As a communications consultant, I often talk to clients about strategy, but don’t often have the chance to help them “start fresh”. So I thought I’d share this — six principles that I would advocate when running the communications function.
1. Sync up the message. If everyone in your company is out there with their own message, they might as well be working for themselves. When the core message is synced up across all communications and everyone knows it, those individuals become a team, and magnify the power of each interaction.
2. Act like media. The company has people and communities to meet, reach and influence, every day. How will we do that? Where? When? In many cases, the website can be a central hub for communications that engage the market through site features, blogs, newsletters, video/audio, and RSS.
3. Listen…and share. When I was a young intern at a Fortune 500 company, the PR department did a daily news roundup on paper that went across the executive ranks. There are more media and conversations to watch, but tracking it is easier than ever — but the task is being left to individuals. Mix up news alerts, RSS feeds, email and website, and you’re there — or pay a modest fee for a media/social media tracking service.
4. Listen…and share part 2 — web analytics. While SEO is front and center in the mind of marketing, web analytics seems to be far less so — at least in the B2B world where I spend most of my time. I’d want to know what’s being seen on the website, who’s using it, and how marketing and communications tactics impact web traffic and, where possible, leads. And I’d share the data.
5. Audit and adapt. What’s working? What’s not? What does everyone say “we really should be doing” but we’re not? If strategies and tactics are working, we keep them strong. If they aren’t, they should be phased out, and replaced with what we really should be doing.
6. Measure, but don’t be ruled by measurement. Anecdotes can be effective. The press release that generated a lead that led to a big sale may never have generated single clip or pushed more than a dozen people to the website, but it worked. The article linked on an obscure blog that caught the eye of the guy the VP sat next to on the airplane and turned into marketing partnership was a blip on the radar…but it worked. Listen to the people on the front lines — in sales, business development, and service. Collect statistics and anecdotes.
Not every thing you do leads directly to sales, but it all should drive the business forward.