Choosing the right channels for your communication model

I often brainstorm with clients on how to develop their communication model.

But even before creating a communication model, you must first have determined the niche you serve, your ideal customer and your product/service offering. There must be absolute clarity around these three tenets to your business.

Communication is futile without a clear message and a target audience.

So let’s explore this.

I’ll assume you have determined your niche (narrower the better), your ideal customer (outlined & documented their profile) and your product/service offering (defined and priced).

Where it gets confusing for business owners is when they are advised to communicate through almost all channels. When I refer to channels, think of Foxtel channels with each channel representing a different communication medium.

Channels for your communication model might include:
•    In-person 1-1 meetings (coffees, meals or office meetings)
•    Group attendance at in-house events (seminars, workshops, roundtables, retreats, training and functions)
•    Hosting people at external events (sport, arts etc)
•    Authorship (books, blogs, white papers, reports, surveys)
•    Recommended external resources
•    Telephone
•    Email
•    Video (TV, YouTube, Online)
•    Website content
•    Webinars (online webinars)
•    Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
•    Advertising (TV, radio, online,  sponsorship, print media etc)
•    Letters & cards (yes old school but memorable)
•    Other (the possibilities are endless)

With all this noise and the suggestion, or perception, that you have to produce great content using many of these channels is overwhelming.

It reminds me again of Foxtel.

With over one hundred channels to choose from, I’m often overwhelmed as a viewer on the couch.

The best channels on Foxtel have a target niche (genre), ideal customer (viewer) and clear offering (programs).

The History Channel doesn’t have to worry about sport or cooking shows. Fox Sports doesn’t have to worry about politics and drama.

My advice in overcoming overwhelm is to choose communication channels for your business that satisfy just two people.

1.    You
2.    Your ideal customer.

The reason for listing you first is because if you are not interested in the channel, you won’t communicate. You will get bored or run out of inspiration. There is nobody to communicate with if you don’t produce any content. 

The reason you only have to produce content for your ideal customer is because that is who you want to listen and attract. There is no point in communicating in channels that attract customers that are not ideal customers.

So keep it simple.

Just choose channels that please you and your ideal customer.

Think about the channels you are comfortable communicating in and whether your niche market accesses those channels (or will access those channels should you communicate via).

Next select specific channels that you are willing and motivated to commit to communicating in.

Less is more here.

Better to choose a smaller number of channels and create strong rich content that is useful to your audience and make a big bang in that space.

The trick is not to be Foxtel.

Don’t try and have 100 channels.

Pick your channels and draft a communication model of content and frequency. Schedule your channels like a TV guide releasing content on a monthly calendar.

Then create your content and broadcast it on your chosen channels.

I have chosen in-person networking, authorship, email, website content and LinkedIn as my primary channels to communicate with my SME audience.

I’d love to hear what channels you choose for your communication model.

Darren Bourke

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Cheers, Darren K Bourke