools to regroup and plot out the communications strategy you need to move forward.

Want help to learn the tools and skills to create, execute, and scale a communications strategy that drives revenue? Look no further than the PESO Model Certification.


Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino