Make them SMART: Setting Communication Objectives
Communication, whether on or offline, needs to be carefully planned. How else can you stand out in a highly connected world, with audiences bombarded with images, messages and videos everywhere they look?
All communication plans, be it in public relations or on social media, start with identifying your ultimate goals, then defining your audiences, and then setting SMART objectives. Let us take a closer look.
Firstly, what is your goal?
Every business, NGO or individual has an ultimate goal. It could be to sell more, drive traffic to your website, raise funds or simply let people know you are here. Define that goal or goals, to be able to build a communication strategy to help you achieve this goal.
Secondly, who are we talking to? Defining your target markets.
Narrow down your audiences based on demographic, geographic and psychographic factors. Unless your company sells products or services for the masses, you need to clearly define who you are intending to speak to, what drives them and where they are located. You also need to define, as a result of your communication efforts, what actions you want them to take and what behaviors you want to create.
Then set your SMART objectives
Communication objectives can either be SMART, or you might as well scrap them. What does SMART stand for?
Specific – For starters, we need to get specific when setting an objective. This includes adding details of what you are trying to accomplish. i.e. Increase traffic to Company X’s website by 30% in the span of 6 months.
Measurable – But what is an objective, if it cannot be measured? You need to set objectives that you can actually quantify, with measurement tools put in place to do so.
Actionable – All objectives need to be action driven and attainable. Do not set long-shot goals that overwhelm you. Try to break them down into smaller steps that can be achieved, leading you to your ultimate goal.
Realistic – We all know that grand dreams and goals might not go according to plan. Be realistic when setting your objectives. We recommend a periodical review to ensure you are on the right track. Quarterly reviews are best, unless you are in a fast-paced industry and need results now.
Timely – What is the timeframe you want to achieve these objectives by? Very few of us (read: none of us) can plan ahead for the coming 5 years. Markets and tastes change. Economies fluctuate. Products can become obsolete. Technology advancements appear by the minute. Set objectives that are time-constrained and can be achieved with a proper plan in the coming 6 to 12 months.
At The Commery, we help companies, NGOs and individuals set their communication strategies. Get in touch to learn how.
Written by The Commery’s Ceem Haidar