I recently spoke at both the NHS Charities Together conference and the LUPC-SUPC procurement conference about how to build a comms strategy. I also spend a lot of time supporting clients to write their comms strategies.
For me, that strategic approach to communicating with your audiences and sharing your messages is vital. Most communications people I know would love to have a strategy to work from, if they don’t already. (If you feel you don’t have time to write one, you might like a blog I wrote about how to write your communications strategy quickly.)
Once you have the strategy written, though, the next challenge can rear its head.
- What do you do to make sure that it becomes a live document which helps you and your organisation move forward?
When I write one for my clients, we include an action plan of the next steps they (or I) need to take.
Questions to keep you on track
Ask yourself these questions to keep your strategy going as a living document that adds value to you and your organisation.
Where are you now compared to where you need to be to achieve the aims of your strategy?
Be realistic and honest with yourself (and your stakeholders).
What are the specific actions you and others need to take to close the gap?
Break down the bigger activities into smaller steps. Again, be realistic.
You will very likely still need to do many of the day-to-day, BAU things on your to do list. How much more can you take on at any one time? Are there things which you could stop doing in order to free up some time?
How can you prioritise the actions?
Look at where you can make the most difference in terms of your strategic aims. Do those things first, where possible. Think about the speed of progress you need.
Who will be doing what?
The strategy should not be seen as belonging to you alone. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Sone actions will be more effective if carried out by others. Involving a wider group also broadens engagement.
The key is to be clear about who is doing what and when. This gives clarity for them and for you. Check in regularly to make sure things are happening.
How will you know if you are becoming more strategic?
Measurement should form part of the strategy. So make sure you are tracking the metrics you identified. If you can see things are working, carry on. If not, ask what needs to change.
Measurement can seem like a chore but it is motivating if you can see the difference unfolding.
Finally, make sure you have commitment from the right people.
Moving to a more strategic approach can lead to conflicts from time to time.
- Things you will no longer do.
- New input you need.
- Different perspectives on what is critical and what is not.
You need to know you have genuine senior support to follow the strategic path.
If you would like support to make sure that your communication strategy moves forward, please feel free to get in touch.
Until next time