Strategic thinking

What do you want to say to whom and why?

05 June 2015

Everybody can organise a party, like everybody can post messages on Facebook, write a press release or call a venue trying get a gig for your band. You do not need a degree to work at a festival, manage a band or organise a seminar. It is not rocket science. So what is the added value of a diploma or certificate? Not the piece of paper, but the knowledge you obtain; the models you learn to use and the stimulation to think strategically.

To me strategies were abstract concepts until I realised it can be quite simple: everything you do is to reach your objectives. So whatever you say, organise, write or post should contribute to reaching the goals you set in advance. Think about the core message; what do you want to say? And to whom?

Always aim your communication at a target group. You can choose a 'persona', your perfect client. Is it a man or woman? How old; where does (s)he live; marital status; income; occupation; what is his/her media use; etc. The fact that you aim your messages to 1 persona or one well-defined target group, doesn't mean it won't appeal to other people. The fact that I do definitely NOT belong to the target group of a festival anymore, doesn't mean I cannot be interested in the messge or that I am not welcome at the festival. You ALWAYS choose a target group, sometimes also 1 or 2 sub target groups and/or sponsor target groups. The main focus should be on the main target group! And you need to know quite a lot about this group. Make sure you do research and learn hat they like to see and hear, how they want to be approached, what the tone of voice should be and what channel they prefer.

It's what you say to whom, but also with what effect in mind? Why? Do you want to sell tickets? Share knowledge and become a thought leader? Is it about brand awareness, so people know who you are and what you have to offer? Are you telling the story, or do you let your fans, followers, clients, visitors contribute or in other words, co-create the content?

Once you choose your channels (based on objectives, target group and desired effect), make sure it is a good mix. If you use social media - work with models. What is the goal; interaction or just sending? Do you want to engage people and stimulate dialogue, or do you choose not to have a conversation? Do you listen what people say on other media about your business or your issue; do you scan forums, discussion groups, Tweets etc.? Do you know what the current trends are and what excites your target group? What do they talk about?

Lots to consider and hundreds of models exist help you to develop an (online) communication strategy. But all models will tell you to set goals, know your target group, that you should listen and try to engage people, and that social media's added value is conversation & user generated content. Then it doesn't matter if you choose the 5-it model, 3C, 3S, 6C, B-model, Base-Beat-Bang, SOCCER, 10s etc. etc. Just think what you want to say to whom with what effect (why) first before you make a content calendar. ALWAYS!