Who doesn’t love summer? The weather. The celebrations. The vacations. Anticipating the new season of The Great British Baking Show!
Still, the work you do is important and needs to continue. All the summer distractions, to say nothing of all the Out of Office replies, make that a challenge. Here are five tips to make the most of summer while still advancing your work with a clear, compelling, and differentiating message.
Work smarter, not harder. What previous work can you repurpose? The messages you sent this time last year might still have relevance. The operative word here is might. If it worked last year and still applies this one, consider repurposing it again now. You may remember it because you live and breathe your work, but your audience is likely not to.
Along the same lines, don’t do something for the sake of doing something. If a summer campaign didn’t produce any meaningful results last year, perhaps now is not the time. Instead of churning out words that won’t be read, spend your time thinking ahead. That leads us to our second suggestion:
Map out the rest of the year. You most likely have a communications plan in place, but take this time to re-examine it. Work backward from the end of the calendar year as well as the fiscal year if that’s different. What are the major events, touchpoints, or changes that will occur? Then, work backward from each of those to determine what has to be done and when. Who needs to weigh in on what? What are the best ways to reach them, and why?
Look inward and outward. The summer is the perfect time to conduct a messaging audit. Who are the other organizations going after the same time, talent, and treasure as you? Look at these key areas:
- What are they saying?
- How are they saying it? What tone of voice do they use (e.g., urgent, academic, or aspirational)?
- To whom are they speaking? Are their audiences exactly the same as yours, or are they adjacent to one another?
- Where are they saying? How active is their social media program? How often are they blogging?
- What does their visual identity look like? Does it look professional, consistent, and in line with who they say they are?
Then and here’s the important part: Do the same for you.
If conducting a messaging audit at this scale seems intimidating, let us know. We love doing them and are happy to do it for you.
Take the temperature. The summer might be a great time to check in with your constituents. Consider a short survey to see how they perceive the caliber, frequency, and impact of your message. Here, the operative word is short. No more than five questions.
Plan a Strategic Messaging Meeting. Take advantage of the fact that your colleagues’ September and October calendars are, by and large, empty right now. Schedule a meeting now to review the work you have done during the summer and get their perspectives and buy-in. Position the meeting as a routine, annual event that helps ensure your message stays fresh and effective.
You may even want to bring in an outside expert. Having a consultant come in and talk to you and your colleagues about best practices in strategic messaging is a great way to illustrate the importance of your meeting. (If that sounds like it will work for your organization, let us know. We can help with that too.)
A slower summer doesn’t have to slow down your work. Take advantage of the time to improve the clarity of your message.
As Bob Dylans says, “You need something to open up a new door, to show you something you have seen before but overlooked a hundred times or more.”
Of course, remember to enjoy your summer as well! All work and no play, as they say, makes for a dull everything, including your message.