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It is essential for newly-established media outlets to set up an effective communication strategy in order to build a strong, long-term relationship with their target audience. In this first article of a two-part series on communication strategy, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in partnership with a public relations specialist, provides media workers with an easy-to-use communication toolbox.

When a person establishes a new media outlet, they need to secure readership. Finding and establishing a relationship with readers is a difficult task that requires a thorough understanding of the media landscape, a strong message, a well-defined target audience, and a way to reach them. A public relations specialist from French communication company Publicis Groupe provides a “communication toolbox” to help media workers build an effective communication strategy using the five following tools.

1) A brand platform. First and foremost, media workers need to precisely define the identity, values, purpose, and vision of the outlet they are establishing: what message do they want to convey? What are the values that the outlet and its content will be based on? These questions will form the basis for a coherent, well-defined communication strategy.

2) A communication plan. Media workers need to define their communication objectives: what are they trying to achieve in communicating about their outlet? Creating a detailed step-by-step plan is vital to meet these objectives.

3) Stakeholder mapping. When communicating with stakeholders, media workers should plan how best to approach: who is the intended audience? Who should be involved in the process (e.g. investors)? How should the delivery differ from one stakeholder to another? 

4) Social media strategy. Social media plays an important role in the spread of information and content, so newly established media outlets are encouraged to build a presence on social media platforms. Media workers need to carefully select the platforms that correspond to their target audience. An editorial line and a calendar are essential in planning the release of content. It is also recommended to have clearly-defined community management rules that conform with the outlet’s values, to prevent any outbursts on the outlet’s page.

5) A trained spokesperson. Representation is important for the brand image of any organisation. Media workers should designate who in the outlet is going to be the spokesperson(s), and ensure that they convey a message aligned with the values and identity of the outlet. 

Read Part 2: Public relations.

This article was written in partnership with Publicis Groupe, a French communication company providing PR and advertising services.