I am the Principal of TML Communications, a strategic public relations and crisis communications firm.
As the founder of a public relations firm, I know the value of effective communication and a comprehensive strategy. It is now more important than ever to have a clear communications strategy during these unprecedented times due to COVID-19.
Here are the five keys to an effective communication plan:
- Hire professional communications support.
In our experience at TML Communications, organizations of all sizes can benefit from outside professional communications support. We have worked with startups and Fortune 500 companies on strategic public relations, crisis communications, and other services.
A professional communications firm offers key relationships with the media, a valuable independent perspective and provides an objective analysis to the client. A familiar and working relationship with the media can often be the difference in whether a story gets published or whether a television interview takes place.
Also, the independent perspective and objectivity that an outside firm provides can be critical to the success of a project or ongoing campaign. Public relations firms can typically be retained for a period or hired on a project basis.
- Determine your communication objectives.
Every communications project should begin with an analysis of the desired goals. Depending on the client, this may include securing media placements, strategic help to navigate a public relations crisis, raising brand awareness, or engaging the community to support a project or initiative.
Recently, we worked with Door Dash on developing the strategy and execution of a community engagement plan to achieve their goals.
- Know your target audience
One of the most critical factors to developing an effective communications plan is choosing the target audience. Some clients may be targeting for example, men ages 18-30, while another client may target adults 18-45, with an annual income over $75,000.
Knowing the target audience is also vital to choosing which media placements would be effective in reaching that demographic.
- Have a social media strategy.
In this environment with very few, or no, in-person meetings due to COVID-19, having the correct social media strategy is very important.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are key tools to communicate with your audience. However, choosing the right content to post and share is increasingly difficult when trying to cut through the noise on those platforms.
For that reason, the content strategy is the most important consideration when relying on social media to drive a communications plan. Knowing which content to post is nearly as important as the time of day, or the frequency of the posts, to ensure your audience views and engages with it.
- After you identify all the assets, execute the communications plan.
After hiring a firm, determining your goals, choosing a target audience, and ensuring a content driven social media strategy, there is one final step to complete — execution.
A plan is only as good as the team that executes. At our firm, we believe in using innovation as a final pillar in how we get the work done for clients. The injection of new ideas and paths to achieve the goals of the client are what separate the failed plan from the successful one.
As John D. Rockefeller said, “it requires a better type of mind to seek out and to support or create the new than to follow the worn paths of accepted success.” (Random Reminiscences of Men and Events, chapter VI, 1908 first published, 2005 eBook) See link here.
I am hopeful these tips help you create a new path forward.
Teresa M. Lundy is the Principal and Founder of TML Communications, a strategic public relations, crisis communications and community engagement firm serving corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The firm has served clients including DoorDash, Lyft and the Reform Alliance.