Design an Effective Strategic Communications Plan


Businesswomen communicating by tablet. Photo via Pixabay.
Strategic communications means messaging infused with a purpose and a plan. A seasoned communications consultant like me can help you create and send the most powerful messages, through the most effective channels, measured against well-considered organizational and campaign goals.

This is how you orchestrate your messaging across channels to influence public policy or realize your campaign goals.

Your strategic communications plan will promote the brand of your organization or cause; involve messaging across multiple channels (such as email, social media, video, op-eds, blogs, and earned media); target key decision-makers, people who influence those decision-makers, and people who share your interests and values; urge your target audience members to take action; and measure your communications activities and outcomes.

Generally, you want to set strike a balance between distributing key messages and attracting members of your target audiences. And you want to evaluate the impact of your messaging by establishing metrics: meaningful, measurable goals, including any tangible outcomes. A seasoned, professional communicator can design an effective plan tailored to your needs.

When you pursue a strategic communications plan, instead of merely reacting in the spur of the moment, you position your brand in a proactive way that maximizes your impact. When your plan includes appropriate metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that help you constantly improve your performance. And your stakeholders will be impressed by the thoughtful way you report your results.

Contact me to talk about how to design or tune up your strategic communications plan.

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Change Your LinkedIn Headline to Elevate Your Personal Brand

Yoga on mountain by Julia Caesar via Unsplash
Photo by Julia Caesar via Unsplash

As a strategic communications consultant, I often work with executives and leaders who need to enhance their personal brands. One of the first things I do is help you supercharge your LinkedIn profile, starting with a customized headline.

Is your headline merely your latest job title? If so, please change that now. You are so much more than your job title and employer’s name. That’s the kind of headline shared by many of the same people from whom you want to distinguish yourself.

Consider these four questions, and then let’s look at how simple it is to edit your LinkedIn headline:

  1. What’s the expertise for which you most want to be known?
  2. What sets you apart?
  3. Whom do you help?
  4. How do you help them?

Four Tips with Examples of Effective LinkedIn Headlines

Here are tips and examples of how to write the best LinkedIn headlines that focus on what distinguishes your personal brand, whom you help, and how you improve their lives.

First, let your personality and sense of mission shine through.

I could describe myself simply and accurately as a strategic communications consultant in Metropolitan Washington, DC. But that title by itself wouldn’t distinguish me from other consultants or convey what I’m passionate about, the kinds of clients I serve, and a key way that I add value to their branding and messaging efforts.

So here’s how I chose to edit my LinkedIn headline.

Second, market yourself to potential employers, clients, and allies by presenting a unique value proposition: why people want to work with you in particular.

For example, suppose you were a philanthropist or a program officer for a foundation that provides grants to groups that promote peace and security. Then you could optimize your LinkedIn headline to specify: “Visionary program officer at a foundation that supports indigenous groups making the world more secure and sustainable.”

This headline includes keywords that would help potential clients, collaborators, or grantees find you and understand how you can help them contribute to peace and global security.

Or you could directly address your clients and how you meet their needs. That’s what Internet marketer Ana Hoffman of the San Francisco Bay Area did with her headline, “Discover how to get BIG website traffic for small marketing budgets at Traffic Generation Café.”

Does this kind of headline capture all that you do? No, of course not, but neither does your job title and employer’s name. So let your intriguing headline serve as your introduction; they’ll still discover your job title and organization on your resume.

Third, keep your headline concise (no more than 120 characters).

How would you write a short, memorable LinkedIn header for Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent? How about this: Mild-mannered media maven bringing truth and justice to the forefront. Have Superman on speed dial.

Tailoring your LinkedIn headline reveals your personal brand and unleashes the superhero inside you.

Fourth, if you hold two jobs – maybe as a consultant or startup CEO on the side – then feel free to show both aspects of your career.

For example, Andre Duncan is a personal trainer who also owns a minor league football team in Charleston, South Carolina. So he created a LinkedIn profile for his team, the Charleston Ravens, with a headline that describes him as “Owner, Charleston’s first minor league football team and Owner, Duncan Athletics Training.”

How to Change Your LinkedIn Headline

If you’re ready to change your headline now, here’s how easy it is. Just sign into your LinkedIn account, find Profile in the toolbar at the top, then click “Edit Profile.”

Now click on that box right under your name, and start branding yourself in a concise, memorable way that attracts more of the kinds of people with whom you most want to work.

If you need more ideas or help brainstorming your new personal headline, just email me for some free advice. And if you found this piece useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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