Are these 5 channels in your communications strategy?

Are these 5 channels in your communications strategy? - Zadro Agency

The online world mimics a crowded market (pre-COVID) with organisations having to cut through the noise of the virtual world. This is where appearing wherever your customers are can pay off, because your brand is never too far from mind.

Multiple points of contact are important, but you still need to be mindful of being where it makes sense for your brand and also where your customers are. Here are five channels you can use in your communications strategy:

1.  Social media

Social media has become a vital way to connect and communicate with your key stakeholders; it is also a platform that easily facilitates two-way communication, with your audience being able to talk to you directly.

Social media is a great channel and should be utilised in some way by every organisation, however one important thing to remember is – your social media page is rented space, as evidenced in early 2021 with Facebook’s news ban. At any time, the platforms can change the rules and if you want to remain there you must change tact. One of the most significant changes for organisations is the death of organic growth – paid advertising is now required to increase the number of followers and engagement.

2. Email marketing

Also known as enewsletters or EDMs, email marketing is a relatively easy way to connect directly with your stakeholders; a clean and regularly updated segmented contact database and a user-friendly template in an email marketing platform will make it even easier.

When it comes to email marketing, consistency is key – this means brand consistency, frequency, and content type. Whether you send a monthly or quarterly EDM depends on how much valuable information you have to share. This will help you better engage with your audiences and develop a loyal following of readers.

3. Public relations (PR)

PR is hard work but when it pays off, it pays big!

It is a powerful tool where a third party spreads your organisation’s brand and/or message, creating greater credibility (i.e. if someone else says you’re great – it carries much more weight than you saying it!). PR also allows you to build a solid and credible reputation for your brand, organisation or team members, keeping your brand front-of-mind.

4. Advertorials and paid advertising

The media landscape in Australia has changed significantly in the last couple of years, with many media agencies turning to advertorials as their prime story type. Paid advertorials involve organisations paying for articles to be written about their brand.

Although this is a significant change – it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You are paying for the piece so you are guaranteed coverage, you have more control of the messaging and you can be more direct in your language, e.g. mentioning specific products / services.

And a little spend can also greatly assist in achieving coverage in your PR efforts.

5. SEO & SEM

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are vital to your success and if they aren’t currently part of your strategy, they should be.

SEO is an organic approach to ensure your website appears as high as possible in search engine results. SEM is a paid approach to appear in search results. The rules of play for SEO and SEM are constantly changing as search engines become more intelligent at examining content and understanding what consumers are looking for, how they are searching and what they respond to.

If any of these channels are not currently included in your communications strategy, they may the piece of the puzzle that could really boost your communications efforts. If they are already included, are they being used as effectively as possible?

Do you need a business health check?

Do you need a business health check? - Zadro Agency

Have you looked at your strategy this year? Last year? It’s highly likely a lot has changed; for you, for your people, your clients and the industry you operate in. Now is a great time to conduct a business health check.

One of the most important things you can do is truly understand your stakeholders’ current needs, wants, and desires. This means finding out directly from your audiences, whether that’s through surveys, phone calls, or emails and asking them how they are, what they need and what they’re worried about? Now is also a good time to do a stakeholder map, or revisit your existing one, because the landscape has changed.

You need to be conducting a relationship ‘health-check’. This involves a very real and honest review of your relationships. What is the state of your relationships with clients, prospects, industry and media? How can you nurture those relationships right now?

Next, it’s about reputation management and looking at your organisation from the outside. If you don’t know what your reputation is, it is very difficult to manage it. Are you seen as innovative or a lagger? Are you perceived as very quiet, or have you disappeared completely? Are you seen as winning? What are people saying about your organisation? Establish what you want to be known as, and for, and build evidence to support that.

One of the most important areas to work on right now is building your community around you and keeping connected. Reach out, look at your CRM and your databases, cleanse them, go on LinkedIn, make sure you’re updating your contribution to your social media. Be vocal, active and present. This is not about selling, it is about listening and adding value.

Finally, look at getting ahead of the game for when the gates open to a different landscape. Consumer buying patterns, travel patterns, which suppliers will exist, how events will happen, and so much more will have changed. Now is the time to get ahead of that; don’t think about quarter two or three, think about quarter four and about the next financial year. Think about what you can control and the vision you want for your company.

