This past year highlighted the importance of digital communications as we worked from home. To make sure your audience receives your messages across a variety of platforms, partnering with your IT team is vital. Building these skills will help you think about content differently and develop new tactics and strategies to make sure your message is heard.
1. Learn the lingo.
Learn and speak tech jargon. As communicators, we are naturally curious and seek to understand. Use those skills to listen and ask questions to help you familiarize unique terminology and translate information to your teams. Speaking in jargon demonstrates your willingness and ability to absorb new details quickly and fosters productive conversations when partnering with your IT team and vendors.
2. Understand URLs.
A plethora of content lives online within public facing websites and intranets. We send links to content in emails, newsletters, and social channels. If the same link is used, it’s hard to know which channel is most effective in directing the reader to the content. Use of coding to track links when clicked helps determine where the audience is paying the most attention. Creating and naming URLs with descriptive terms can also be effective when reviewing analytics. Newsletter software and social channels often offer their own tracking tools. Take advantage of these resources since they provide accurate insights.
3. Focus on analytics.
In communications, it’s critical to know what and how to measure the effectiveness of a campaign to monitor the business’ goals. Each channel typically has its own platform for tracking clicks, views, or visits and a lot of additional metrics you can track; determine which metrics are important for your organization or campaign to focus on and follow those. Learn how to describe what each metric means and why it’s important to track. Click-through rate is pretty self-explanatory, but unique visits may be less understood. Follow through on the call to action in your messages while also tracking actions taken or not at those points. For example, if the message calls for the reader to subscribe to a newsletter or make a financial donation, follow those user actions to see how long they engage with the content and how far donation actions are taken.
4. Acquire basic know-how about websites.
Designing and building websites can require sophisticated technical skills. There are many skilled communicators who are also talented web designers and developers, but I often see communicators defer completely to their web developer. Websites are a key asset in a communications strategy so it pays to have a cursory knowledge of how a site is built, what fixes are easy to do and what features require a higher level of effort to implement.
Communicators must pay attention to how messaging is crafted and received. With so many electronic channels available, it’s important to develop and hone technical skills to keep your corporate value current and competitive.
Beth Perell is the principal of her communications and consulting practice, Beth Perell, LLC. Learn more at bethperell.com.