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13 November 2013

Get a jump on 2014

The end of the year is coming fast. Once you complete a few last projects you can do the communications happy dance through Christmas and New Year to celebrate your success. But wait, don’t start dancing just yet. Think about what January is going to look like – employee kickoff communications, external campaigns - you’ll be right back in execution mode with little time for planning.

What better time than now to get a head start on creating your communications plan for 2014? Here are a few steps we recommend to start you on your way. 

Assess, Plan, Share 
Assess the past year’s results. What stories, campaigns and channels worked well to result in a positive outcome? Use your measurement tools to assess results. Plan your strategic communications for 2014, based on the company’s business objectives. Then review and update your key messages – they’ll be the backbone of your communication activity for next year. Share. We realize this seems obvious, but sometimes it doesn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Share results and planning; engage leaders, managers and content experts in the communications plan. It’s a critical driver of business success.

Tools and Tactics
Time to consider a few activities to help you achieve your plan. Develop a calendar and schedule the news and stories you plan to tell. You should have lots of material - product launches, expansion activities, new or improved service offerings and maybe special thought leadership campaigns around an industry trend.

Odds are you’ll revise this as the year progresses, but you’ll benefit from the initial structure and stay focused. It also helps your internal partners in their planning, if they understand the communications process and timing. Review and identify external opportunities to position your spokesperson as an expert, by participating in an event or contributing an article or feature story for your company. This can also feed your social media content.

What are the industry trends? What can your company spokespeople or bloggers contribute? What does your audience want to know? Put these in your calendar – make a column for opportunities. Case studies are still golden, and there are so many great ways to share them across digital channels too. You know the products and activities launched this year; the commercial team has the orders, so revisit or develop your list now.

Starting the process and getting your customers on board to tell their story and yours, months in advance, helps with their planning too. Remember your website. It’s a constantly accessible and often under-utilized resource. Many companies still rely heavily on press releases and are slowly finding the right voice for their website and social media. While press releases are an important ingredient in your B2B PR mix, develop short compelling stories & blogs, post videos, quotes or photos. By ensuring this content is optimized for search engines, you have a platform to spread your news.




Posted by Willem van de Velde