We all communicate. And we communicate a lot. But is our communication always effective? And: how do you create a communications plan within your constraints of budget and time? The answer: make sure your communications activities are relevant.

Be relevant!

What is relevant? As the company or person who wants to achieve a certain goal, relevance may have a different meaning or value to you than to the people or organisations you reach out to. In communication it’s not just about sending messages you yourself think are relevant, it’s about understanding what is relevant to those you address. Best take a look at the picture below. You may have seen in before. Relevance is – in short – making sure that what you tell matches the interest of the ones you address, or touches or benefits them.

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How to not lose your audience

During my Public Relations training – some time ago, let’s say before social media were invented – I learnt quickly how wrong it is to send messages, only for the sake of being present. It’s like going to a party with nothing to tell! Because of my background in journalism, I learnt (the hard way) that your readers will not stay with you don’t involve them. In other words: you’ll quickly lose your followers/readers/friends when what you tell or show them has no relevance to them or the relationship you have.

You’ll quickly lose your followers/readers/friends when what you tell them isn’t relevant to them!

Needless to say, social media have changed the communications landscape. When  producing a continuous flow of hard-hitting content, using various platforms, influencers and online and mobile technology, the relevance may get lost quite easily. Social media marketeers and online content providers will tell you to produce as much content as possible. I don’t fully agree. I suggest you use a proper strategy to produce content that is relevant. This will improve the effectiveness of your communications efforts, short-term and long-term.

This is why, in my approach to communication, relevance is a key factor, integrated in my Communications Square.

The Communications Square (©) 

Are you making the right choices in who, how and when you organise your communications activities? Alfred Jansen has handled numerous projects successfully (see Portfolio) using an approach based on the four pillars of the Communications Square (©).

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Vision

Communication begins with a vision, reflecting all relevant aspects of the organisation, project and/or product, with a clear focus on the steps you need to make to move ahead. In order to develop this vision for your communications approach, Alfred Jansen uses a well-proven and practical tool: the Manifesto.

A Manifesto covers the full scope of corporate communications activities, but just as easily it can be used to cover smaller parts of any organisation’s activities, down to project or even personal development levels.

Strategy

Next step: the translation of the vision (Manifesto) into a targeted communication plan – internal, external and social. The communication plan is directly linked to the overall business strategy or to objectives that are already in place – so there’s no need to reinvent it all. In this stage, the plan is already ‘hands-on’: it covers not only results, movements and connections required to develop and execute your communication, but also its deliverables, planning and budgeting. In this phase your strategy becomes a unique communication plan.

Identity

Equally important in the Communications Square (©) is an organised and consistent identity. You will be familiar with the terms ‘branding’ and ‘corporate identity’. Well, the Manifesto will also provide you with the building blocks to create these and, at the same time, increase involvement, motivation and effectiveness within your organisation, whatever your communication goals are. Using the Manifesto as a starting point for your identity is also cost effective, as the resulting design basics are easy to use and authentic, and can be implemented and applied quickly and consistently. This is the starting point for the production of all your communication activities and content.

Content

You want results, short-term and long-term. If you follow the above steps, production of effective communication tools and content for whatever purpose will be a lot easier. Remember, you have already defined what you are going to do (the plan) and how (the design). Now is the time to bring these together and start producing. Alfred Jansen develops, creates and produces tools and content that fit your goals. Read more on the Creative services page.

In short, the Communications Square (©) is the way ahead. It has been used, tested and delivered results in dozens of very different projects. How does this all work out for you? Please check out the Portfolio page!