It’s easy to get swept up in the “new year, new me” energy that is a hallmark of the first few months of every calendar year.
For individuals, that can translate to new gym memberships, plans to spend more time volunteering and vows to finally clean out the garage. For companies looking to step up their communications, it can translate to new marketing hires, revamped social media strategies and vows to finally clean up the mediocre corporate logo.
IF your team is starting off the new year with a resolution to freshen up the company’s communications, here are a few tips to help:
One bite at a time
A surefire way to ensure the process is overwhelming, unenjoyable and, to top it all off, probably doesn’t have great results is to try to take on everything — and all at once, to boot.
There might be lots of things you’d like to update in your marketing and communications approach, but remember that old piece of advice:
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
Sure, your goals might include improving investor relations communications, reviving the dormant company newsletter, exploring marketing automation, establishing relationships with the newest reporters in town, finally jumping into TikTok and who knows what else.
These are all, potentially, strategic and worthwhile goals. Pacing yourself will help you elevate the company communications without running out of time, interest, patience or budget.
Take stock of the situation
Before jumping in with a “we’re changing everything!” approach or just chasing after the first shiny thing that demands attention, it pays to spend a little time taking stock of your communications landscape and setting priorities.
Where do your communications really shine? Does your team get lots of feedback about its webinars or the quality of its annual reports? These might be areas that don’t need any special attention right now. But maybe your email blasts have really low open rates or your social media engagement leaves a lot to be desired? Bingo!
Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of your most important stakeholder groups, from the customers to the corporate C-suite, investors to influencers. Don’t know what their priorities are? Ask, whether that’s through a water-cooler conversation, a user survey or a town hall meeting.
It can be helpful to conduct an audit of all communications — the channels, products, tactics, strategies and more, to help you compare and prioritize. It need not be a daunting and formal process, just a way to review everything you’ve got happening and create a plan.
There are various ways to approach it. You could, for example, do a SWOT analysis to evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats faced by the company. Or you could use a triage approach of sorts – which projects or needs must be dealt with right away, which can be shelved till later and which, well, should be let go?
If you’d like to dig in deeper on where to start, check out Vehr’s “New Year Marketing and Communications Assessment” guide. It provides more detailed advice on how to revamp your marketing and branding, media relations, social media, crisis preparedness, website and more.
Don’t forget to enjoy the ride
Last but not least, remember to have some fun. This is an opportunity to get creative, brainstorm interesting ideas, take the pulse of your customers, learn new ways to tackle old problems and communicate more effectively than ever. Why not enjoy the process?