Reaching Your Targeted Audience Requires Strategic Communications.
With a myriad of media and digital options, it’s hard to figure out where to spend your efforts and money to reach your stakeholders. At the same time, the nation’s growing diversity demands alternatives to one-size-fits-all marketing solutions. Enter Strategic Communications. Whether you call it public relations, PR, engagement, or buzz – strategic communications provide valuable benefits to augment marketing campaigns.
How Can Strategic Communications Help Your Business?
Strategic communications enable the distribution of company’s messaging through methods other than paid advertising to your audience. Information about your products or services are shared via print or broadcast media, and the Internet free of cost. In this era of social media, your messaging can expand organically through shares, mentions, reviews, recommendations, and can even go viral.
In an article on coobc.com, “Strategic communication guarantees the long-term success of your organization. It allows a corporation to concentrate on its values and abide by its moral requirements. Furthermore, it permits employers to stay their mission whereas allowing staff to align their actions and attitudes to its industrial goals.”
Traditional messaging tactics can include outlets such as press releases, interviews, speeches, community engagement and events. Or you can use digital messaging tactics that include social media posts, videos, blogs, speeches, influencer engagement and more. An integrated plan of combining paid advertising and strategic communications and using a variety of traditional and digital messaging outlets are crucial for generating results.
An integrated strategic communication plan is important in reaching today’s always-on society. You need to reach audiences where they are – online, in person, in small groups or large gatherings. That means it’s not enough to concentrate your marketing on one or just a handful of tactics. Or even to focus solely online. Successful integrated communications always include an earned media strategy. What it looks like depends on your objectives, audiences, budget, and capabilities.
Benefits for Adding Strategic Communications to Your Paid Marketing Campaigns
- More authentic messages that are not considered advertising.
- Messages that are hyper-tailored to your specific audiences.
- Lower costs than traditional advertising. While you’re paying for time and ideas, you don’t need a media budget.
- More space and time to communicate what you want to say.
- Third-party endorsement of your product, service or organization by the news media, neighbors, and influencers.
Measuring Strategic Communications Metrics
Data-driven research, planning and implementation are the keys to successful campaigns. Paid advertising has many ways to track results. Digital campaigns can produce an immense amount of data. Clicks, conversions, shares, likes, impressions, interactions and much more provide a treasure trove to understand trends and make decisions.
While strategic communications, or public relations, is earned, it too can be measured to monitor progress, adjust, and justify ROI. Layered onto the results of paid advertising, measuring strategic communications will provide a fully integrated approach to analyzing the true results of your next campaign.
Ways Strategic Communications Can be Measured:
- An article about your organization in the local daily newspaper. First, you can determine if it was positive, negative, or neutral. This is a manual process, but software is available to help determine the impact of the article. Readership – both in print and online – helps to determine how many eyeballs saw the news about you. And the media’s posts on its own social media allows you to see engagement and reach.
- Social media posts. Your organic posts – that is, not paid for – are easy to monitor with existing tools provided by social media platforms or software that analyzes social media performance. You’ll be able to see what posts are the most popular and therefore the type of content to focus on. You can track reach, engagement and whether comments are negative, positive, or neutral.
- News release and media interviews. Engaging the media with a story about you is a traditional tactic for strategic communications. It’s not easy – but can be measured. Let’s say your story is distributed on an online newswire. You’ll be able to measure impressions, open rates, and other details. And, of course, if you’re pitching a story to, say, The Wall Street Journal, you’ll know if your effort was successful. If a story does run on a media outlet you may also be able to correlate the time of story publication with an increase in inquires, website traffic and sales.
- Your own content. Whether you’re producing blogs, videos, newsletters, or website content, it’s easy to measure how you’re doing. Just harness the tools available in your digital platforms to track traffic – and be sure to add these results to your overall marketing efforts.
- Events. Whether it’s a community event, trade show, annual forum, reception or forum, there are many ways to engage your brand in person to target audiences. These events aren’t just feel-good parties – they are strategic tools to build relationships. You can measure success, too, by tracking attendance and sales leads. Good events can also generate buzz on social media, which is easily tracked.
Measuring marketing is crucial to your success. Embracing strategic communications – and the data it can provide – will give your next campaign an added boost.