All of us are charged with developing communication plans for our organizations or clients. And guess what? We usually fall back on the familiar, tried-and-true format: goals, objectives, strategies, tactics.
Of course, like any old pair of shoes, these processes are comfortable—until your environment changes and all of a sudden the tennis shoes you packed for vacation now must handle hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing and whatever else is thrown at you on the trip.
The social media era is characterized by what many have called the “connected consumer.” Not really defined by an age group, the connected consumer is defined as people who are always plugged in, who demand transparency from our organizations–who will become very vocal if they think we’re not being transparent–and who have different news consumption habits than they did even 15 years ago.
With today’s connected consumer, there are some elements we should all consider in our planning practices. Here are some tips for how to plan for engaging and influencing these connected audiences.
1. Define audience personas as part of your communication planning. When niche marketing is key, charting all of the factors that define your audience’s persona —their personal situation, work life characteristics, their daily challenges and concerns—is more important than ever. Kansas City’s Morningstar Communications, for example, has a process for walking organizations through how to define and get into the heads of those they call “the people who matter most.” The Morningstar process asks you to define what your audience’s top three thoughts and concerns are when the alarm clock goes off every morning. Answering these types of questions leads to a more finely targeted communication plan.
For more on Morningstar Communications’ process for building audience personas, check out this presentation from the author and Morningstar vice president of marketing...
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