Just a couple of things your comms team wants you to know
A couple of tips from the comms department about how to make the most of your team.
Imogen, copywriter and content strategist
Not all words are created equal
You can, theoretically, churn out huge quantities of words, if you don’t need them to be precise. You can attack the content from different angles and hope one of them lands. It’s harder to write a single sentence. You have to distill thousands of words down into ten and that’s hard. If you’re looking for the perfect sentence, a tagline, or a slogan, that little sentence can take days. And it looks so simple from the other side. So unless a lightning bolt of inspiration hits you and you just know what that one sentence should be, you can spend days agonising over it. And it matters. But it always feels like clients want quantity in copy, not quality. There’s need for both.
Editing should be 90% of the battle
Writing can be quite easy if you’re just smashing out a word count. But when you go back through to edit, that’s when the headache sets in. And when I say editing, it’s not just for grammar. It’s for SEO too, and tone, and sense, and simplicity. I would always recommend clients aim for fewer words, and more editing time to get those fewer words as good as they can be.
Don’t half-ass your content marketing
Definitely use your whole ass. Content is always neglected and seen as a secondary concern. But it can be so potent if you do it right. I’d recommend clients don’t just dip a toe, but jump in, even if it’s only for three months. There’s nothing more frustrating for a content strategist than to be creating sporadic content that doesn’t tie back into an overall plan. It’s like only going to the gym once a month and wondering why you’re not getting ripped.
Check out our must-have list of comms tools.
Francis, managing director
A better brief equals a better outcome
Coming from a project management perspective, the initial communications of any project will define how successful that project can ever hope to be. The way you present to a client, to make sure they understand the processes, is vital. The detail of the brief, and making sure you understand every aspect, even more so. Be sure to layout the project in as much detail as possible for everyone's sake. This isn't just so you have something to point to if there are any disputes, but to make sure that everyone is aiming for the same result.
The right contact through the right medium
Far too much time is wasted in projects due to miscommunication. To minimise the chance of a misunderstanding, it is vital that the spokesperson for both client and agency is clear. It is also important to communicate through a channel that everyone both agrees upon and is comfortable with. When too many people are trying to communicate through too many different mediums it is only a matter of time until a mistake is made.
You can always do more research
There is no such thing as too much research. You will never know every member of your entire potential market better than they know themselves. Research can be costly and time-consuming, but the more you invest the more effective your marketing will be. The more data you can gather, and documented conversations you can have with your customer, the better.
Julian, video production and communications
Engagement comes first
Don’t focus so much on including all the available information into the one piece of writing. It’s OK to leave out entire chunks of content if it makes the actual article or video more engaging. Remember, your audience are not judging the content by what is left out, but by what you decide to put in. If you don’t follow this rule you will end up with the most comprehensive and boring video the world has never seen.
Tell us whose approval we need and stick to it
It helps us manage the project more effectively if we know exactly who in your business will need to give approval before we can publish. When a mysterious layer of required approval is added last minute, the project comes to a grinding halt, and can even go backwards. To avoid these pitfalls it is best to provide us with details on every layer of approval, so we don’t go too far down a certain path that ends up getting canned by some annoying legal department.
Heart before specifics
This one applies more to video, but is still relevant to any form of communication. Whatever the purpose of the media you’re creating, even something as boring as explaining app-induced revenue increase, there will be a human story somewhere inside. Don’t get bogged down in all the nitty gritty specifics, because no one can keep their eyes open through three minutes of marketing buzzwords.
How did we get here? We don't know. But here's an article on whether we needed our comms degrees to land a job.