Reach new audiences as Covid-19 restrictions ease

The easing of lockdown restrictions is the perfect time to redefine how your business communicates with your target audiences, writes Osborn Communications director Chris Leggett.

After months of enforced social distancing, consumers and businesses are growing in confidence about planning for the future. But do not assume that everyone will now pick up where they left off before life ground to a halt in March 2020.

The fresh start will bring new opportunities. Drawing upon our national media and digital experience, Osborn Communications is growing its client roster by providing content and communications support for small-to-medium sized enterprises and family-owned businesses.

Our diverse list of clients across the West Midlands are working with us to achieve their objectives, all around growing revenues or presenting themselves more effectively to target audiences.

Ensuring your marketing and communications plans gain you the attention you need, throughout 2021 and beyond, can help you on the way to success.

Whether you have in-house expertise or draw upon an external specialist like Osborn, following some simple steps will bring results amid the rapid changes your business faces in the post-pandemic recovery period.

1 Conduct a communications audit
It does not have to be a formal process but understanding what activity has been delivered over the past 12 months can help identify trends and insights. The aim should be simply to understand how your website is being used, what content about your business is being consumed either on the site or on social media and reviewing the coverage of your firm or sector in external media.

For some businesses, the past year may have shown that website visitors went up but there was not enough content to keep them for long. Or you have trialled posting images on Instagram with no real response, but LinkedIn followers have grown. Review before you progress to avoid missing vital information.

2 Plan where you want to go
We have all been dreaming about travelling since lockdown began. For some it has been aiming for exotic climes while others saw an evening in the pub as a welcome first step back to normality.

Similarly, you need to shape a plan of what you want to achieve from your marketing and communications. Mix your ambitions with some realism about the steps needed to get there, then get started. After months of gloom, do not underestimate how many audiences will welcome hearing any positive news about your work.

3 Create Once, Publish Everywhere
Getting your business back on track is the focus so you need to be efficient in using resources. Taking time to plan your messaging, or dedicating resource to do it, should be based around making as many uses as possible of the results.

This could be publishing a story about the business on your website and sharing it with your local or industry media. Or it may be creating content for your YouTube channel then sharing shorter versions on your social media. We have all adapted over the past year, so continue to use content in as many smart ways as possible.

4 Do not overlook awards and other acknowledgements of your achievements
The ban on live gatherings halted many annual award events for business success in 2020. Some moved online but you should be primed to enter awards as a way of gaining external recognition of individual or business achievements.

Writing award entries is a skill – Osborn clients made up a third of the finalists of the recent Business Desk WM Leadership awards shortlists. If you choose to produce the submissions in-house, give yourself as much time as possible and focus on meeting the criteria while sharing details which will stand out from the crowd.

5 Welcome the chance to reconnect
Restrictions on everyday life have led many to reassess what is important. If you now appreciate the connections made with partners or clients, look for ways you can promote your joint working.

After months of everyone pulling together, celebrating your collective achievements through collaboration via a social media post, a video, an advert or a press release will ensure your network know you appreciate key support.

(This article originally appeared in the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce magazine Chamberlink May edition: click here to read more)

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