Whether you need thought-leadership support or want to develop effective branded content, we always will begin the same way–with a straight-forward, open discussion (either in person or via telephone or video conference) about your communications needs, starting with seven essential questions:
What do you want to do?
While this seems like an easy question, far too many communication efforts get derailed precisely because no one asks this question or leadership can’t come to consensus on the answer. While any and all communications always help define and convey who your organization is, that in itself is not enough. Nor is it enough to say you want to raise awareness or enhance your company’s reputation. Instead, your goal should be extremely specific and tied to a desired outcome/behavior.
- We want to land new clients in the XX sector by highlighting our XXX services
- We want to attract talent who XX
- We need to stabilize negative perceptions about us within XX weeks/month
- We want to attract XXX followers to Facebook or LinkedIn page
- We want to persuade lawmakers to change a rule because it XXX
When it comes to growing revenues, winning new clients or attracting funding, communications alone will not result in the ultimate outcome you seek. But by clearly defining the type of clients you want and/or the sector you wish to grow, I can help you identify the most appropriate venues in which to engage with these prospective clients and partners so you can then begin building the necessary relationships to meet your end goal.
Who do you want to engage?
You likely will need to reach a diversity of audiences to achieve the desired outcome. For example, if you wish to persuade lawmakers to change a rule, what other audiences do you need to engage to aid your effort? Are there patient-advocacy groups, for example, which can assist you in helping to secure state or federal funding for a new type of medical research? Can influencers such as industry analysts or top journalists help you make your case? I will work with you to ensure we always include and define those intermediaries who can help you win access to you primary audience target.
What do you need to say?
This is a hard one, because too many executives get caught up in wordsmithing during what should be a brainstorm session. Stay focused on identifying the primary message, which could be as simple as “We treat patients suffering from cardiovascular disease” or “we help companies mitigate risk.” The key is to clearly articulate your main point and then develop supporting statements that demonstrate and illustrate it. Once we complete that task, I will then work with you and/or your communications team to ensure I have the necessary background and context to finetune your messages so they resonate both on an intellectual and emotional level.
How do you want to say it?
Who your audience is helps determine the form of engagement and keeps it authentic. Do want to interact directly with consumers? Perhaps a social media campaign is warranted? If you wish to reach sophisticated targets who already are well-versed in the type of services or products you offer, maybe a series of bylined articles published in a reputable industry trade magazine is the way to go.
Why should we care about what you have to say?
Apart from being honest about who you are and what you offer, this is the most important element in any communications campaign. Whether reaching out to internal talent, a potential investor or a long-time customer, people need to know what’s in it for them. Are you helping them to save or make money, look better, be healthier, solve a problem or issue, do their jobs more effectively or uncover a new opportunity? Companies that demonstrate they understand what challenges their clients are up against, are responsive to what customers or clients say, express empathy, offer fresh insights and admit it when they make mistakes (even without acknowledging liability) are the most authentic and therefore more likely to gain the trust of your target audiences.
Why should we trust/believe you?
The advent of social media and the 24-hour news cycle has made most of us weary of one-way communications like advertising or promotional materials that simply say “we know best.” Companies need to earn and keeping earning the trust and loyalty of their clients, customers, shareholders, employees and other interested parties. Credentialing activities such as writing and publishing bylined articles, op/eds and other thought-leadership in credible third-party news outlets, sharing case studies or client testimonials, winning industry awards or top rankings and participating in events and activities that reinforce your company’s mission, vision and values all help build trust. I will work with you to help you build up relevant credentials and/or ensure they are featured in any communications you develop.
What’s your deadline?
While breaking news requires an immediate turnaround, in most cases it take some time to develop compelling content, particularly if it also includes design elements such as infographics, photography or other graphics. For bigger projects such as annual reviews or a firm or product brochure, we will develop a timeline working backwards from your final due date to ensure all deadlines are met.
Fees for Services
In general, I work on a hourly basis. Contact me directly to talk about my rates, when payment is due and how to ensure that all your project needs are met at firstname.lastname@example.org.