The Building Blocks of Agility in Communications

Our Bell­mont Part­ners team will be the first to say that cre­at­ing a roadmap with clear strat­e­gy and thought­ful devel­op­ment is a cru­cial part of hav­ing a suc­cess­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan. And we also will affirm the need for flex­i­bil­i­ty to adapt and take advan­tage of unique, unfore­seen oppor­tu­ni­ties. Whether that means jump­ing to respond to a journalist’s query on short dead­line or cre­at­ing a proac­tive pitch to take advan­tage of a trend or news event, hav­ing a nim­ble team can be the dif­fer­ence between see­ing your com­pa­ny in the spot­light – or read­ing about your com­peti­tor instead.

So, how can com­mu­ni­ca­tions teams set them­selves up to find the right bal­ance of plan­ning and agili­ty? Here, we share three build­ing blocks will get the team off to a good start.

  1. Prepa­ra­tion – As iron­ic as it may seem, the teams that are best at being spon­ta­neous are those that are the most pre­pared. A key mes­sage doc­u­ment is an excel­lent place to begin, and a pri­or­i­ty to ensure there is approved mes­sag­ing ready to go on a moment’s notice. In addi­tion, iden­ti­fy­ing who your spokes­peo­ple are for a vari­ety of top­ics, and mak­ing sure that they are media trained, will allow for quick coor­di­na­tion of inter­view requests. Build­ing trust is also impor­tant for prepa­ra­tion – both with­in the inter­nal team and with any exter­nal part­ners. Where there’s a high lev­el of trust, all par­ties will feel more com­fort­able mov­ing swift­ly to take advan­tage of an oppor­tu­ni­ty instead of watch­ing it go by because they’re unsure or don’t have the coun­sel to help vet and con­firm the strat­e­gy to go for it.
  2. Dai­ly Prac­tices – Cer­tain habits can either help or hin­der a team’s abil­i­ty to bob and weave. When peo­ple get bogged down in emails or are sched­uled in back-to-back meet­ings all day, there’s not room for lis­ten­ing and cre­ativ­i­ty. Carv­ing out time to care­ful­ly look through query ser­vices such as HARO or ProfNet, read the news and stay up-to-date with your con­nec­tions and influ­en­tial folks on LinkedIn is an invest­ment in your com­mu­ni­ca­tions efforts. At Bell­mont Part­ners, our client teams do this in a vari­ety of ways based on what is best for each client and our col­leagues who work on the account. For some, it means there’s one ded­i­cat­ed per­son who looks at queries each day, and for oth­ers, it’s a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty that rotates. We all are encour­aged to stay cur­rent on indus­try news and trends that are applic­a­ble to our clients, and we’re allo­cat­ed time to do just that. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – find what works for your team, and run with it.
  3. Pri­or­i­ti­za­tion – It would be easy to get lost in the vast wilder­ness chas­ing down poten­tial oppor­tu­ni­ties, so it’s key to eval­u­ate each through a thought­ful lens. For us, it boils down to what is the val­ue, and what is the cost, and know­ing that some­times the best deci­sion is to pass on a pos­si­ble quick-turn oppor­tu­ni­ty to focus on the strate­gic plan. Right off the bat, we con­sid­er basic ques­tions. What out­let is the oppor­tu­ni­ty for? How large is the poten­tial audi­ence? How soon is the dead­line? Then, we take a look at the big­ger pic­ture. What else is going on with our client at this time? Are their spokes­peo­ple in board meet­ings for the next few days, or would there be avail­abil­i­ty for any need­ed inter­views? Does the client have a unique per­spec­tive to add to the con­ver­sa­tion, are they tru­ly an expert in this area, or would we be try­ing to wedge a square peg into a round hole? If there’s a slim chance that the jour­nal­ist would be inter­est­ed, it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter to spend the ener­gy elsewhere.

Tak­ing these steps to build a strong, strate­gic foun­da­tion can open up a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties. With thought­ful prepa­ra­tion, dai­ly prac­tices and pri­or­i­ti­za­tion, your team can com­mu­ni­cate at the next lev­el ‑con­nect­ing with new peo­ple, shar­ing your sto­ry and get­ting the cov­er­age you’ve dreamed of.

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