Good Communication Makes for Great Business
By: Rasheedah Thomas
I see so many leaders who are amazing at what they do, but have low visibility because they have insufficient public relations and marketing. And so many who have high visibility have it not necessarily because they are effective leaders, but because they hire professionals like me to nail down their messaging and brand them as an expert in their field. The knife cuts both ways.
I hope more CEOs focus on strategic comms in 2022. After all, good communication makes for great business! Company valuations are directly connected to the reputation of their CEOs. Since CEOs and Executive Directors are the faces of their companies and organizations, their messaging is CRITICAL to the credibility of their brands. Here are three ways leaders can improve their communications efforts in Q1 2022.
Your messaging is crucial to your brand credibility and reputation, which directly affects your bottom line. Now is the perfect time for a messaging development workshop. Either for the first time, or as a refresher.
Because messaging is the foundation of all communications — like talking points, collateral, speeches, interviews — it’s my first order of business with a new client. Along with the President or Executive Director, I like to invite other staff into these workshops for their perspective.
It’s often the case that what one senior staff member thinks is the main message of the organization or company, is not what others think. It all makes for lively conversation! Those opposing views can be awkward at first, but they ultimately lead to discussions that help narrow down and tighten up messaging that truly reflects their mission and goals.
Once you know your messages, talk about your target audiences. Who are your stakeholders and other people or entities that you need to get your messages to?
[Related: Keys to Building a Resilient Team]
Once you’ve nailed down your messaging and you know your target audiences, it’s time to create a strategic communications plan that gets those key messages to those audiences. One of the best ways to do that is through written products, like op-eds or articles.
In particular, op-eds are a great way to establish thought leadership. Think of them as an essential tool in your strategic comms arsenal. In order to successfully write and publish an op-ed, you need to meet three criteria:
- Credibility: What makes you the right person to author this op-ed?
- A news hook: Remember, the word “new” is in “news.” Make sure your topic is something currently covered in the media.
- Passion: You need to care about the topic. Passion or lack thereof will come through in your writing.
Now that you’ve penned your op-ed, where should you pitch it to get it published? Well, I could write another couple of articles about the art and science of pitching. But, this is where your audience identification work comes into play.
Do you want to get the attention of your colleagues in your industry? Then, consider a trade publication. Are you trying to sway a particular Member of Congress on a policy issue? Try that Member’s hometown newspaper. The key is to meet your audience where they are.
Once your op-ed is published, congratulations! But your work is not finished. Now, link your article to social media and your website for further traction. Use the article to pitch other media on the topic.
[Related: Your Five-Point MarComm and PR Plan]
What’s your long-term plan?
I hope you realize by now that PR and Communications is a nonnegotiable priority and expense for any organization or company. And the ROI on these efforts is infinite. Strategic and successful communications can help you increase brand credibility, attract better talent, strengthen community relations, manage your reputation, and boost sales and increase profits.
So, make sure you factor communications and marketing into your budget. Whether you promote or hire a team member or hire an outside firm, it’s just good business.
[Related: Five Steps to a Successful Content Strategy]
Rasheedah Thomas is a communications strategist based in the Washington, DC area and South Carolina. She is an advocate for women in positions of power, and loves helping woman business and political leaders raise their profile and brand themselves as an expert in their field. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or at @rasheedah_t on Twitter and Instagram.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.