Where to start?

A plan, to bring calm, realign your team, ensure your team know where the goalposts are and everybody can get on board and get things done.

You need a strategic plan from which you can develop your communications plan, and then you need to activate your plans. For some “strategy” can be a little scary, however it can be as simple as writing your answers to the questions posed above on a piece of paper.

Marketing During Challenging Times

Marketing During Challenging Times - Zadro Agency

At its core, business communication is asking and answering questions.

  • Why should I buy from you?
  • Can I trust you with my event, budget, people, my business?
  • Have you done this before?
  • Do you have the expertise?
  • Why should I work for you / with you?
  • Why are you better than your competitor?
  • Are you going to really care about me? How much are you invested in me and my project?

However, when we go through challenging times, conversations with your people, clients, industry and prospects come into sharp focus. The questions change to: Do I really need you now? Can I afford you? Can I afford not to use you? What else can do you for me? Do I have a job? Can I trust you right now?

The role of marketing communications in your organisation and the strength of your relationships

 Marketing and communications during challenging times is about clearing the noise and focusing on two things: What can the business do right now? And therefore, what change, amendment, cancellation, policy, strategy do I need to communicate right now?

Some companies use their marketing communications to build culture and leadership, manage change, support sales and promotions, but it’s really about the why; to foster relationships.

What are the priorities of the business today?

Communications and organisational objectives should align. If you don’t know what your organisational objectives are, then that’s where you start.

Marcomms people need to be involved in business discussions. They need to know where the business is and what the priorities of the business are now. Is it bunkering down? Is it strengthening relationships? Is it launching new product? Are you moving event dates? Are you having to let staff go? Are you having to keep staff motivated? Are you keeping abreast of the industry changes? Are you having to educate people?

What are your priorities today? You need to put them down on paper.

Think about…

What you have been doing and what has worked, what hasn’t and take your lead from that. Have you had great results in direct mail or SEM or PR? Have you been able to show personality? Have you shown leadership in previous challenges? Have you got great talent within your organisation to use?

Secondly, you need to identify where are the strengths of your relationships? Are they with your client base or have you been so inundated with business that you’ve been transactional and haven’t built deep relationships?

Where the strength of your relationships as a business have been, and what has worked for you in the past is a good indicator of what you should do next. Strong relationships and the community you build around you is the best insurance policy that you will ever have as a business and make the challenging times that little bit easier.

And finally, come back to your why. Why you do what you do, why is it important, why are you driven to do what you do. Articulate it and let it drive your goals and success.

Writing an award? Plan to win!

Writing an award? Plan to win!

In our last blog, we shared the five things to consider when writing an award submission, because we know that having the best product, service, event or marketing campaign doesn’t guarantee you a place among the finalists.

However, before you even get to the point of writing your award, another big key to submission success is planning. Ideally, you should be thinking about your submission one year prior, or at the start of the project, you can then slowly build your pool of resources along the way which will help craft your entire submission.

Set objectives 

At the start of the project, set and document the measurable goals you plan to achieve; this will then make success easy to demonstrate. For example, do you want to achieve a percentage increase in ticket sales, secure a certain amount of media coverage clippings, improve your Net Promoter Score by 10 points, or does the individual or team have KPIs to meet?

Document the process 

It is far easier to keep a record of the process as you go and add to it on the fly, than try to remember the process after the fact. Did you change or implement new business practices, who was involved along the way, did you recruit staff specifically for a project, do you have document templates you used?

Take photos and videos 

The more photos and videos you have the better! You won’t use them all, however you will then have a choice about what photos and videos you submit – remember a picture can tell a thousand words. Progress shots, time lapse video, photos of the final product and the team involved will all make great supporting material for your submission – think of it as the icing on the cake.

Collate documents along the way 

Whether you write your submission yourself, or you engage an agency to write it for you, if you gather documents along the way, when it comes time to write the submission you will have a resource library ready to reference or hand over. This might include presentations, proposals, plans, CAD drawings, case studies, stakeholder communications, etc. Consider adding an “Award Resources” folder to your files and dropping things in as you go. 

