Consistency in communications has perhaps never been more valuable than it is right now. Uncertainty is the prevailing influence over how we feel, the decisions we (individually and as a society) make, and the connections we either work to sustain or allow to languish.
Consistency has always been an important factor for communicators to prioritize in building trust and brand equity among audiences.
That’s not to say consistency is easy right now. In fact, it’s especially hard. If you’re like me, your motivation and desire to connect with others waxes and wanes depending on the day. You may be working from home, surrounded by children and/or grappling with boredom, isolation and the very real trauma that comes with a global pandemic.
Know Your Goals and Schedule Accordingly
If you’re going to remain relevant and helpful to your audiences now and into the future, though, consistent communications is still critical. I’m encouraging my clients (and myself, ahem) to set a regular schedule with predictable patterns for blog posts, newsletters, social media posts and other outreach.
That doesn’t mean you have to overwhelm your audience with constant, pointless updates. Your schedule should support your goals. For example, your communications goals during this time may include:
- Keeping your audience informed of how this crisis is affecting your ability to serve them and how you’re adapting
- Building connection through stories and insights about how you’re continuing to help people through your mission
- Facilitating community within your audiences
A schedule (in the form of an editorial calendar and/or crisis communications plan) can help you map out how and when to share your messages. A coherent schedule can also help align your brand ambassadors, ensuring consistency in communications from any spokespeople for your organization.
We’re all theoretically in agreement that a consistent communications schedule is a good idea, right?
But what about homeschooling and child care? Existential dread? Grief? Illness? All of the terror and terrible news? Laundry?
I’m right there with you. I’m still not in a place where I can think too far ahead, and most days are dedicated to putting out fires. Slowly, though, I’m working my way toward a new system that serves my readers and meets my own need for balance and grace. And having the goal of consistent messaging is helping me get there.
Consistency in Communications: Brand Continuity in Times of Crisis
Consistency is about more than timing. It’s also about your voice.
I’d argue that a consistent voice is more important than consistent timing. Despite all that has changed, and all we don’t know, your identity as an organization should remain fundamentally the same.
When you’re not sure what to say or how to say it, reflect on those core elements of your brand and be sure you’re connecting that essence with the topics and questions top of mind for your audiences.
My friend and fellow nonprofit communicator Lisa Rupple recently guested on the Nonprofit Snapcast podcast to discuss crisis communications. She outlined a clear, actionable plan for managing communications during a crisis.
If you’re finding your footing and ready to proceed with a more consistent, strategic communications strategy during the time of COVID-19, I highly recommend you give this episode a listen.