Here at The Clarity Business we are excited to be enjoying a strong start to the year. We've been working with a number of exciting new clients and new sectors in 2014, running a series of communication planning workshops which are a great way to look ahead and plan strategic action that will drive our clients' businesses forward:

What businesses are looking to achieve in 2014

Communications and business objectives vary according to the client, the sector, and where the business is at in terms of life cycle. Of course, a constant is that everyone wants to stand out and succeed!

The key areas we are seeing clients seeking attention on this year are:

- Raising profile among specific audiences

- Targeting bids with strong messaging

- Support to create compelling content that can be shared and distributed in a number of ways

'Inline' content use is most effective

We have been working to help companies plan what is increasingly known as 'inline' activity – communicating via all relevant online and offline channels.

This means thinking about the quality of the content being created, rather than the channel you intend to use to share and distribute it (social media, newsletters, earned media and so on).

We encourage you to use your content to target multiple audiences much more efficiently, as we know you are already busy enough running and growing your businesses. Each story or piece of content created should be useful in many places – on websites, via Twitter, in newsletters and in the media.

So, we ask you: "How can you set up your content to be more effective in attracting people to your offer?"

A key theme we have seen so far in 2014 is that businesses large and small want to be more active in the online space but they don't always have the time to manage their content or presence.

Many businesses are aware that they need to communicate more - better - and differently - in order to achieve their objectives, so it's heartening to see businesses using the start of 2014 to spend time on their own business and collaborate with people who can ease the burden of communicating.

It is also something we love doing because it puts a solid structure in place so that everything is consistent, effective and setting the scene for a successful year ahead.

Top tips: Objective, Audience, Message, Strategy

Our top tips for businesses looking to step up their communications this year are:

- Objectives: think about what you are seeking to achieve this year and plan backwards from there

- Audience: Consider who it is that will help you to realise your objectives

- Message: How does what you do actively push your client forward?

- Strategy: Consider the value of original content coming from your business, going directly to your customers or clients and providing a wealth of knowledge and useful information, rather than just service 'sell': how can you be interesting?

- Get help: Think about the benefit of someone external working with you to assist in your regular communications activities, so you can spend time growing your business.

If your business could benefit from some strategic communications advice and tactical support in 2014, or you'd just like to have a chat about what's possible, get in touch with us and start the conversation: George Hulbert and Mikela Dennison of The Clarity Business, or tweet us via @ShapeTheMessage to schedule a planning workshop over a coffee.


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