With a big nod to Chris Brogan, here’s a simple approach to digital communications to help get you started or to look afresh at what you’re already up to. Remember, whilst this is a great place to start, everyone’s circumstances are different, so make sure your choices (blog site, networks, goals, measure etc.) properly reflect your goals and the needs of your audience.
* Be clear about who you’re trying to reach and why. Create and maintain a record (a database or spreadsheet) of all contacts; prospects, customers, colleagues, mentors, resources etc.
* Set up a blog; a blog is the core of this digital communication strategy, it’s where new content is posted and the place your contacts are encouraged to keep visiting.
* Build an email list based on your database – email ensures that you can reach people, no matter how social networks rise and fall in popularity, or how your audience’s enthusiasm for using them changes.
* Establish yourself on 1-2 social networks (use more if you have the time and are convinced of their value but don’t be drawn into feeling the need to be everywhere). Select your networks based on where your audience are, the quality of functions and features, and how easy they are to use.
* Create an integrated content strategy; include what and when you’ll publish and which channels you’ll use for what (be careful to limit the number of emails, use them only for key content or occasional reminders for those who might not see network updates). Be clear about the objective – to keep people interested, engaged, informed and willing to hear more from you.
* Set about building a community; reach out and connect with a mix of those already known to you, key ‘influencers’ in the space and new contacts who are looking to share and participate.
* Remember that the goal of your community is to share your knowledge and help the people you connect with, opportunities for future business and friendships will come as a result of the goodwill your sharing engenders.
* Identify 3-5 simple key metrics (incl. something about cost / investment and make sure the rest are meaningful not just numbers of re-tweets or followers) and set goals or targets.
* Regularly review progress against your goals and either keep stretching your targets or learn how to get better if you aren’t reaching them.