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Basic communication toolkit

(Also known as the building blocks of great copy)

Giving my copywriting consultancy a brand name, logo, website and social media channels has been my lockdown project. My husband bought chickens. At the moment I’m not sure which was the easier option!

Because even with almost 30 years of working in the communication business and the second time I’ve set up a business, it doesn’t get any easier writing and talking about yourself. It really is so much easier doing it for someone else. But I also know that having a brand name, logo and website alone won’t set you on the path to success.

Your Basic Communication Toolkit has to come before you even start thinking about your logo, branding or website. Key messages, tone of voice and client profile are the essential building blocks of your marketing and communication activity. It takes time but it will make your life easier – I promise! Read on to find out what’s in your Basic Communication Toolkit or Contact me and I’ll talk you through it and how it will make your life easier.

Why have a communication toolkit?

No more scrambling to find the right words each time you talk about what you do, post on social media or write a blog. Once these documents are in place, you’ll be able to talk about your business clearly and confidently time and time again knowing that you’re giving your clients content that resonates and that supports your plans for growth.

I’ll go through each of the elements here but it’s a subject I’ll return to here and on social media. And Contact me if you want to make your life easier and need help creating a communication toolkit for your business.

Client profile

And it all starts with your clients, because great communication isn’t about you and the story you have to tell. It’s all about the audience and what you want them to know, feel and do. This insight into your clients will lead to clear and consistent messages and tone of voice – perfect for building trust with your clients and giving you confidence in your messaging.

And how do you do this? By building a detailed picture of your ideal client using a client profile document, sometimes known as a client persona.

Typically they start with demographics. Their name, where they live and who with. Then move onto lifestyle (e.g. from the websites they browse, newspapers they read and where they holiday  to where they buy their milk. And what type of milk). Then think about your business and why they would buy from you and what would stop them (budget / timings / location etc).

This person is the first person you think of when you communicate about your business. So give them a name and make it personal. (It was Doris from the Dog & Duck when I worked at Whitbread- but that’s another story I’ll come back to in due course!).

Contact me if you want my client persona template and need help building your client profile.

Key messages

Next up are your key messages. These core messages will underpin all your marketing and communication activity. Think about what you want your clients to know, understand and remember about you. If your business has grown word of mouth – what is it your clients and supporters say about you? What do you want them to say about you?

Your key messages should be:

  • Positive
  • Simple
  • Purposeful
  • Easy to understand
  • Client focused

And they don’t stand still. You should review them regularly to ensure they still reflect your business. We live in changing times. Are your key messages up to date? Or do they need refreshing to reflect new products, services or ways of doing business?

Tone of voice

And finally, that all important tone of voice. This isn’t what you say but how you say it.

What is your brand’s character and how is that character conveyed in your written and spoken communication? Think about the type of language you use. Formal, informal, slang colloquialisms, contractions and so on.

Your tone of voice also needs to be consistent with your brand image and across all your marketing activity. This is how you build trust with your clients. No flip flopping around, formal one minute, slang and super personal the next. Clients and customers want certainty and consistency from the people they buy from.

Plus it’s worth remembering that the written word has to work hard because it doesn’t have body language, facial expressions or pitch for listeners to gauge meaning and tone. That means we need to make sure our words and phrases do that hard work for us.

Think about the impression you want your words to make. What fits with your brand image and your ideal client?

What’s next?

And there you have it! An introduction to my basic communication toolkit. These are the documents I ask clients for when I first work with them. And if they don’t exist – I’ll draft them because otherwise, any writing or communication advice I give you won’t help you and your business to succeed. Contact me if you want help building your communication toolkit.

And as for the chickens…well they’ve settled in nicely thank you. All five of them – Kiev, Layer, Freebie, Parmi and Fitzherbert. We haven’t had to buy eggs in months and who knew chickens had personalities!

Thanks for reading!

Harriet