Communications plans help offer structure and strategy that can save you time and energy in the long run, while getting your desired objectives accomplished. Having a coherent communications plan where you package your message will help ensure each piece of content you share is part of a greater story you are telling.
In Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we discussed identifying your objectives and discussed how to better understand your audience. The next step to developing clear and strategic communications, is to focus on and package your message.
Your message can be written, verbal, or even visual, but all messages should tell a story. When it comes to messaging, it’s also important to identify your organization’s unique voice. Your organization or brand may have a slightly different approach than that of another organization—but it’s important your audience learns what to expect from you. Branding essentially means you are consistent with your visuals, language, messaging, and tone. Each piece of content should represent your organization’s brand.
Package your message and brand as part of an overall story.
Try to view and package your message and brand as a part of an overall story. Storytelling is one of the hottest buzzwords in the nonprofit industry, and in marketing in general. Stories are relatable. They help to humanize a brand.
Each nonprofit has a story too. You already possess a lot of the qualities for a great story because you’re addressing a need or an issue. The greatest quality any story can possess is the human element. Think of how your messaging can help humanize your organization and make it relatable.
Consider the stories you already have on hand.
What great stories do you already have on hand?
Think about them in terms of these guiding questions:
- What community issues/personal trials does your organization address and how do you address them? Struggles are interesting because the audience can relate to them and learn something from them. Communicating the struggle will also evoke emotion in your audience.
- People act on emotion! How can you communicate the feelings experienced within your nonprofit and help your audience feel them too?
- Include a call to action. What should people do once they’ve heard your story? Be clear! Donate? Volunteer? Spread the word? A clear call to action will help reinforce the goals/objectives you established for your communication efforts.
Try to incorporate these elements in your messaging. Ask yourself how your mission is unique. What sets you apart from other nonprofits and what specific messages and stories could you share to showcase that? Why should others care about what you stand for?
Communicate your message in different ways.
Once you’ve identified your organization’s brand and your story approach, think of how you can keep the content fresh and accessible for your audience. Using a combination of the written word, video, photos, and live testimonials will help to establish your brand as well-rounded and trustworthy.
Remember: it’s important to keep your audience in mind while you package your message. How can you make it most relatable to them and how can you make sure you are formatting your content in a way that they enjoy consuming it?
Keeping your audience at the center will also help you decide what mediums to prioritize when sharing your message. Determining which mediums to use will be the next piece of your strategic communications plan.