We’re still right at the start of a new year. Possibilities for your business stretch out in front of you right now, and it’s the time to set big goals to strive toward. If you haven’t already, it’s also the perfect time to sit down and get serious about a communications plan and editorial calendar for 2021.
Don’t close your browser. We know that with so many things on your plate in the first few weeks of the year, you’re likely scoffing at adding one more. But this is crucial. At our Orlando marketing agency, we see it too often with businesses. If there’s no plan set, communications get bumped and bumped again for other items. Doing the thought time up front means it’s not a monumental task chasing you throughout the year. And with a plan, you can leverage communications as a pillar to reach your overall business goals.
But where to start? Developing a winning communications strategy for your business in 2021 doesn’t have to be a painful, time consuming or even formal process. Here are a few easy steps you can take now to create one.
Understand your goals.
You likely set goals for your business already. Perhaps you want to hit a certain revenue number, complete a certain number of projects or attain a certain number of new clients. How can communications support that? A few examples of communications goals could be increasing your number of social media followers, consistently sending out a monthly newsletter to prospects, attaining a certain reach on earned media hits or producing a certain number of pieces of sales collateral. Think about your overall goals, and set communications goals to help you along the way.
Add some context.
Now would be a perfect time to involve your PR agency if you have one. Your agency has a lot of practice at looking at goals and setting effective strategies to help get there, and they can really add value at this point rather than later. In addition, you will want to add some context to your plan. Pull out your latest SWOT analysis. Is there anything you can learn there that can inform your plan? Do some research on your competitors. What are they putting into the marketplace? Are there any winning strategies you can adapt? You can jot down a few notes here or tweak your goals.
Start thinking tactics.
How will you reach your goals? If you want to send out a monthly newsletter, for instance, think through a few things. Who will be responsible for this? Who will you target, and do you have an email list? What do you want to say? What will it look like? While you’re fleshing out the process, you might also come up with a few sub-goals to add to your list.
Set the editorial calendar.
Much of your communications strategy will likely be driven by news, or your editorial calendar. To start to develop this, think about some of the business milestones you’re expecting this year. Perhaps your business has a big anniversary year on the horizon. Or, maybe you know that your huge project will top out in June. Put a few stakes in the ground on an editorial calendar, even if it’s just an estimate. This will allow your entire team and marketing agency to better plan and prepare to implement the communications strategy around these events. Next, brainstorm other content ideas. Again, you can refer to industry leaders and competitors, or turn internally to things you’ve been hearing or seeing. Maybe you want to implement a monthly staff spotlight to go out in that email newsletter or on social media. You don’t have to fill in every slot right now, so there’s plenty of room to pivot later. Add your editorial calendar to your communications plan.
Get going, and analyze.
Now that you know what you want to do and what you want to say, put everything in motion. Start executing on your plan, but don’t forget a key step: reflection. You might not see the needle move immediately (don’t quit just yet!) but after you run your plan for a bit, take a look to see what’s working and what you might need to tweak. Don’t forget to celebrate success.
It’s never to late to set a communications plan and start leveraging this important piece of your business. Having a plan in place sets you up for success.
Need a little help? At our Orlando PR agency, we’ve been thinking strategically for businesses for more than 15 years and can help you set a plan in motion. Give Will a call at (407) 462-2718 or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.