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Communications Planning: The Principles

Here are my all-time Top 5 Principles for strategic communications planning: Communications should be focused on results, rather than activity. Often, communicators are in the business of generating “stuff” – speeches, media releases, and promotional materials. The communications function is much more effective when it is driven to generate results, such as increased rates of…

Being Strategic is a State of Mind

How many times have you heard your colleagues or leaders go on about how the world would be a better place if the people around them could just be more strategic? You know… as in: “Man, if I could just hire more strategic communicators we could actually get something done around here” Or… “That Mary…

Why Communicators Don’t Get No Respect

Let me take a wild guess: a certain amount of your interactions with colleagues inside your organization leaves you quietly banging your head on your desk. We may as well laugh about this aspect of our jobs when we can. Take a look at these Twitter-sourced suggestions for “Sh*t Communicators Say”, and think about how…

Chickens and Eggs, Budgets and Tactics

Here’s a puzzler: in creating a communications strategy, which comes first – the tactics or the budget? I’m often asked the above question in Results Map workshops. And the answer, as with so many of life’s great chicken-and-egg questions, is “it depends”. But let’s backtrack a moment to some general points about communications budgets. You…

Why do Most Communications Strategies Fail?

As a strategic communications junkie, one of the saddest realities to face is that I’m convinced that most communications strategies fail. Yup, you read that right. The majority of communications strategies fail, because they never get implemented. Overwhelmingly, the reason is simple: Because the strategy was written as a document, rather than being the results…

Messaging as Architecture and Alignment

Communicators do themselves a great disservice when they don’t appreciate the real value that solid messaging can bring to their communications. Too often, messaging takes the form of a bulleted list jammed with buzzwords that don’t really say much of anything. And it’s a sad sign when that happens; my sense is that many communications…

A Conversation about Communications Strategy

IABC Ottawa produces a terrific podcast series called the Voice that’s shared among other IABC Chapters across Canada. I was fortunate to be a guest on the show, to talk about all things strategic communications planning with Marlene Floyd, Principal of the Earnscliffe Strategy Group. Turns out our podcast has had the most downloads of…

How and Why to Evaluate Invisible Value

As I’ve often blogged about before, there’s nothing more important to your communications career than using evaluation to demonstrate the value you bring to your organization. Yet one of the most frustrating things about being a communicator is that some of the areas in which we add the most value are often invisible. They’re the…

Unleash Your Inner Consultant

One of the things that often drives communicators crazy about their jobs is the Superhero Consultant syndrome. You’ve been advocating for months—maybe even years—in favour of a course of action your organization should take to step up its communications. You know it’s the right thing to do, and you’ve got research and consultation findings to…

Getting Down to Tactics

When you’re immersed in the long haul of strategic communications planning, figuring out tactics may well be the most exciting part of the whole enterprise. At last, you get to translate all of your conceptual planning into concrete activities that achieve results! Here’s the most important thing to keep in mind as you enter the…