TOP TIPS FOR CHANGEMAKERS #10
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GREAT COMMUNICATIONS
Last week Actually Associate Julie Minns blogged about the importance of knowing your audience to build trust and loyalty.
Knowing and understanding the people you want to communicate with is the first rule of good communications. That’s why we’re running a free ‘Getting to Know Them’ challenge right now on Facebook.
But knowing your audience isn’t the only fundamental rule of great communications.
Those of you that know me will be unsurprised to learn that I am not a big sports fan. Don’t get me wrong…I will scream myself hoarse during the Six Nations rugby and who doesn’t love Wimbledon? But generally speaking, sports isn’t top of my list of must-do / must-watch activities.
Nonetheless, we can learn a lot from the preparation and training that professional athletes apply to their sport.
It’s not enough to want to be the world’s best tennis player, you have to master the five fundamentals of the game: the rules, the strokes, your footwork, your fitness and the equipment you use.
Good communications has its own fundamentals. Here are the top five…
Athletes know their purpose: they want to be the best at their chosen sport.
Serena Williams didn’t turn up at the 2012 London Olympics and think “Hmm, think I’ll have a go at kayaking”. And she didn’t rock up thinking ‘Let’s aim for mediocre.’ She wanted to be the best female tennis player in the world. She wanted to win GOLD. She was clear about it and we were clear about what she wanted.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be clear on your purpose too. Why? Because your purpose is a big part of what will inspire YOUR clients to work with YOU and if you’re not clear on what that is, they won’t be either.
Who do you want to talk to?
You need to clearly identify your ideal customers, your ‘niche’ – and then understand what makes them tick. Get to know their values, who influences them, what they read. You want to know as much about them as you can – your business and the efficacy of your communications depends on it. And this isn’t a once and done piece of work. People change. Circumstances change. The world changes. We are living through a perfect example of that right now. What people wanted two months ago is not the same now. So you need to keep checking in with your people and updating your understanding of them.
Serena Williams walks onto a court with an intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of her opponent and herself. That awareness is critical to how she plays the game and whether or not she can win.
Part of developing great strategy – in business and in communications – is developing that same level of awareness. Know yourself: what are you good at? Where do you need help and support? Do you shine on video but struggle with blogs? Are you a great speaker but a terrible networker? This isn’t about berating yourself for your ‘weaknesses’ – it’s about devising a strategy that plays to your strengths.
Understand your marketplace and learn from the other players in your space. Develop your knowledge of media and which journalists will be interested in you. If you’re selling jewellery then the chances are ‘What Car?’ is not going to run a feature on your latest product line.
I watch lots of entrepreneurs rushing onto social media and even into PR…without having done a simple, vital piece of work: they’ve not worked out what they actually want to say.
I love words. Words have power and so I treat them with respect and try not to waste them.
I advise my clients to get very clear on their one core overarching message. It should be something relating to their purpose, something inspiring, something that will invite people to join them on a journey.
Harriet Waley-Cohen – when she did my flagship training programme How to Actually Spread the Word – crafted this overarching message:
“Imagine a world where it doesn’t occur to women that they or their bodies aren’t good enough, where they know, accept and celebrate their true value.”
Isn’t that inspiring? That is a clear invitation to women…join me…let me help you feel good enough…let me help you celebrate your true value. It resonates with her audience, her potential clients who respond with a massive ‘Hell yes!’
I know lots of purpose-led entrepreneurs who like to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’. If that works for you – that’s great. It doesn’t work for me. And here’s why I think you should consider planning as one of the fundamentals rules of great communications…
Starting your communications work without a plan is a little like visiting a new country without a map (or GPS). You may have fun but you’ll probably get lost. And end up spending way more money than you needed to finding your way back to where you started!
Let’s say you’re launching your new course or your retreat or workshop or membership…or whatever. And you’re struggling to fill places. You don’t want to wake up two days before and think…’ Dammit, why didn’t I think about doing some PR for this weeks ago?’
Or let’s say you’re a meditation coach. Do you really want to be sitting staring at your laptop on 20 May thinking ’Dammit, why didn’t I know it was World Meditation Day today…now what am I going to write about…?’
You’re busy. You have limited resources. You need every word, every post, every blog, every LIVE to count. And you need to make the most of every opportunity. Planning helps you to do that. It saves you time. It saves you money. And it makes your content more effective. What’s not to love?
I can’t promise to turn you into Serena Williams, but I can promise that if you master these fundamentals, they will lift your communications game!
And if you’d like to know more about how to make these fundamentals work for you and your business, I’m running two FREE Masterclasses on Publicity & PR on Thursday 28 May and Thursday 4 June. To find out more, click the links below.
As someone once sang “the fundamental things apply, as time goes by”. Don’t leave it too late, book your place on one – or both – of our free Masterclasses today. See the links below.
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