In an age of information-overload, how do you get your message heard amid the cacophony of digital noise? RMIT communication researcher Philip Pond explains.
Good communication is essential to a functional society but as our world evolves into a digital global network, the roles, media and methods we use to send messages have become almost unrecognisable.
From social media to mass media, the vast amount of content and information existing in the digital space has made it harder to reach the right people.
School of Media and Communication researcher and lecturer Philip Pond, who is in the final stages of a PhD in globalisation and communications, offers his expertise on how communicators can cut through the digital noise to reach their strategic goals.
1. Narrow your focus
The digital age is a breeding ground for innovation, yet it’s easy to get tangled in our own creativity without a clear direction. The solution: narrow your focus. There are many reasons why specific strategies are better than general ones. They’re easy to plan, easier to run and it’s easier to assess if they’re working.
2. Know your tech
The way we talk about social media these days, we often forget these are very different tools and better suited for different things. Yes, there are similarities – researchers write about social media logics – but often the differences are what matter. If you’re going to choose the right tool for the job, you’re going to need to know how each works, how the software meets the social and with what effect. Do your research!
3. Know your audience
It’s not all about the software – in fact, mostly it’s about the people you are trying to reach. Don’t be a determinist. Research has shown time and again that tools are just tools – it’s how we use them that counts. A Facebook strategy for grandparents should look very different from one for teenagers. Actually, if you’re trying to reach teenagers, why aren’t you on Snapchat?
4. Be agile
Agility is a buzzword in digital strategy. If something’s not working, then change it quickly. Crunch the data and see what works. Ditch what doesn’t. Campaigns should get better the longer they run. It’s trial and error sometimes, but if you’re worried that sounds haphazard, call it ‘iterative strategy’ and increase the price.
5. Problems are better than ideas
Coders like to know exactly what needs fixing. A specific problem generally produces good code as opposed to a vague idea which generally produces confusion. Digital strategy is the same – if you don’t have a problem that Instagram can fix, then why are you worrying about Instagram? Life’s too short and there are other things to worry about. Like climate change.
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Story: Chanel Bearder