Recently I came across two quotes online that caught my attention:
“The goal is to provide inspiring information that moves people to action.”
–Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva
“Without strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff.”
–Arjun Basu, SVP of Content Strategy at Bookmark Content
In my new role as director of strategic communications at Bentz Whaley Flessner, the premise behind these quotes speaks to the intersection between “strategy” and “communication.” As fundraising consultants collaborating with clients on campaigns, developing compelling and persuasive content is a vital part of philanthropic marketing. But simply developing content is not enough; after all, that’s inherently tactical in nature.
Before getting down to the hard work of writing text, creating graphics that provide, and choosing photos that visually advance the story, it’s essential to critically think through the campaign in its entirety and create a strategic framework for essential communications efforts.
Of course, being strategic means creating a plan of action for disseminating key messages to selected targeted audiences at particular times and in a specified sequence to drive desired actions–all in service to overarching objectives and the mission. But being strategic also means your efforts are intentional and proactive, that you are determining the narrative arc, and to the extent possible in this digital world, controlling the outbound message. Having a strategic communications plan provides the underpinning to stay focused on the task at hand, thereby using time wisely (plus, a plan affords you the ability to reject any off-strategy ideas thrown out by well-meaning colleagues or stakeholders). The plan ensures that key messages are communicated consistently and frequently, which in turn amplifies them and increases the likelihood that they will be remembered.
In the end, it’s all about communicating purposefully to effectively deliver relevant messages to desired audiences. The messages have to mean something to those audiences and they have to inspire people to act, and the communications efforts have to be in service to achieving broader objectives. When you accomplish these things, then you’ll know your communications efforts have been strategic, not just more noise.