Keelie Haner

Keelie Haner

Vice President, Agency Operations

Five Tips for Crafting Your Communications Strategy

September 26, 2016

Whether it’s for your organization, a specific project or a big event, your communications strategy is your roadmap. It defines where you are going and explains how you are going to get there, ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goal.

Here a few tips to consider as you begin to craft your communications strategy that will help keep you on the road to success. We’ll be using a few examples along the way from an indoor tanning campaign we worked on with Nebraska Cancer Coalition in 2014.

1. Define your goal and be specific.
Goals are the long-term, overall changes you wish to cause. Outline your goal(s) in specific terms.

For example: Educate Nebraska girls, ages 13–18, and their parents, on the dangers of indoor tanning to reduce the number of young women who tan indoors.

2. Choose your objectives and how you will measure success.
Together, your objectives should form a clear picture of exactly what you are trying to do.

Objectives should be achievable and measureable. Communications strategies are to be executed, evaluated and refined. If your objectives are not measureable, you cannot build on your successes and revise where you were less successful.

Based on the example goal above, some objectives may be that during a two-month campaign period:

  • The website receives 200 unique hits
  • 100 people will pledge online to no longer tan indoors
  • 50 users will submit contest entries via Instagram and Twitter

3. Evaluate your available resources.
Resources come in many forms: budgets, partnerships, staff, data, technology, time, media, skills, etc.

What do you have? What are you missing? What are the constraints you must work within? Yes, there will always be constraints. That’s part of the fun!

Data – melanoma statistics and indoor tanning statistics

Media – website, Twitter, Instagram, MailChimp

Partnerships – local dermatologists, young melanoma cancer survivors willing to be spokespersons

4. Know your audiences.
Who needs to hear your message? Your primary audience may seem fairly easy to identify. From our example, the primary audience is Nebraska girls, ages 13 to 18, and their parents.

But, to whom are they listening? Which audiences can help you share your message? Who are the influencers? These secondary audiences are also important.

Continuing our examples, teen girls are:

  • Interested in fashion and trends.
  • Most engaged on Instagram.
  • Responsive to their peers.
  • Not thinking about the long-term consequences of indoor tanning.

5. Inspire action.

Seek to engage your audiences and move them to action. At Emspace, we believe making change happen isn’t just about buying airtime or billboards —it’s about building and cultivating relationships, connecting the dots and engaging people.

In our example scenario, moving the audience to action included inspiring them to take a pledge on the website, which they could share on social media. We incentivized them with a contest to create and share a selfie with a custom hashtag, which reinforced the campaign theme.

With a completed communications strategy roadmap in hand, you will be ready to set out on your journey. If you need to make any new decisions along the way, weigh them against the benchmarks that you have established. Document your journey as you go and have fun!


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