Strategy and tactics are core parts of communications plans, tightly related one to the other, but are two different things.
Although for communicators (except for carpetbaggers) the difference between the two is clear, you might be surprised in knowing how many still, mix them, switch them or jump straight into tactics forgetting completely about the overall strategy.
Strategy: This is what you are doing and why you are doing it. This means that you have already set your objectives and you know where you are going. With your strategy you define how you will achieve your objectives. A common mistake is to define what you are specifically going to do. Here you don’t have to think about which social media tools will you use, what’s the best headline for your news release, which advertisement, etc. In you strategy you have to think about other questions like:
- Will you go high or low profile?
- Proactive or reactive approach?
- What about your audience, are you going to leverage on key stakeholders or will you focus on large audience?
- Direct contact/via media/via web?
When crafting your strategy try to keep your eyes on the big picture.
Tactics: These relate to how you will implement your strategy, before, through and after you announced your project/initiative. You probably want to consider different tactical options for different audiences/stakeholders and at different stages. Some examples:
- Email newsletters
- Blogger outreach/relations
- Social network outreach
- Online community development
- White papers
- Local/Regional/National/International announcements
- Public speeches
- Cross-announcement with partners
- Cross announcement at events (industry events, media events, etc.)
- Long term announcements (for milestones, etc.)
- Stakeholder meetups
- Tailored messages for stakeholders (letters, emails, etc.)
- Advertising (TV, radio, etc.)
- News releases and social media news releases (One note/suggestion: I like to point traditional releases to social media ones where journalists/media/etc. can find more content/multimedia to prepare their coverage).
This was just a brief overview on strategy and tactics so feel free to integrate it with your own suggestions and lessons learned here in the comments, via Twitter (@vascellari), or wherever else you prefer, just remember to link back to this post!
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