Is there coordination between your digital team and the communications staff?

Be it a corporation, nonprofit, political candidate or any other entity, the key to effective communication with your audience is uniformity of messaging. The digital team must be involved in the development of the strategy for disseminating content via digital channels. They are not, however, behind the wheel with their foot on the accelerator when it comes to driving the message.

For this article, digital team refers to the staff dedicated to web and social media, not the IT techies who keep your website up and running. Unfortunately, in some organizations, the digital team is housed within IT. Or, maybe they are an outside agency. Whatever the arrangement, they cannot function as a silo. There must be cooperation and coordination with communications and marketing, which is the rightful owner of the driver’s license when it comes to messaging.

Ultimately, the main goal of any communication with your audience is to convince consumers to make a choice. Nonprofits want donations. Corporations want to sell products. Politicians want votes. If messaging isn’t clear and unified across all available channels people won’t know what you stand for, what you have to offer and why it is better than the competition. They will take their charitable dollars, purchases and votes elsewhere.

Here are tips to help ensure your digital campaigns are in line with your overall messaging:

· First and foremost, have your digital team at the table at the very beginning. Their participation in brainstorming and planning should be mandatory.

· Once messaging is agreed upon the process of creating the digital content can begin.

· Have multiple sets of eyes review anything digital before going live to make sure there is uniformity of messaging. This can be time-consuming, but it is better than risking embarrassment later.

· Constantly monitor your digital platforms for any issues, comments or questions that need responses. This is basic customer service and it is just as important as maintaining uniformity of messaging. Just one negative comment can ignite a firestorm of controversy. Suddenly your message is lost amidst off-topic discussions or inaccurate information. If you are explaining you are losing.

· Always maintain open communication.

This may read like very basic advice, but if you are working in communications and marketing, I am certain you have experienced situations in which a failure to coordinate caused problems. I know I have.

The bottom line is that the various components of your communications/marketing program from news releases to paid advertising to website and social platforms cannot function independently of each other. Have one driver and only one driver of your message. Then do everything possible to ensure collaboration and cooperation in the distribution of that message.

How do you ensure uniformity of messaging at your organization? Is your digital team siloed? Please feel free to comment so we can learn together. You may also want to check out my earlier piece on breaking down silos here.

Janice Evans-Davis is a public relations/public affairs strategist. She works as an independent consultant and served as chief policy officer/director of communications in the Houston, Texas mayor’s office. You can find out more about her at http://www.jevansdavis.com or via her social media links below.

Janice Evans-Davis is a public affairs/public relations strategist in Houston, TX.