3 steps to spring clean your communications

A photo of a hand in a pink rubber glove holding a yellow bottle of cleaning fluid and spraying it from right to left

Spring is definitely in the air and it’s a good idea to spring clean your communications from time to time too. Just as an office revamp can leave you feeling more creative, reviewing your communications will help you clear some space for new ideas to connect with your audience.

3-step plan

I recommend that you follow three simple steps.

1. Dust off your original communications strategy and plan

See what you’ve achieved now that time has moved on. Perhaps you need to set some new goals or update what you know about your audience. Over time, needs and outcomes will have changed and it’s good to look at your plans with fresh eyes.

2. De-clutter your messages

If you’ve been communicating for a while, you will probably have been adding new information and responding to input from your audience. These are important things to do. But if you’re only adding and not taking away, your communications can get cluttered. When you’ve done your job well, your earlier messages will have been received and understood. So you can afford to stop repeating yourself and move on to the new things that you need to say now.

3. Refresh your channels visually

Obviously you will need to stay within your brand guidelines. But if you’ve been using the same old images for a while or your newsletter layout is a bit tired, there’s nothing like bringing in something new to re-energise things. You’ll be surprised at how something simple can grab your audience’s attention if done well.

So that’s my top 3, what will you be doing during your spring clean?

Where to start?

Begin by making a list of all the channels you currently use to communicate with your various audience groups. If you’re working from a comms strategy document, you should already have that information written down somewhere.

The content on some of these channels will be changing frequently, for example your social media channels. While nothing should stand still, some channels will be less dynamic and by their very nature content will be more static, for example information web pages or leaflets. Even on the channels where the specific posts are changing regularly, the underlying messaging may stay the same over time.

Then make a list of what you want to review for. This is a list of things that you might want to check:

  • Language – are the words and terms you are using still up-to-date and appropriate? Is there any jargon that made sense 2 years ago but doesn’t any more? And so on.
  • Accessibility – are you doing everything you can to make your content as accessible as possible?
  • Dates and timelines – is everything still relevant and timely? If you still have an advert for an event that happened 3 months ago, that isn’t a good look and can suggest that your organisation doesn’t have an attention to detail. If you’re referring to a research paper that was published 10 years ago, is it really still relevant? There are some very influential pieces that will be, but not many.
  • Services – are you still offering the things you talk about? Have you started anything new that doesn’t get a mention?
  • Stories – are the people featured still happy for you to tell their story? Approaches to story-telling have evolved over time, is the way you present yours still relevant and appropriate?

Armed with this information, start with the channels that haven’t changed for a while and use your checklist of things to review. See what’s going on and what might need to change. It’s up to you whether you review everything in one go and then put the changes in place. Or you might prefer a cycle of review and change one channel at a time.

If you’re reviewing your content this spring, I’d love to hear how you get on. And if this is something you’d like to do but you need some help, get in touch for a no pressure chat to see if I can offer support.

And remember, it doesn’t have to be a spring clean. Find the time that works best for you and go with that. Regular checks are much quicker and easier than leaving it for a long time and then having a lot to do!

Until next time

Image credit: Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

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