There’s a lot about communications that feels complex: strategy, timing, getting media attention, using the right words. But here’s one thing that’s simple: being consistent.
When I say “being consistent,” I mean you often can, and should, use the same message over and over again, all over the place. Why? Because your entire audience is not in the same place. Someone might see the message on Facebook. Someone else might see it on Twitter, or on your website, or on the poster on the front door of your building, or in the media.
Businesses get this wrong a lot, and I’ve seen the issue exacerbated during the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic.
Take this example: the other day, a friend of mine and I ran into each other at the gym. We decided to go get lunch together, so a moment later we both had our phones out and were googling lunch spots nearby. We wanted a patio to enjoy the spring weather, and we both landed on the same, nearby cafe. My friend said, “Looks like the patio is closed; their Google listing says they’re only available for curbside and takeout.”
I said, “I’m on their website, and it doesn’t say that. It just says their hours.” We decided that their website was more likely to be up-to-date than their Google listing and headed that direction. Lo and behold, Google had it right, and we were back to square one.
This is a perfect example of when a message is not consistent across tactics. I have to give it to this cafe for updating their Google listing–that’s often something companies forget. But further study showed that not only their website, but also their social media channels were missing this important information. Though early on in the pandemic they had posted about being closed for indoor and patio dining, this information was not prominent on their Twitter or Facebook. It wasn’t in their profile, or pinned to the top of their feed.
You may now be asking, how can I make sure I’m consistent with my COVID-19 messaging? Here’s my recommendation: create a checklist of all the communications channels you use. That might look something like this:
Depending on the size, resources, and industry of your business, there might be a lot more–or a lot less–on your checklist, but the goal is to include every place a customer might look for information on your business.
Then, when there’s a change to your operations, work to articulate that change concisely and clearly, and put that message on each of your checklist channels. You may need to adapt your message given the channel, but the core and objective of your message should remain the same.
That’s how simple it is! Pick your message, and put it everywhere. This is especially important in this rapidly changing environment we’re living in today, but it’s also applicable to most general communications strategies. Keep your message consistent, and you’ll keep your audience informed.