With many state legislatures finished with their session or adjourning in the next few weeks, now is the perfect opportunity to plan ahead and outline new goals, new strategies and new plans for content development. But there’s a step before planning content and that’s reviewing, refining, and testing your organizational messages – yes, those messages that you haven’t changed since the White House changed hands.
Before putting time, money, and resources into developing digital strategies or creating effective content, there should be certainty and organizational consensus that your message will resonate with your community, reach your target audience and remain compelling.
To kick off this process, we recommend getting stakeholders from various teams or departments such as communications, marketing, advocacy, creative, etc. for structured message development exercises. Of course, you can always bring in Beekeeper Group to take an expert-moderated approach to these brainstorm activities.
Here are some tips before getting started.
- Make sure all the participants are aware of the overall decision making criteria for your organization.
- Have relevant research and data on hand so that you have a clear idea of the content that has been resonating with your community as well as an understanding of your allies’ and opponents’ communication efforts.
- Set a time limit for these brainstorms.
- Make follow up activities and decisions clear.
PRSA recommends a quick checklist for this initial output.
- Do they complement your business plans and brand strategy?
- Can you “own” them or can they be applied to competitors?
- When read out loud, do they sound conversational? Ring true?
- Can you simplify the language or make statements more concise?
- Do they motivate stakeholders to act?
Once you have a rough set of messages that your stakeholders are comfortable with, there are three main ways to test what you’ve come up with:
- Surveys – Use surveys to test your messages and garner input from your membership or partners. If there is a particular audience or demographic that will be key moving forward, consider an Omnibus poll, or something quicker and less expensive such as a Google survey.
- Focus groups and in-depth interviews. Bring in the professionals conduct one-on-one interviews with important individuals either via phone or in-person. If phone calls are not an option or difficult to co-ordinate, a great time to do this is at an annual conference or a lobby day when supporters, advocates and other stakeholder are together. In case you were wondering, Beekeeper Group can also help here!
- Social testing – Using Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn to test the waters, garner feedback or even conduct A/B testing for ads is an affordable way to get some feedback.
Once you are satisfied with your set of tested messages, it’s time for the fun part. Setting up times to train your partners and affiliates, updating your website, kicking off a campaign, and creating new content.