What every communicator needs to know about their diet

It was interesting to read in the Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2015 that Australians continue to enjoy a “balanced digital diet”. The research showed that even though the use of social media has continued to rise dramatically, other more traditional forms of media still play a big part in how we get information.

It’s so tempting to focus our communication efforts on social media because it’s cheap or free, easy to access and we get instant feedback from our audiences. And while all of that is true, it’s important we still consider the other half of the media equation - the “traditional” media, made up of our old friends; newspapers, television, magazines and radio. Yes, old-style media outlets are shrinking but for now at least, they still exist and continue to influence our lives.

While there are phenomenal opportunities to get your message to the world through the growing array of digital channels, communicating through the traditional media brings some benefits that you won’t necessarily get through social media.

They include having an outside party - a journalist - presenting your story, which in many cases adds to its credibility (yep, even though most people would say they don’t trust the media, they’re more likely at some level to trust a story written by an independent person that something you’ve posted on your own Facebook page)

You’re also likely to reach people who aren’t subscribed to your social media channels – and best of all, you can use your media coverage as powerful content for your social media, providing the perfect mix of old and new. 

Regardless of the channel you use - online, offline, virtual, visual, whatever it happens to be – you won’t be effective if your message is unclear and you’re saying it to the wrong people. Great communication starts with having solid objectives, being crystal-clear on what you need to say, and knowing your audience and how they’ll consume and engage with your content. If you neglect those steps, it doesn’t matter how many social media channels you use, you’ll be taking the scattergun approach and your communication will suffer. 

Here are three steps to keep your communication on track, whatever the method.

1. Have clear messages. Sit down and plan before you do anything. Articulate what you need to convey. Plan first, then communicate - not the other way around. Know what you need to say and who you’re saying it to, then choose how you're going to say it.

2. Slice and dice your content many different ways. We have so many channels available and it can be time-consuming to service them all. Be smart with the way you manage your information. Produce your content once, serve it up many ways. If you craft your material well, you can make it fit multiple purposes, from tweets and posts to old-fashioned media releases and publications.

3. Integrate your new and old media. These days the term “media” can mean anything from the next big thing in social networking to the most traditional print publication. That doesn’t matter, because you can make it all work together. If you go after positive media coverage and end up with a great print, radio or TV story, make sure you use that in your social media to get even more bang out of the experience. You can also promote your social media successes in your more traditional publications. Get your channels working together!
So, while we’re in this phase of the “balanced digital diet”, make sure you’re communicating across all channels in moderation rather than bingeing on one particular platform. Those patterns may well change in the future but for now, don’t turn your back on the old ways completely or you risk neglecting people who might just be open to your message.

Need help with communication? I show businesses and organisations how to be stand-outs - by working directly with them, or by running workshops to train their teams to be outstanding communicators. I'm also a conference speaker - book me to speak at your next conference or event. You can see me in action on stage here.  Call 0416 913 243, email neryl@neryleast.com or visit my website, www.neryleast.com