A communications campaign is only as good as its plan. So, whether you are drafting a memo, responding to an email message from a customer, or developing a major outreach campaign that will last for several months, the time you spend planning these communications can make the difference between success and a missed opportunity.
Here’s a list of the most frequently overlooked elements.
When you are developing a campaign, make sure to determine what you are communicating and what you want to accomplish. For example, are you announcing a new service to your customers or are you seeking feedback? Are you asking people to make a decision or take action? A good strategy should always have concise messages that capture the essential themes of a campaign.
Do your homework. I can’t stress this enough. It’s important to understand your audience(s), and then think about what you’ve learned. Some questions to keep in mind include: How much do the audience members already know about my topic? Do they need background information? If they are being asked to take action, how difficult will it be for them?
Use concise language to tailor your messages. Keep it simple, avoid jargon, and include references where readers can get more details on your campaign.
Brand preference? Getting business leads? Increasing web traffic? Whatever your desired outcomes are, define what success means beyond just increasing your reach.
At the start of your campaign, before you spend any money, develop a plan for evaluating your program. I’ve learned that if you plan evaluation early, you will know what information you need as you go along and will save time and money in collecting data.
Websites, blogs, social networks, analytic services, online surveys and polls allow you to collect quantitative data, or a numerical result. Qualitative data reveals more about the effects of a campaign. For example, the number of newspaper articles mentioning your company is a quantitative measure. The way your company was mentioned in the newspaper articles is a qualitative measure. Qualitative measures are helpful in determining what is working and what can be improved.