Stop making professional resolutions about moving from reactive communication to proactive, strategic communication, and just do it! Start the new decade with a plan to take you and your team to the next level.
You’ve no doubt starting mapping out your communications campaigns for 2020 and all that you have to communicate in the new year, but have you thought about how you’re going to move beyond just getting the information out there and how you’re going to make it stick? 2020 is the year you start to move beyond just getting the message out and start to understand how it impacts your organization and business outcomes. Here are four things you can start doing today that will strengthen your communication strategy:
1. Join forces with business partners. Every department in your organization has information that needs to be shared and is likely being shared with or without your support. Kick off 2020 by setting up meetings with stakeholders from all departments in your organization to talk about what information is being shared and what needs to be shared going forward. Then start talking about how you’re going to partner to make it successful. Start this conversation by asking the business partner what they are trying to achieve this year, and then talk about how you want to help them achieve their goals through communication. Learn how to get stakeholder buy-in here.
2. Create an editorial calendar and stick to it. One of the most important steps you can take to move from tactical and reactive communication to strategic and proactive communication is to have a plan and share that plan with others. You know how much information employees can consume and what they will prioritize if they are overwhelmed with communication. An editorial calendar will help you share that story with stakeholders and leaders. You can help shift the timing of new initiatives or changes by showing all the other things impacting employees at any given moment. For a few tips on editorial calendars for any budget, check out this episode of ICTV.
3. Create a cadence for leadership communication. Leadership communication must be on your list of strategic initiatives for the new year. In addition to outlining what you want them to talk about and how you want them to share the message, you need to think about the consistency of that communication. Make sure leaders are committed to communicating on a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis to share information that will increase employee trust and promote transparency. Far too often leadership communication is preserved for the really important messages, but if the leader hasn’t built up any rapport or the trust with employees, that message can fall flat. When you create strategies that encourage leaders to communicate consistently and often, any message they deliver activates employees toward a common purpose. Watch this episode of ICTV for tips on how to elevate leadership comms in your organization.
4. Empower communication champions. You’ve likely tried to go it alone and that can be exhausting. Make a commitment to yourself and your team to seek help this year. This doesn’t mean you loosen the reigns and allow others to send out communication whenever and however they want to. Instead, encourage people you trust and have identified as influencers to create content and partner on brainstorming for upcoming campaigns. commit to empowering them to champion your campaigns and extend the reach and engagement of your communications campaigns. And when they help you achieve your goals, make sure their leaders know about it so they get the kudos they deserve and will likely put in the effort to support you in the future. Read this blog for more tips on empowering comms champions.
If you set these four tactics in motion in the first quarter of 2020, you will be able to truly dedicate the rest of the year to creating killer content that engages and activates your audience. This activation is key because it leads to achieving business outcomes, which is where you get to show your true, strategic value to your organization.