Why time needs to be on your side with content communication

Why time needs to be on your side with content communication

Why is it that the majority of organisations want instant results when it comes to communication?

Communication programs are often the last to be given budget, and the first to be cut.

As a professional in the industry, I may be biased, but for program and brand objectives to be ultimately achieved, allowing time for strategic communication to be effective is pivotal.

Strategic communication, and more specifically content communication, relies on building trust with your audience through the creation, curation and distribution of useful, relevant and consistent content.

Building trust takes time in all forms of life.

For example, in the dating world, it generally takes more than the first date to build trust with the other person. Trust builds over weeks and months as the relationship gets stronger.

Successful content communication is no different. It’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Success doesn’t happen overnight and more organisations and their leaders must understand only a long-term communication approach will succeed in achieving their overarching business objectives.

That is why it is critical when you are designing your communication strategy that you think long term.

Here are six tips to help you embark on a long-term, content communication approach.

  1. Be SMART

Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) targets for at least 12 months into the future and allow your content communication time to take effect.

  1. Make sure you conduct a bench marking study

Never look to implement a new communication approach before you benchmark your current activity. Otherwise you have no way of reporting to your manager if your approach is working.

A great way of bench marking can be to run a survey with your audience or by conducting some market research.

This will give you a good understanding on whether your program or brand is well known, if people are currently utilising the services that you offer and what previous communication has gained the most traction with your audience.

  1. Don’t over-measure 

On the surface this seems like a strange tip, but is a trap that many communicators can fall into quite easily.

I have to admit, who doesn’t like seeing a Facebook post to start being shared, a video receiving multiple views or a report that you have created receiving thousands of downloads.

The problem is, a couple of strong communication results will not give enough data to gain an accurate measurement on how the whole content communication program is performing.

My advice is to establish a quarterly measurement and evaluation reporting system which will allow more insightful insights to be gained.

  1. Be consistent with your content communication

The worst possible scenario when transitioning to a content communication approach is to fly out of the blocks with 3 blogs per week, a video every Friday, two newsletters a month and an event every second week – particularly if you have limited resources to continue executing at the same level.

Good content communication relies on consistency – and consistency over a long period of time.

When compiling your content communication strategy be realistic about how much content you can create over a long period of time and how much effort it is going to take to create this content.

If this means that you can only produce one blog per week, one video per month and a newsletter every quarter, then so be it. Be consistent. Your audience will certainly appreciate it.

  1. Publish a variety of content – including evergreen

Getting your content mix right is an important part of content communication, and this includes creating content (either video, audio, stills, graphics) that suit current trends, along with evergreen content.

Unlike timely content that may become dated, evergreen content remains relevant to the audience all year around.

If you are running a government program this could include fact sheets or blogs on how people can sign up to the program.

Evergreen content can also be repeatedly and effectively shared across your channels throughout the year, reducing the requirement to always create new content.

  1. Make sure your content will let you achieve your program objectives

The golden rule with all content communication programs is to never create a piece of content that will not help you achieve your objectives.

As I’ve mentioned, you have to be in content communication for the long haul, but if you lose your focus and start creating irrelevant content, then the trust and focus of your audience will also start decreasing.

Ask yourself the same question before you create every bit of content: Will this piece of content allow me to achieve my overarching program objectives?

If the answer is no, move onto your next idea.

Do you have any tips or tricks on ways to ensure your clients focus on a long-term communication approach? I’d love to hear them.

David is the Head of Consulting at contentgroup and possesses a love of writing. While he could write and talk about sport all day, his focus is now on helping public-sector clients tell their stories.

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