#CommsforGood: 10 ways to improve your communications strategy

Are you currently developing, reviewing or delivering a nonprofit communications strategy? If you’re thinking about the type of strategy you need, check out these tips. If you’re looking to take your communications strategy to the next level of effectiveness, consider the 10 tips below. They’re all sourced from a Gaurdian article on the importance of communication in aid work and how to get it right.

1. People engage best with people, not abstract issues

Use case studies, testimonials and human interest stories to illustrate your issue in a real, accessible and relevant way.

2. Communicate the difference people can make

Rather than only focusing on the negative aspects of the problem, show that it is possible to address the problem and communicate what each audience member can do to help address it.

3. Find a private sector partner

Find an influential company that can act as your champion, so it can push your cause among peers.

4. Strategic communications can change policy

Aim for policy change by advocating for your cause in the media and amongst politicians. Policy change is one of the most tangible ways to achieve your social development goals. For example, the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report team engaged with Pakistani press and politicians to advocate for education in the country. This contributed to the Government finding more funds for education and passing the free education bill.

5. Monitor everything

Speaking of monitoring, continually monitoring your progress and impact can help you generate a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not. You will then be able to make informed and effective adjustments to your strategy and use the positive monitoring data for stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

6. Know your audience

By clearly identifying your audience and understanding their behaviours, you can tailor your strategy and messages to best suit their needs.

7. Shift from compassion to solidarity campaigning

Move from convincing your audience to feel sorry for those you are helping, to working together with those in need to improve our shared world. Move your audience from focusing on pity to championing empowerment; from “it’s sad, but I have my own problems” to “we’re all in this together.”

8. Select the relevant data

Data is essential for transparency and evidence-based advocacy. With that said, ensure that you use the right data that is consistent with your strategy and messages, to ensure maximum impact.

9. Do more with less by being inventive

If you’re a small NGO lacking in resources, you’ll want to remember this tip. Work with freelancers and pro bono communications specialists, and organize competitions among students to generate content. Leverage free social media platforms and strategic partnerships that are cost-effective.

10. Listen to people on the ground

Talk with the people you are working with and serving in your project sites. Listen to them to understand what the real problems/needs are. Then together with them, incorporate this feedback into your communications strategy. This will ensure that your strategy can be as effective and relevant as possible for your these top-priority stakeholders.

Looking to improve your content marketing? Try these 5 research-based actions

As content marketing steadily becomes more popular and relevant, you or your organization may have decided to invest in the marketing approach, or at least try it out.

But maybe content marketing hasn’t garnered the results you had hoped for, or maybe you’re looking to take your content marketing to the next level. What should you do?

Writing for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) blog, Lisa Murton Beets shares 5 research-based actions to improve your content marketing. Read the full article here or the summary below.

1. Focus on building an audience

It will be very difficult to achieve sustainable marketing impact – or any real impact for that matter – without a loyal, reliable and engaged audience. Focus on audience development, including securing more subscribers for your newsletters, blogs and updates. Beets says:

“Check how your numbers look versus one year ago. Can you tie subscriber growth directly to individual content marketing initiatives? Do you have solid audience personas so you target the right people?”

She also points out that you should “evaluate how your audience is nurtured once they subscribe to your content.”

2. Get better at content creation to boost overall success

Beets highlights that respondents to a CMI annual content marketing survey cited higher quality and more efficient content creation as the biggest contributor to increased content marketing success over the previous year.

She adds: “Assess the health of your content planning and creation machine. Are ideas flowing and captured? … Are topics organized in an editorial calendar?”

3. Streamline your workflow

Beets writes: “…one of the key differences our research found between top-performing content marketers and their less successful peers is that top performers have a better handle on their workflow… If you’re challenged with content-creation bottlenecks, face the workflow issues head on.”

4. Set realistic expectations about what content marketing can achieve

“Ask if your goals are realistic based on factors such as the size of your organization, its overall goals, management commitment, the nature of your industry and audience, total addressable market, competitive landscape, and available resources,” says Beets.

5. Make a commitment to content marketing and stick with it

You won’t achieve sustainable content marketing success without strong individual, team and organizational commitment in the long term.

“If commitment isn’t strong in your organization, ask why. Who can you talk with to change this?” says Beets.

Read Beets’ full article for tips on how to get buy-in for content marketing.

Tips for building a global network of communicators

Do you work for an organization that has offices in different national, regional or global locations? If so, chances are that those offices have individuals or teams carrying out communications tasks.

If organizations do not employ the right strategies, these dispersed communications activities may significantly diminish the impact of your organization’s internal and external communications, as messages and strategies may be unaligned and inconsistent.

The key to mitigating this risk  and enhancing the effectiveness of all communications activities is not only developing a strong communications strategy, but building a strong network of communicators. The CEB Marketing & Communications blog shares some tips for doing this, including appointing local ambassadors, convening monthly calls, holding monthly or quarterly masterclasses, creating a virtual collaborative space, and running a mentor or buddy scheme. Read more

Image: dirkb86, Flickr Creative Commons

 

10 ways to improve your communications strategy

Are you currently developing, reviewing or delivering your nonprofit communications strategy? If you’re thinking about the type of strategy you need, why not start here. If your looking to take your communications strategy to the next level of effectiveness, consider the 10 tips below. They are all sourced from a Gaurdian article on the importance of communication in aid work and how to get it right.

1. People engage best with people, not abstract issues

Use case studies, testimonials and human interest stories to illustrate your issue in a real, accessible and relevant way.

2. Communicate the difference people can make

Rather than only focusing on the negative aspects of the problem, show that it is possible to address the problem and communicate what each audience member can do to help address it.

3. Find a private sector partner

Find an influential company that can act as your champion, so it can push your cause among peers.

4. Strategic communications can change policy

Aim for policy change by advocating for your cause in the media and amongst politicians. Policy change is one of the most tangible ways to achieve your social development goals. For example, the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report team engaged with Pakistani press and politicians to advocate for education in the country. This contributed to the Government finding more funds for education and passing the free education bill.

5. Monitor everything

Speaking of monitoring, continually monitoring your progress and impact can help you generate a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not. You will then be able to make informed and effective adjustments to your strategy and use the positive monitoring data for stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

6. Know your audience

By clearly identifying your audience and understanding their behaviours, you can tailor your strategy and messages to best suit their needs.

7. Shift from compassion to solidarity campaigning

Move from convincing your audience to feel sorry for those you are helping, to working together with those in need to improve our shared world. Move your audience from focusing on pity to championing empowerment; from “it’s sad, but I have my own problems” to “we’re all in this together.”

8. Select the relevant data

Data is essential for transparency and evidence-based advocacy. With that said, ensure that you use the right data that is consistent with your strategy and messages, to ensure maximum impact.

9. Do more with less by being inventive

If you’re a small NGO lacking in resources, you’ll want to remember this tip. Work with freelancers and pro bono communications specialists, and organize competitions among students to generate content. Leverage free social media platforms and strategic partnerships that are cost-effective.

10. Listen to people on the ground

Talk with the people you are working with and serving in your project sites. Listen to them to understand what the real problems/needs are. Then together with them, incorporate this feedback into your communications strategy. This will ensure that your strategy can be as effective and relevant as possible for your these top-priority stakeholders.

Featured photo: Marc Wathieu, Flickr Creative Commons