Strategic messaging is a communication method many marketers, advertisers and other external communicators will sing the praises of the second you give them the chance. And there are good reasons why.
Here’s an excerpt from The Routledge Handbook of Strategic Communication, a textbook communications graduate students often use, that gets to the heart of it:
An effective communication manager must engage with multiple interactants (i.e. consumers, publics, audiences) and should, therefore, understand how different interactants require different strategic messaging approaches. This is the unique domain of strategic communications.
To put it in less academic terms, not every audience is going to engage with every type of message, so messages must be tailored to target audiences. They can’t be one-size-fits-all. Strategic messaging is all about getting the right message in front of the right people at just the time they need to receive it.
That doesn’t just go for external communicators. Numerous different audiences reside within an organization, and a human resources manager may find a particular type of message compelling, while an IT architect may respond to a totally different method of communication.
Just like the goal of external communications is to generate awareness and positive feelings about a company or product, the goal of internal communications is often to create shared goals and a community culture within an organization. But you can’t tell everyone the same story the same way.
In a post on his consulting firm’s blog, communications expert David Grossman lays out seven keys to a strategic messaging methodology:
- Define and prioritize audiences
- Identify where those audiences are coming from
- Develop compelling messages
- Outline what you want from your audiences
- Make connections with your audiences
- Deliver messages with confidence
- Identify gaps in your plan
Grossman goes on to lay out a long list communications tools that could be used to implement such a plan including email, voicemail, speeches, brochures, social media posts, website copy, and so on. Communications managers should keep all these tools at the ready so they’ll have them on-hand when they recognize an audience for whom one tool might be preferable to another.
Many organizations take a scattershot approach to communication, and as such, much of the effort is wasted. Taking a little more time to strategically target messages to the people who are most receptive to them will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.
To find out more about how internal communicators are messaging to employees, download PoliteMail’s 2016-2017 Internal Communications Survey Results.