In any business, there are two main types of communication: internal and external. The distinction between the two has become less clear in recent years. Thus, businesses must have a successful plan.
Whether you have to make a major announcement or create a new product for the masses, you need an external communication plan. Establishing a strategy guarantees the message reaches your clients and customers. So what’s the best way to go about it and how to ensure your plan is successful?
What is an External Communication Strategy? – Explained
Before mapping out your strategy, what does an external communication plan entail?
External communications help you communicate your brand's purpose and personality to the public. It aims to connect your organization with a larger audience to build trust and promote advocacy among them.
Additionally, it aims to highlight the "message" the organization wants to deliver. Once you’ve identified that, it’s just a matter of reaching your desired audience. There are quite a few ways of doing so. It completely depends on the message type and channels you can use.
The rise in dependency on technology affected the communication environment has also drastically. This means external communications depend not only on traditional formats but also on modern methods that have become prevalent in recent years.
Types of external communication: 6 Ways to get the message across
It doesn’t matter if your organization is big or small. Effective communication improves overall operational efficiency and the success of a campaign or project.
It can be anything from Facebook ads to emails or newsletters to third parties. There are some common types of external communication strategy examples that most businesses follow. However, they can be segmented into specific categories.
#1. Website content & blogging
Nowadays, it’s hard to think of a brand that doesn’t have its own website. Before starting with any old website, run through your launch checklist. Otherwise, without a proper digital presence, it can be difficult for any organization to make its mark in this ever-evolving world.
Moreover, having a blog allows you to provide reliable advice and information. This helps you build authority on topics and helps showcase your expertise. Moreover, you can use blogging as a way to promote company news as well.
Ensure you’re not always pushing or selling yourself. Make your posts more human. Highlight new sustainability efforts or product updates on your page, so your audience knows all the good work you’re doing.
#2. Live events & webinars
The Content Marketing Institute stated that the trend for virtual events & webinars has been rising. Especially with new and improved technology, they can be an interactive way for companies to communicate with their customers and clients.
Other than having digital events, in-person ones also effectively build that one-on-one rapport on a B2B level. They also allow lucrative opportunities to network among various industry leaders, who can be potential partners. On another note, they can even spark conversations among like-minded individuals.
#3. Press releases
As mentioned with blogging, press releases are effective in getting out company news to the masses. These are usually done by reputed news outlets and journalism pages to improve credibility in the industry.
This can help you gain exposure among a new customer base or potential investors. Press releases can also be done in the form of an interview with the company spokesperson. These are quite useful when announcing new changes in an organization and so on.
#4. Social media outreach
According to Statista, in 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost six billion in 2027.
This shows what a powerful reach social media has! It’s nothing new for organizations to leverage these networks. In fact, organizations also use them as a part of their internal communication plan.
An effective external social media strategy connects with its audience on its preferred platforms. Once customers have been targeted, it’s time to deploy your tools and materials.
Share related infographics on Instagram or interact with users via a Facebook poll. Slowly over time, build strong relationships with your customers.
#5. Emails & newsletters
One of the most traditional methods of external communication is sending emails or newsletters. It’s not only needed to promote products and services or company announcements. The main purpose is to strengthen the relationship between the organization and the customer / client.
There are multiple tips for writing an email, but the important part is to showcase the mission statement. The messages you put out into the world must reflect what you stand for as a brand.
#6. Client & customer-facing support
Any organization needs a help desk to answer common customer service questions. This can be information about the company, its policies, returns, etc. Otherwise, customers may not feel that the brand is attending to their needs.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, digital channels will handle 60% of all customer service inquiries. Customer service is the key to determining loyalty to a brand. The better their experience, the more likely they’ll advocate for your company. Moreover, it’s important for any business to listen to their client feedback as that’s how they can improve their product or service.
There can be many ways of providing customer service, however, you’ve to pick one that best suits your audience. Another way to inform clients / customers about your organization is by having knowledge centers. These can be especially useful for passing on your company's practices, policies and processes.
You can even have a FAQ section to answer all the common burning queries on the customer’s mind.
Of course, there can be other formats of communicating externally. But organizations should remember that improper or ineffective communication can negatively impact a company in the long run.
External communication strategy best practices — essential tips & tricks
By elevating your external communication, you can give your company a better understanding of where it stands in terms of communication. Moreover, it can help the teams focus on what has to be done moving forward.
The basic outline of an external communication strategy looks like this:
- Identify the organization’s core message and goals.
- Understand your audience and their needs.
- Deliver content that provides value to your clients and customers.
- Choose an effective communication platform.
- Align with internal communication strategy.
- Track and measure success.
Once you’ve followed this simple guide, that’s not the end. Why don’t we take it to the next level? If you want to improve your net retention rate, implement these effective methods into your strategy.
- Be consistent and transparent with your messaging: Clarify your company's goals and ensure open dialogue between your customers and you. Remember that your mission statement should be at the heart of your strategy and it’s important to maintain that. Being human and genuine will definitely put you above the rest of the competition.
- Always ensure to provide value: Even though it’s mentioned above, this can be easily forgotten when starting a communication plan. Having multiple content formats bombard your consumers left and right can only annoy them. Make sure whatever your message is, it considers what the audience wants and caters to their needs.
- Offer multiple mediums of communication: Sticking to one platform can get boring real fast. Try to reach out to customers via multiple platforms and see which one they respond to more. Learn what appeals to them and recreate what worked, otherwise, you might miss out.
- Stand out from the crowd: With so many brands out there, it’s challenging to stick out. You must ensure that your organization is in touch with your target audience. Look into new technology like AR, VR, or media formats. Try to incorporate them into your strategy so that your consumers are excited about it.
Just having the methods isn’t enough, how can you properly implement your external communication plan? Well, you’ll need the help of tools like Scribe to document your processes.
A great example would be this guide on creating FAQ pages using Zendesk as a preference.
Support your external communications strategies with Scribe
With so many platforms and methods, it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on with your strategy. You can improve your processes by using Scribe in various ways.
Turn on the extension or desktop app, and automatically generate a step-by-step guide complete with all the instructions. Even better, you can edit it and add custom branding to your Scribe in seconds.
We’re not just tooting our own horns, here’s a review from G2 you can have a look at as well.
So, start integrating Scribe into your external communication plan. Trust us, it’s a lifesaver.