As we enter August, a lot of people are talking about vacation and getting ready for back to school. This time of year is often referred to as the summer slowdown and gives communications pros a chance to regroup. Although a lot of us remain as busy as ever, August typically offers a brief respite for recharging. Use this time to conduct a summer communications checkup. Blocking a few hours on your calendar to evaluate current performance and make adjustments to your communications strategy will reap dividends and ensue you stay focused and on target.
Here are our top five recommendations to add to your checklist for a summer communications checkup that will get you ready for a successful rest of the year:
Revisit Your Communications Plan: Hopefully you’ve been diligent about following your strategic communications plan for the year. But it can be tough to consistently revisit that plan as immediate needs diverge from what you anticipated at the beginning of the year. That’s ok! Now is an ideal time to pull out the plan and closely review the tactics you outlined. Take time to consider what’s working. Is there an idea in the plan you haven’t tried yet? Reviewing your plan can spark inspiration and help you get back on track.
Evaluate Your Goals: As part of a plan review, take time to closely examine the goals you’ve outlined. Are you meeting those goals? Where are you excelling? Where do need some additional help or resources? Don’t forget to take a critical eye toward your goals and consider if the priorities from January are still your organization’s top priorities in August. If not, adjust your goals to reflect any major changes.
Review Your Metrics: Setting measurable objectives for your communications strategy is crucial because it allows you to gauge if your efforts are making an impact. As part of your summer communications checkup, take a closer look at the metrics you’re using. Now that we’re more than halfway through the year, consider if these measures are accurate and providing you with the details needed to evaluate your success. Be careful to avoid those vanity metrics, though!
Adjust Your Budget: There’s still approximately five months remaining in the year, so don’t be afraid to adjust your resource allocation. As you evaluate your goals and revisit tactics, you may discover that one tactic or communications channel is clearly outperforming others. Leverage this data to adjust your budget and invest more in this high-performing area. Don’t forget that when considering your budget, you also should take into account other resource allocations, such as team member time.
Refresh Editorial Calendars: All organizations pivot and evolve throughout the year. Media outlets are no different. Late summer is the perfect time to conduct additional editorial calendar research. Double check those calendars to ensure topics haven’t changed. Also, some outlets begin releasing next year’s ed cals in August and September, so you can get a jump start on future planning as well.
The August slowdown is a great time for a breather, but it also offers you the opportunity to reset for the fall. Take advantage of this time to conduct a thorough summer communications checkup so you and your team are primed for an exceptional remainder of the year!