Understanding the importance of good external communications in business and how to achieve it is vital for the long-term success of any organisation. External communications shape how people outside of your company perceive and engage with it, so it is worth putting time into perfecting this.
So, what makes for good external communications and why it is important to get business communications right.
External communications explained
External communications is the means by which your business communicates with people who are outside of your organisation. This could be customers, clients, suppliers, shareholders, or partners. All of whom are important stakeholders for your business. This is why careful consideration needs to be given to communicating with these audiences.
There are many forms that external communications can take include advertising, emails, content marketing, events, social media, copywriting, press releases and brochures. Not all businesses will use all types of external communication — you have to choose the ones that are relevant to your company and to what you’re trying to achieve.
How to communicate right
The quality of your external communication could be the difference between securing or not securing an all-important deal with a new customer or the difference between a listed businesses share price nosediving or climbing ever higher. Business communication paints your brand image in a certain way, giving others an insight into your business and its services.
If it appears unprofessional, inconsistent or unfriendly, people may begin to have negative associations with your company, preventing you from realising new opportunities.
Take Coca-Cola, for example. Yes, even the biggest companies in the world get their external communications wrong sometimes! The company’s 1985 ‘New Coke’ recipe was designed to match the taste of Pepsi. Although blind taste tests indicated that people preferred the new recipe, fans were outraged when it was released because of their loyalty to the original Coke.
Coca-Cola misread their audience significantly, resulting in a failed attempt at marketing and advertising. They had to go back to their original recipe and New Coke was eventually scrapped.
However, their external communications were successful enough in the wake of this incident that they were able to recover from the blunder. Even today, Coca-Cola uses this incident as content marketing material, turning what was an external communications disaster into external communications content.
How to improve external business communication
So, it’s clear that external communication is important, but what are the best ways to improve external business communication? We have listed our top four tips for improving external business communication below.
Create a brand narrative
Having a brand narrative is essential for creating consistent external communications material. Make your business’s history and goals clear. This makes it feel more accessible and trustworthy, offering customers and partners a chance to better understand your company. It also helps you to create a brand image that you can stick to so that people are more likely to remember it.
Essentially, external business communications are all about building positive relationships, so really focus on trying to achieve this. Be frequent and direct with your communication, and ensure that contact methods and calls to action are clear and accurate. Ensure your content is friendly and helpful for your audience.
It’s important that you have enough external communications content for it to be effective. An easy way to begin this is by perfecting your website. Create SEO-optimised landing pages so that your audiences will find you organically from search engines by answering their common queries and including keywords. You could create high-quality blog posts and FAQs to further optimise your site.
Tailor to the right audience
Finally, knowing who to tailor your external communications to is an often overlooked step. For example, emails for business-to-business marketing content are likely to differ hugely from promotional email campaigns to customers. Their content will not just be different, but also their tone, terminology and layout. Having a good understanding of the purposes of your external communications and a systematic approach will help you to achieve this.
In conclusion, communications is key. It is the impression your business gives to the world and is how you tell the world who you are and what you stand for. The difference between good and bad business communication can be the difference between business success and failure. So, invest the time in making sure your communications are aimed at the right audience and conveying the right message.