Don’t know your copy from your content? Not sure whether PR is the same as marketing? Wondering where to start with a communication strategy for your small business? Read on for an overview of 14 key terms that will help you plan your communication strategy.
‘Audit’ is a term that we associate with financial operations – a close examination of an organisation’s accounts. But, a ‘Communication Audit’ can be an equally highly valuable tool, that can help a business research, plan and implement more strategic communication activities.
A communication audit should look at:
- How effective an organisation’s current communication practices are at meeting broader business goals and objectives
- What is currently being done and how well it is working
- What improvements can be made and how
A communication audit can be conducted in-house or with the help of a professional communication strategist.
A ‘blog’ is a website or webpage that includes chronological posts. A ‘blog post’ is a post published on the blog and a ‘blogger’ is the person who writes the blog.
The term can also be used as a verb – ‘to blog’.
Blogs have been around, in some form, for more than 20 years. How they are used continues to evolve, from personal journal-style posts to what’s become an essential tool in a business’ content marketing toolkit.
Blogs can be written, recorded or videoed and use a variety of visual tools like images, infographics and slideshows for impact.
You can read more about their history in this Hubspot article .
Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive, promotional materials. Its main purpose is to support an organisation’s marketing strategy and ultimately, to encourage target audiences to purchase a product or service.
Copy’ is the term used to describe the written text of a copywriting project.
According to the AWAI copywriting is a $2.3 trillion industry worldwide. In Australia, advertising is estimated to contribute $40 billion to the national economy, according to recent research commissioned by The Communications Council, the peak body representing the advertising and marketing communications industries.
Copywriting can be used to produce brochures, websites, flyers, advertisements, billboards, email newsletters, catalogues and other marketing collateral.
The terms ‘content writing’ and ‘copywriting’ are sometimes used interchangeably. However, strictly speaking, they differ in their purpose. While copywriting is persuasive and associated with driving a direct response from a potential buyer, content writing is more informational and educational and uses content to develop long-term relationships between the organisation and its target audiences.
Content writers typically produce content for use online. Examples include:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
- Web writing
- Slide presentations
- Video scripts
Content marketing is a form of marketing. It focuses on providing valuable, relevant content to a business’ target audience and aims to encourage long-term customer loyalty and sales through relationship building.
Content marketing is strategic, audience-focused and incorporates a variety of content types including social media, email, blogging, online presentations, white papers and infographics, just to name a few.
Email marketing is marketing delivered via permission-given email. It is used to increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty and trust and is considered one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, with an estimated $38 ROI for every dollar spent.
An email campaign might include several emails that are strategically designed to lead a potential customer towards a sale, working on the principle that people are more likely to purchase from somebody they know and trust.
A ‘lead’ or ‘sales lead’ is a potential customer of a company, product or service. They can be categorised as being:
- Cold Leads – prospective customers who have not previously been contacted or shown interest in the business before. Cold leads can either be disinterested in the product or service or simply not ready to buy. Leads can be ‘warmed’ by raising their awareness of the brand and developing their trust in the business.
- Warm Leads – prospective customers who have indicated some interest in the business, service or product, typically by subscribing to a company’s email newsletter.
- Qualified Leads – are the potential customers who are ready to buy. They have the need and budget to make the purchasing decision.
A lead magnet’s purpose is to attract leads, typically email addresses of visitors to a business’ website. To be effective, the product, service or discount offered as an opt-in incentive must be of value to the business’ target audience.
Examples of lead magnets include ebooks, checklists, resource guides, discounts and email courses.
A landing page is a single web page designed to capture and convert sales leads. Effective landing pages should feature:
- A strong headline and supporting sub-headlines
- A balance of text and images, with plenty of white space
- Testimonials or some other form of social proof to encourage trust
- A clear call-to-action
Like to see some examples of landing pages that are both creative and successful? This post from Hubspot is worth a look.
Public Relations, or ‘PR’, as it is also known, is often confused with ‘publicity’, but creating publicity on behalf of an organisation is only one strategy used by public relations’ practitioners. In fact, it has a much broader definition.
Public Relations is the practice of strategically managing the relationships between an organisation and its publics. It focuses on using communication strategies to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and its varied stakeholders. These stakeholders may include customers, clients, employees and others affected by the actions or decisions of the company.
A press release is a one to two page statement that is issued to the media by an organisation for publication. It typically features:
- A headline to grab the reader’s attention
- A statement written on behalf of the organisation that should be newsworthy in content and structure rather than overtly promotional.
- Relevant quotes and contact details.
Press releases are also known as media releases and media statements.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation, or ‘SEO’, is the process of making a website more search-engine friendly and reader-friendly, through the use of keywords and links. A website that has been optimised for SEO aims to appear early in Google search page results, increasing the likelihood that people will easily find it.
Moz has an excellent beginners guide HERE.
The target audience is the intended recipient of your communication message or advertised product. It is typically based on demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, income, education level and nationality. Understanding the characteristics of your target audience helps you in crafting a message that is relevant to your audience. It also helps the company select appropriate channels most likely to reach their audience.
Marketers use ‘Buyer Personas’ to personalise their representation of their target audience.
Unique Selling Proposition
What makes you and your business special or memorable? What makes it unique? How would you like to distinguish yourself in the market in contrast to competitors? Answering these questions helps a business or organisation determine its unique selling proposition. Having a clear USP will underpin a company’s branding and its communication message.