Communication is one of the most unrecognised skills within organisations, but can have an outsized impact on how your business develops. As the Harvard Business Review notes, ‘Essential Experts’, or professionals with key functional skills such as communications, are some of the most overlooked hires for companies – especially those within technical and life sciences fields . Yet, the role of communications is integral to building a brand, to define your purpose, your positioning. It increases your reach and visibility, the opportunity for collaborations and partnerships and creates momentum attracting talent as well as client and investor buy-in. [2,3].
Defining the communications role
A communications position is more than running a firm’s social media accounts. With the objective to generate stakeholder engagement, it entails internal and external communication. Communications is a two-way street building your reputation. It serves the aim to gain client and employee commitment by informing about new developments, improving communication exchange through processes and positive experiences with your business to seeking alignment. Information exchange coming from your company distinguishes your brand purpose and positioning from your competitors using your owned, earned and paid media channels including your website, your social media channels, press relations, newsletters, and your advertising plan all managed through a predefined content strategy . Involving internal teams inspires and motivates your workforce and creates alignment. It evokes a sense of ownership valuing accomplishments, purpose, benefits .
How can you communicate effectively?
If you find yourself unable to immediately bring in one of these ‘essential experts’, here are a few tips for you to follow.
Step 1: Create your communications strategy.
Develop a plan that considers who you wish to speak to “your audience”, your message tailored to your audience, and what you want to achieve. Ask yourself:
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want to share?
- What action do you want your audience to take?
- When do you wish to share what?
Iidentify where you can interact with and reach your audience. Build your strategy based on how you wish to communicate with your audience, the tone of voice, the images reflecting your brand, your purpose and values. Analyse your competition and look at how your competitors are using their communications channels. How is information being presented? What is the tone they are using, informal or punchy? Is it detailed technical analysis? Is it visually attractive or text-heavy?
And finally: Test it! Do you get engagement?
While you might be tempted to do the opposite of your competitors, it is easier in the short-term to keep things simple and follow their lead. Once you started to develop your preferred communication style, your identity and better understand your audience, you can slowly shift to a new strategy.
Step 2: Develop your content
A basic strategy involves you sharing your information and news, your content, with your audience tailored to their needs and to generate engagement. Keep it simple, and follow these basic ideas:
- Be creative and test various formats
- Leave jargon and technical language to a minimum
- Use examples that your audience can relate to
- Keep it short, and use visuals in form of images or videos
For more complex topics, lean on real-life examples, relate to specific happenings and occasions and help your audience identify with the subject matter.
Step 3: Identify the medium to share your content
There are multiple ways of communicating, and you should endeavour to use as many different channels as possible to reach the maximum amount of people – social media, blogging, newsletters, press, etc.
Owned media channels are your own platforms, such as your website, your social media channels, your newsletter or blog.
Earned media channels are the ones which “earned” recognition by external communicators such as bloggers, journalists and influencers.
Paid media channels are the ones you paid for in particular for advertising.
The use of social media channels requests some careful analysis. They must be differentiated according to the audience you wish to speak to.
Some media channels are only used by a specific audience. For example, your audience ages between 30 and 50 years preferers Facebook, however, a generation between 20 to 30 years of age feels more acquaint with Instagram.
Equally, B2B is best advertised on LinkedIn or newsletters, consumer products on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, science and technology generally leverage blogs and press.
Step 4: Keep an online presence!
Results will not be immediate. It takes time to build engagement with an. The trick is to keep communicating consistently.,. Potential partners, customers or employees will look at your communication channels before engaging with you, and a lack of information may be seen as a red flag. It is better to post sporadically than not at all.
But what about internal communications?
When communicating internally with your employees, ensure that you reach everyone, frontline workers as well as office employees.
Deliver your messages and information during working hours and avoid mixing private and professional communications channels, e.g. WhatsApp. Ideally, develop an intranet which can be used as an App on mobile devices. Create internal communication processes, encourage a mentality to share information valuing creativity, courage and engagement.
Communicate regularly across numerous channels, offline as well as online. Let your internal teams know new developments as they happen, keep them engaged by involving your workforce into strategy building and feedback processes, provide opportunities to step up, engage and develop their skills, opinion and interests. Your workforce and teams are the best ambassadors you can develop for your business to flourish and build your reputation externally.
Find your ‘essential expert’
The best way to ensure that your communications are effective is to find your ‘essential expert’. Professionals within this space have all the tools, experience, and skills to provide you the communications you need. Are you in the market for an expert? Reach out to LEAD-WiSE today to find out how we can help you.
- Communication is one of the most under-appreciated skills within organisations, but can have an outsized impact on how your business develops;
- Effective communication revolves around knowing your audience, what they want, and how to reach them, internally, you must be in tune with employee needs and values; and
- The best way to ensure that your communications are effective is to find your ‘essential expert’.
 Lynn Cowart, Cile Johnson, and Beverly Kaye, 2018, “The 3 Essential Jobs That Most Retention Programs Ignore”, Harvard Business Review.
 Robin Adair Erickson, 2015, “Communication and Employee Retention”, The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication.
 Young Entrepreneur Council, 2021, “Nine Important Lessons Leaders Have Learned About Customer Communication”, Forbes.
 Michael Georgiu, 2021, “How And Why To Build Brand Authenticity”, Forbes.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Purpose-Led, Value-Driven – What else?”, LEAD-WiSE.