Get Third-Party Feedback and Endorsement 

You know what you are submitting is award-winning, however someone else endorsing you carries a lot more weight. Survey results from attendees of an event, testimonials from multiple clients and suppliers, media coverage of your event or organisation or individual, even an informal email singing your praises – these will all help to bolster your award-winning case.

Get involved 

Whether you are entering as an organisation or an individual, the more you can demonstrate that you are involved in more than just your own business pursuits, the better. Award judges look for those who go above and beyond; those who contribute to the industry, are active members of relevant associations, are donating their expertise for charitable purposes, are involved in philanthropy. The “extracurricular” will make you stand out.

 

Writing an award submission is quite the task, however by planning to enter an award and following these tips, by the time you need to write your submission, you will have most of the information you’ll need to reference at your fingertips and be ahead of the game.

If you haven’t already, check out our blog about Five things to consider when writing an award submissionHERE.

The team at Zadro have written and won awards for our own work, as well as on behalf of many clients. Find out more here or feel free to get in touch about your award submission plans and questions, contact us at advice@zadroagency.com.au.

Five things to consider when writing an award submission

Five things to consider when writing an award submission

Winning an award can have a significant impact on your business. It can attract recognition and new business – however having the best product, service, event or marketing campaign doesn’t guarantee you a place among the finalists.

The key to making it into the shortlist is how you tell your story in the submission. Before deciding to enter an award, it is important you take the time to consider a few things first:

  1. Understand the submission criteria and make sure you chose the most suitable category.

Before you start writing your submission take a careful and thorough look at the criteria. You don’t want to be disqualified just because you exceeded the word count or your work was completed outside the qualifying period. In the same vein, are you entering the most suitable category – a critical decision to make from the start. Do you have enough evidence to demonstrate the winning results of your work? Do you have all the necessary information to address the criteria effectively with enough detail?

  1. Identify what makes your entry different.

What is it about your entry that makes your submission unique? What idea or insight makes it stand out from the others? How does the campaign support your broader business objectives?

  1. Tell a story, don’t just regurgitate the information.

Your entry needs to tell a story and hook the judges from the get-go. If you simply repeat information or present a spreadsheet of how your campaign had a phenomenal ROI and engagement, the likelihood is you won’t be a finalist. It needs to be enjoyable and engaging for the judges to read – they are judging a lot of submissions, you want to stand out.

  1. Know your audience, but don’t assume that they know you.

When you are creating your entry, write it under the assumption that the person reading it has never heard of you, nor are they familiar with industry terminology or jargon. Make your submission simple, clear and easy to read.

  1. Don’t leave it to the last minute to decide to enter!

Leaving your awards submission to the last moment will make you feel rushed, stressed and can lead to basic errors. Allowing sufficient time to collate, draft, polish and submit your entry will ensure you produce the best possible submission.

A good award entry requires time, hard work, teamwork and collaboration to create a high-quality submission. We often suggest interviewing multiple members of your team to delve deeper and uncover those hidden gems (sometimes you might not even realise what you are doing is award-winning!) and fill in any gaps in your submission.

The team at Zadro are the experts in developing a compelling, professional and winning submission via our tried and tested process – and we can show you the awards (and shortlists) to prove it. Find out more here, or contact us at advice@zadroagency.com.au.

Communicate Better on your social channels

Communicate Better on your social channels - Zadro Agency

Are you unsure about what to say, when to say it and how to say it on your social channels? Then we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled the answers to the questions we get asked most frequently and our top tips to help you communicate better on social media.

Which channel should we be on?

All social media channels are not created equal. To illustrate this, we’ll use one of the Zadro teams’ favourite things.

  • Facebook: I like coffee
  • LinkedIn: I am skilled in the art of coffee drinking
  • Instagram: Here’s a picture of my coffee
  • Twitter: I am drinking #coffee
  • TikTok: Watch a 15-60 second video of me making and drinking my coffee with music (I might dance or tell a joke)
  • Snapchat: Watch me drink a coffee
  • YouTube: This is me making a coffee, and now I’m drinking it
  • Some channels will be more appropriate for you than others – you want to choose the right channel(s) and the one(s) where your audience is.


What should we be posting about?

