2020 has been a year for the history books. We’ve all been presented with challenges few of us ever could have anticipated.
And, over the course of this trying year, one thing has become clear to many organizations: there is tremendous value in the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
Business leaders have been tasked with the difficult task of communicating critical, rapidly changing information with each one of their internal and external audiences. The ability to do this well has been invaluable.
Now, as you begin to put together your communications strategy for 2021, keep the following 2020-inspired guidance in mind.
Focus on what you can control.
One of the challenges faced by communicators this year has been the increased difficulty of securing media coverage. The news media has been utterly consumed by COVID-19 and the Presidential election, leaving little room for unrelated coverage.
It’s safe to assume that the pandemic and the political arena will both continue to dominate the news cycle for the next several months – if not longer. Because of this inevitability, shift some of your focus away from media outreach and towards communications avenues you can control a bit more effectively, like those below.
Pursue guest post opportunities.
Traditional media coverage might continue to be hard to come by, but there are other ways to get your organization in the press. One such tactic is pursuing guest post opportunities.
Many outlets now accept outside contributions and, depending on the outlets you target, this can be an easier path to media coverage than regular story pitching – particularly these days.
Make social media a priority
As regular social media users know, it really has the power to move the needle. If you don’t already have one, develop a comprehensive social media strategy.
Think about which platforms your target audience uses most often, and begin there.
Create stand-out content
By now, most organizations maintain some sort of a company blog. But, if you don’t already have a blog – or your existing blog could use an upgrade – now’s the time to make a change.
Start developing content that can help your audience engage with, and learn about, your company and your brand.
Thanks to digital technology, organizations across the board have been able to adapt quickly to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic by moving their planned events into the virtual realm.
Virtual is here to stay – and it offers many benefits to the organizations that embrace it as a communications medium. One particularly exciting benefit is the removal of geographic boundaries. Never before has it been easier to communicate, ‘face-to-face’, with audiences across the globe.
Think about virtual activities, events, or initiatives your organization can start – or expand upon – in 2021. How can you engage with your existing audiences, and reach new ones, through virtual activities?
Make plans – and plan for them to be disrupted.
As you work on your 2021 communications strategy, make plans for product announcements, launches, new company initiatives, virtual events, and anything else you have in the queue.
But, plan for your plans to be disrupted.
We all learned this year the value of remaining nimble – in business, and life – and this skill will continue to be important well into 2021. Have contingency plans in place for each of your major company initiatives or launches and, if you can help it, don’t set anything in stone.
Reflect on 12 months of COVID-19.
Come March 2021, media outlets are likely to run stories around the grim milestone of one-year with COVID-19.
Think about what you and your organization have learned over the past 12 months. What hard-earned lessons or valuable insights can you share with the media?
(Image by Freepik)