A solid external communications strategy is essential for shaping how your company is viewed by the public. For a strong external communication strategy, you must decide what public image will serve your company best. Go through some branding exercises to determine how to want to represent yourself to the outside world as well as how you do not want to represent yourself. Decide if you want to be formal or informal, funny or straightforward or anything in between. The next step is creating a plan to clearly and consistently spread the message in the style upon which you’ve decided.
The first sphere of external communications I’d like to concentrate on is marketing and advertising. This is your chance to control the message, so make sure you clearly define the desired outcomes. Ask yourself some fundamental questions as to why you’re running the piece, what you hope to achieve, and who you are hoping to reach with the message. That should give your writer (along with marketing, graphic design, and all others involved) an excellent foundation upon which to craft a message.
These days, it is nearly impossible to have an effective strategy for external communications that does not include social media. Let’s took at that next. For most companies, it is appropriate to have at least a Facebook fan page and a Twitter feed. To be proactive, share links and tips with readers and actively engage others in conversation. If it applies to your industry, it’s a good bit of information to share, even if it doesn’t pertain to your company specifically. It will get people talking, and keep you involved in their conversations. The next time the user is looking for the service you provide, they will remember the conversation and look to your company as an expert in the industry. You may prefer to be less active in social media, but it’s important at least to be a good steward of your brand. To do this, keep an eye on Twitter to find out what others are saying about you, then jump in as necessary. Remember that the conversations are happening with or without you. It’s better to keep a finger on the pulse and to be involved.
Whatever venues of communication you choose to take advantage of, consistency is key. Conflicting messages will make it difficult for the public to understand what your company is all about, and makes you seem less credible. Each time you make a message public, you need to ensure that it strengthens your company’s brand. It needs to provide value, have a specific purpose and, most of all, and show the world who you are as a company.