It’s best to have a plan about what content you want to post, however, you can post about almost anything, including:

  • Your team, what they’re up to and raise the profiles of team members
  • Anything new to your company e.g. Team members, equipment, innovations, etc.
  • Celebrations for the team or clients e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, professional achievements, award wins
  • Hot topics in your industry
  • Events you host
  • Partner/sponsor news – an easy value add!
  • How to guides
  • You can even pose questions or run a poll to encourage interaction

Be sure to mix up your content and do share other people’s relevant news e.g. industry news, new research or insights, fun and entertaining posts about your industry or products and services, or influencer comments or stories about your products or industry.

To increase your reach, ensure to include images and videos – all social channels value good imagery!

How frequently should we post?  

There’s no hard or fast rule here. If you don’t currently have a social media presence, start by consistently posting once a week per channel; whether you’re sharing content, posting an update or doing a live video, it’s the consistency which will make a difference.

Once you’re regularly posting once a week, gauge what’s happening, what engagement you’re seeing and then consider if you want to increase the frequency. Remember to take into consideration your resources and ability to manage your channels, even in the busy times – don’t disappear.

How should we respond to negativity?

You don’t have complete control over social media and so this may happen at some point. Respond promptly and publicly to the comment to advise you have sent them a private message and invite them to respond to that message. If the post is offensive – a good litmus test for this, is if it would make your grandmother blush – ‘hide’ the comment. Be active and monitor the comments, engage, say thank you; social is just that, it’s social so use it to create a dialogue directly with your audience.

Where do I get images from?

If you’re sharing a link, an image may already ‘pull through’ from the link you’re sharing. If not, Canva is a really great way to create social images, you can even add text to them.

How does social media help us Communicate Better?

Social media is a factor in your customers’ decision to buy from you, join your organisation, attend your events, listen to. If you’re not on social media, you may be missing out on reaching generations of people who rely on the channels for their information.

Want to know how you can Communicate Better on your social media? Ask the experienced team at Zadro how they can take your social channels to the next level. Check out our social media case study here.

Communicate Better: The value of video

Communicate Better: The value of video – Zadro Agency

If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video sells a story! Since its inception, we’ve always known that video is a powerful channel when used correctly in marketing. What started out as a tool that marketers thought expensive and laborious to produce, is now the most valuable piece of content a brand can create and share. Everyone is using video and almost everyone is consuming it. A study by Cisco states that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic.

Video marketing has evolved, most recently the rise of fully immersive user experiences. In 2020, we were strolling through MOMA in the comfort of our own homes and appreciating Picasso, Van Gogh and Warhol works. Improved technology makes brands more accessible, offers wide spread reach and most importantly gives companies a canvas to tell an engaging story.

Video is not only a great way to engage and ignite the emotions of your audience, it builds trust, as well as shows great ROI, encourages social share and can boost conversion and sales.

There are many ways you can package your brand story through video. Depending on your goal, you can use video to demonstrate a product, introduce a corporate vision, share an event snapshot/keynote, use for expert interviews, educate/demonstrate how to do something, give a testimonial or case study or even use it as a fun way to explain a subject that is better suited to an animation. Whatever your purpose ensure you have a clear, strong call to action.

How you deliver your video content is equally important as the story you create. Youtube and Vimeo have been the traditional hosting platforms for video content. As demand for video content grows, so too does the way it can be delivered. Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn have all adapted to include video products, which have delivered higher engagement than text based content. We even have Tik Tok now as the latest video based platform. Your video content should also be on your website. Use it in relevant blogs, on your social media channels and even incorporate it in your company newsletter.

Feeling inspired? Read Biteable’s Video Marketing Guidelines here and learn how you can develop and sell your story with video.

Check out some of the videos we’ve created for our clients here.

Communicate Better: Through professionalism

Communicate Better: Through professionalism - Zadro Agency

Being professional in the workplace can mean many different things to individuals and companies – the core values of the company often dictate how we interpret what being professional means to us as an individual.

For businesses whose core identity is built around being fun, cool and friendly, dressing in a corporate suit might make you less approachable to the business’s target market. However, if you’re a corporate law firm, your clients might not view you as professionals if your staff are wearing a branded t-shirt and jeans.

Think along the lines of: Steve Jobs at Apple; Mike Cannon-Brookes at Atlassian; Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen the British interior designer – they have famously built their own professional identity into their brand.

