Strategic Communications Understand that Timing is Everything

Posted on Feb 29, 2016 | 0 comments

strategic communications planning, internal communications strategy, communications calendar,

Strategic Communications Understand that Timing is Everything

Time. It’s Enemy Number One when it comes developing your thoughtfully integrated communications strategy.

Think about it. How long would it take to create a communications plan that:

  • aligns your key messages with activities and trends in the real world;
  • allows you enough time to stagger a series of thoughtfully orchestrated messages across multiple touch points; and
  • doesn’t overwhelm you with its complexity, making you throw your hands up in defeat before you even get started?

With so many priorities to communicate to your employees and so many options for distribution, the mere planning of a communications strategy can feel like more work than the actual execution of the plan itself.

We’ve helped our clients get out from behind the reactive curve of communications with a few simple practices that hinge primarily on the simple use of a communications calendar.

If you’ve been reading along with our series on strategic communications, you’ll know that we help clients assess past performance, prioritize future goals, and set metrics to help them communicate strategically with their employees.

All of this thinking and planning is for naught, however, if we aren’t sharing key messages with employees on a consistent basis.

If you’re having trouble staying ahead of the communications curve and find yourself missing key opportunities to tie valuable employer programs and benefits to trends in the real world, you’re likely winging it and could benefit strongly from the creation of a simple communications calendar.

Here’s how we help clients prepare a full year’s worth of key messages to keep the conversations going with their employees:

  • Pick your top five or six priorities for the year. Messages related to these priorities go into your calendar first.
  • Align your priorities with trends in the real world where possible. There’s no need for you to create all of the momentum and enthusiasm around weight loss programs when the New Year trends in the headlines will do that for you!
  • Work backwards: think about how many impressions you’ll need to make before employees start to register a need to engage with your offer. Will you need to send four emails over a four week period? Start at the end date of your campaign, with action deadlines and other key dates in mind, and work your way backwards towards your start date.
  • Use an actual calendar to keep track of your goals – it’s not enough to say that you want to do something this year, you need to write it down, block out time to make it happen, and protect that time with your life. If communications really is a priority then you have to defend it against all the other demands of your job.
  • Make it a practice. Check in with your calendar weekly at a minimum. Be mindful that you should be working a few weeks or months ahead to make sure you’re sending out finished messages in a timely manner.

The beauty of doing such monotonous work – like creating a communications calendar – is that it becomes so much easier to implement.

With all of your communications needs scheduled neatly into one central repository, your brain becomes freed up to handle impromptu requests without dropping the ball and missing out on opportunities to connect with employees about timely issues you’ve worked so hard to help them resolve.

The deepest value of these sorts of systems is that they help you have timely, authentic, valuable conversations with your employees on a consistent basis.

And that is the real secret to empowering an engaged, happy and productive workforce.

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