For media professionals, the daily hustle of the 24-hour news cycle can distract from the long-term planning required to maintain a thriving and healthy communication plan. But an investment in your organizational health today will set you up for success all year long.
Below I’ve outlined a few steps to tidy up your organizational communications:
1. Crunch the data: If your metrics data lives in an unread spreadsheet, you’re doing it wrong. Pull all the final metrics data from the previous year, broken down by month, and do some critical analysis. Look for trends and possible explanations that will help you develop a new strategy for the year going forward. For example, don’t just look at the raw number of placements or media hits garnered. Instead, examine the diversity, quality and circulation of the media outlets regularly picking up your work. This level of analysis will allow you to create a relevant media target list so your organization’s work can reach a new level of exposure and influence.
2. Reevaluate your communication channels: Just because your organization has been producing a quarterly print newsletter for the last decade doesn’t mean it should be a part of your strategy going forward. Make a list of all your outgoing communications and ask if there are cheaper or better ways to reach your members. If your “weekly roundup” emails have a low open rate, consider repackaging the information in a new way or designing a special email header to attract attention. If your robocalls are getting more complaints than connections, maybe try a text message service. More communication is not always better.
3. Examine your social footprint: There is value in having an account and a presence on multiple social platforms – mainly better SEO results. But the added visibility is meaningless if those accounts are lacking. Be honest about which social platforms fit within your organization’s mission and what audience you are trying to reach. Posting policy infographics on Pinterest, for example, won’t get you very far. It takes time and effort to manage an account that successfully cultivates a growing audience. Content must be packaged separately to meet the individual needs of each platform. Cut the social accounts that aren’t adding value to your organization and instead spend the added time on the platforms you strategically choose to engage in.
4. Strengthen your brand: When an organization is created, the mission and vision are clear. But over time, as new projects are introduced and staff changes are made, the brand can become muted or diminished. To return your organization to its roots, start by cleaning up and centralizing any microsites that may be outdated. You can still promote new campaigns and programs, but make sure everything is credited to and links back to your main operational website. If you have state chapters, make sure there is consistent branding in name, logo, and color scheme across all operations and platforms. If you have a large staff to manage, consider implementing a style guide across the organization to ensure all standards are met.
Mary Ellen Beatty is the Senior Communications Consultant at Cc: External Affairs. She can be reached at MaryEllen@ccexternalaffairs.com.