However, being professional extends far beyond your dress code. It encompasses your behaviour, attitude, your interactions with others, the delivery of your responsibilities. I asked the team to share what they thought being professional means; here are some of their responses:

“Clean cut, respectful and considered – this goes for clothing, behaviour, attitude. To be professional you must constantly be aware of where you are, who you’re with and the way you connect in different situations.”

“Being able to get the job done while showing respect for your team. Doing what you say you are going to do. Being authentic, reliable, and courteous.”

“Holding yourself to a high standard and continually looking for improvement in yourself and helping others to raise their standards.”

Being polite, dressed appropriately, on time. Listening and really hearing the client or the person you are working with and trying to understand their point of view.”

“Leaving your personal life at the door (within reason!) and doing your job. It’s developing your own personal brand, whatever you want it to be and being reliable for your boss and your colleagues.”

As you can see, common themes of what professional means to our team emerged: respect, reliability, ethics, being a team player, listening, and manners.

What does “professional” mean to you as an individual? What does it mean to the organisation you work for? How can you leverage professionalism to communicate better? 

Stay tuned for the next blog in our Communicate BetterTM series when we look at how you can leverage some of the 2020 marketing trends to communicate better.

How can you Communicate Better?

How can you Communicate Better? - Zadro Agency

Communication is how we connect as businesses and people. It allows us to build relationships and evolve through understanding. In order to communicate better we need to stop and listen to those we are trying to communicate with and consider the context in which we are connecting – this has never been more vital given the current situation.

The communications landscape is changing constantly with multiple platforms emerging; it is hard to keep up with not only what channel you use to communicate, but how and when you should be communicating. When it comes to the choice of channels, it is critical you select the right ones to ensure you reach your audience with the greatest impact.

To communicate better, organisations need to consider their first step in the process – listening. Whilst it can be confronting and you may hear things you don’t like, you should ask your stakeholders for their honest feedback and then listen to what they are saying. It is so important to listen to the people who have the greatest influence over your organisation’s success.

Organisations can also communicate better when the internal mechanics of a company match the external representation of it; forming a seal of integrity. When you are what you say you are, everyone wins. Look at your values, key messages and goals and why you do what you do; articulate who you want to be, so that you can communicate that to the world.

Clearly determining your identity and what motivates you is a great place to start communicating from. To communicate better you need to focus on the impact you have rather than simply what you do.

Stay tuned for the next blog in our Communicate BetterTM series when we look at how you can communicate better through professionalism.

What does communicate better mean?

What does communicate better mean? - Zadro Agency

Communication is the source of success in business, and in life.

It’s how we work out who we are in the world, how we make our contribution, how we learn, how we share, how we connect, it’s how we get ‘stuff’ done, and being able to communicate well and clearly is important to all of us.

The first rule of communication is to listen, and assume you know less than everyone else around you.

Businesses need to stop and listen to your audiences; your clients, your prospects, the industry, and most importantly, your staff; and, hear what they are saying.

When we can listen openly, and without agenda, the insights gained can be very influential on how we communicate externally and internally within our organisation. We need to communicate better as individuals and as organisations because the world around us is noisier than ever before.

We are receiving messages all the time – 24/7 – in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities, through our families, through friends. Even though we have more opportunities to communicate with each other, particularly using digital platforms, it feels like people aren’t listening, they are tuning out. There is a wall of noise which never existed as it does today; our mission is to cut through the noise.

Communicating better is about much more than your services and products, it is about understanding who you are, what your value is as an organisation to the world and what your point of difference is; when we can communicate those things, clearly, frequently, and with passion, that is when we can cut through the wall of noise.

Communicate better means something different to everybody, every person, and every company. It could be more sales, a higher retention of staff and clients, it could be a different positioning in market, or an increased brand awareness. It’s about looking at what you are doing as a community, as a company, as an employer, as a supplier, and where you are today and moving forward in the direction you need to go to fulfill your vision.

Zadro has been in the business of communication for nearly 13 years; we’ve seen the evolvement of business communication, trends emerge and influence the landscape, channels come and go. However, throughout all the changes, we have always known one thing: communication is the source of success in business. It has never been more important to communicate better.

Stay tuned for the next blog in our Communicate BetterTM series when we share with you what you can do to communicate better.