This section can be used as a strategy template document. By filling out each section with all the information you have available, you will end up with a solid plan you can put into place today. We can help you with the process of devising a strategy, too.
First, you need to know your audience. At the most fundamental level, your audience and your entire tenant community are one in the same.
Your ultimate goal is to identify multiple audiences for your communications. Why? Because each tenant is different. They each want different things, have different interests, prefer different services and amenities, and read different types of content. Whereas a ‘FREE ICE CREAM’ event is likely to appeal to the majority of individuals in your tenant community, a ‘free bike servicing’ event will court only a subset of individuals (i.e. those that cycle to work). These are two different audiences, even though one is technically a part of the other.
When starting out, however, it is best to go broad spectrum. First, examine the demographics particular to your asset. The information therein will help you to answer the following questions, at a minimum:
What is the age and gender mix of my tenant community?
What is the industry mix (i.e. what are the most common industry types?)
What is the role/seniority mix?
Once you have uncovered answers to these primary questions, you can start to build out your communications plan. But let’s say you don’t have a good picture, either partial or complete, of your asset demographics. Using polls and surveys (either run through your tenant experience platform or disseminated manually through tenant representatives), you can ask your audience directly about its preferences.
2. Set the objectives of your communications plan
Earlier in this guide, we laid out some valuable core objectives that you may want to pursue for your own assets. Whatever your objectives, it is important that they are specific, measurable, and attached to specific time frames. To give you an idea of how this might take shape, here are some basic objectives and their associated metrics:
When starting out, remember that you don’t need to go overboard with objectives. Ensure also that you have the means to take frequent and accurate measurements – a single, robust analytics platform should supply you with everything you need to track your performance against objectives.
3. Decide upon your content types and themes
Your research should provide, at the very least, a jumping-off point for content types and themes. At this point, you should start by setting a framework for your content verticals. Here’s what that might look like:
We are interested in brand awareness and promoting our initiatives – including support of onsite retailers – so blog-style articles, and store promo pieces, will make up 30% of our communications plan
We want to drive uptake in our program of events and activations, so event posts (that capture user RSVPs) will make up 30% of our plan
We want to digitise our tenant handbook and building information, so we will dedicate 20% of our plan to the initial creation (and then ongoing maintenance of) our building information vertical
We want to be prepared for the unexpected, so we will reserve 10% of our plan (and communications output capabilities) for building updates, memos, and emergency notifications
We want to regularly track the sentiments and desires of our users, so the final 10% of our plan will be dedicated to integrated polls and surveys
In this case, you would have four content verticals:
Blog-style and promotional articles
Building information posts
Unexpected updates and memos
Polls and surveys
From there, you can expand on your verticals by adding content themes. The themes you choose will dictate the topics you cover, the conversations you have with tenants, and the overall narrative of your community and brand. Designating themes is also exclusionary – it dictates what you will not cover, what you will not discuss, and what is not reflective of your community and brand. For example:
Once properly defined as above, you can transform your content verticals and themes into a fully-fledged content library.
4. Set up your content library
Executing a communications plan obviously requires ongoing content production, but you can streamline the process of creating and publishing content with a library. Some articles are topical, and apply only to a given day or week or month, but others are ‘evergreen’, meaning that they can be created once and reused whenever needed. Building information posts are a good example of evergreen content. Even ‘unexpected’ updates, though partially unexpected, can be templated. For instance, you never know when an elevator is going to break down, but you can be sure it will happen at some point. Best to have your notification ready for that eventuality.
Your content library is the storehouse for your evergreen content. Our CMS, Iris, comes with an inbuilt library, allowing you to store a virtually endless number of content templates and archived posts. You can even categorise these posts and assign them to specific team members. This makes the maintenance of your content templates quick and easy.
What’s the alternative to a good CMS? You can use organisational tools such as Monday, Asana, or Trello to host your content library. Otherwise, a good old-fashioned excel spreadsheet will do the trick. To begin with, you need only allow for the following columns:
It may be time consuming at first to set your content library up, but it will streamline your content production and publication process considerably over the long term.
5. Set your ideal publishing schedule
As said in section three, your publishing schedule will be determined by the volume of content your team can reasonably produce. Generally speaking, a makeshift producer can create one to two pieces of original content per week, of about 500 words each, assuming the plan from which they work has been adequately set. Of course, you have now set up your objectives, your content verticals, and your themes – so your nominated producer should be ready to go.
A publishing schedule is a weekly guideline for production, and not the final calendar that will guide you day-to-day. We’ll use the publishing schedule to create our final calendar in step seven.
Here is what a sample schedule might look like for you, using the parameters we’ve set above. It assumes that one producer is creating two pieces of content per week.
It’s important to note that when it comes to a communications plan, quality is the ultimate goal. One good piece of communication per week, of any type, is better than five bad pieces. Consider also that more content means more promotion, which means bulky newsletters.
It’s a truism of content marketing that more time is spent producing content than promoting it, and ensuring it is read. So err on the side of promotion. Make sure you’re putting your beautiful, compelling content in the hands of as many users as possible.
6. Secure and employ promotional mechanisms
The best way to make sure your content is read by as many users as possible is through the use of promotional mechanisms. Your tenant experience platform solution may only offer a newsletter email function – ours is omnichannel, which means you have many different mechanisms through which to promote your content and get tenants to your platform. You can use one, two, or any combination of channels – and all of them are managed using Iris.
Consider how you’d like to promote your weekly and monthly communications. Here are some examples:
Email newsletters, delivered directly to the inbox of users registered to your tenant experience platform
SMS notifications, which can be sent out instantly in the event of an emergency or some other important update
Push notifications, which can be used to promote or signpost the actions of onsite retailers
Push notifications, which can be used to promote or signpost the actions of onsite retailers
An RSS feed, linked for example to elevator screens, lobby screens, or digital signs in your building
To begin with, we recommend a weekly email newsletter. It is a great way to keep your tenant community abreast of the latest news, updates, and promotions – and it is also a key driver of traffic to your platform.
Once you’ve decided which promotional mechanisms you will use, you may need (where they involve manual configuration, such as newsletters) to factor them into your publishing schedule and content calendar.
This brings us to the final step, and you free content calendar template.
7. Bring it all together in your content calendar
All of your preparation has led to this point – your objectives, verticals, and themes can all now be logged in a simple, easy-to-follow content calendar. This calendar is the guiding document for your Comms A-Team. As with your content library, it can be housed in a spreadsheet or some other organisational tool – but if you’re using Equiem tech, you can manage your content calendar within Iris.
This is just the beginning – now that you’ve figured out your basic communications plan, you can start to experiment and even enhance your week-to-week strategies. For instance, why not devise two-week mini-campaigns, focussing on specific topics (like ‘return to office’ or Christmas)?
Once you have set up your plan, the world of better tenant communication is yours.