I work closely with my clients to define their specific markets, messages and goals, then develop a program that incorporates the most cost-effective tools to accomplish these objectives. Every plan is customized to the client and their needs. With over 30 years in the marketing communications field, I have both the senior management experience to oversee the program and the necessary strategic writing and content development skills to carry out the activities.
Strategic Program Development
The value in marketing communications comes through clearly identifying strategic messages then consistently reinforcing these messages using the most effective marketing activities available. The first step in this process is to develop a plan outlining the program objectives, product benefits, key messages and target markets. The plan describes recommended activities to meet these objectives and often includes a timeline and budget for the program.
Developing a plan requires an understanding of the organization and its objectives, familiarity with its markets, budgeting and marketing experience, and creativity. The end result is a program with measurable objectives that will move your organization forward. The plan should also be flexible, taking into account that the program will change and be revised as your organization grows and markets develop. Astra Communications has experience working closely with clients to develop plans for technology, industrial process and environmental monitoring companies, industry associations and other business-to-business and consumer entities.
Writing and Editing
Every writing assignment has its own structure and tone depending on the purpose, audience, presentation and timeliness. Yet even the most technical documents and peer-reviewed industry submissions can be crafted to include strategic communications messages and a call to action. Good writing should be inconspicuous and not intrude on the message, yet at the same time, it needs to actively drawing the reader through the document with a clear understanding of the subject matter. Well-written content can help your audience assimilate even difficult concepts and establish a strong rapport with your organization.
For documents drafted by technical or industry experts, careful editing can bring clarity that will enhance the effectiveness of the author's work without changing the voice or intended meaning. Along with correcting grammar, spelling and style, the purpose of editing a document is to make sure that what the author intended to say is being conveyed in an engaging and convincing manner.
Public relations programs require a journalistic approach to writing and an understanding of how reporters, editors, broadcast producers, industry analysts and social media influentials work. Good PR professionals respect the journalistic process and use it to build credibility for your organization with your target audiences. The result is a better understanding of your organization's value and increased visibility for your products among potential and existing customers. An integrated, well-planned public relations program should lead to increased sales or other specific goals.
With the global 24/7 news cycle, professionally managed PR is more important than ever, especially when implementing international programs. An organization's social media activities also should be tightly integrated with its public relations and media outreach activities. All marketing and internal communications channels need to convey similar messages in a tone and format appropriate for the specific platform.
Astra Communications has experience developing and implementing strategic public relations programs in both domestic and international markets to launch products, gain market share and improve customer and employee communications. These programs take advantage of traditional public relations, such as news releases and speaker placements, integrated with social media and other online resources. Astra Communications also writes technical and feature articles for publication in the trade and business media.
Web, Email, Social Media Marketing
Your website is often the first and most important stop for journalists, customers and other interested communities looking to evaluate your company and its products. Its content, organization and navigation should reflect your strategic messages and lead viewers to a defined outcome; for example, clicking to learn more about a new product. Finding specific information should be easy and intuitive. Incorporating organic search engine optimization strategies and including a mechanism to easily update the site with current news or highlights will help draw viewers and improve search rankings.
Along with interactive websites, email marketing campaigns have evolved over the last several years to be less invasive and more productive. Industry best practices recommend sending marketing emails to "opt-in only" lists, which means the people receiving your emails are the ones who signed up for them and are more likely to act on them. Growing opt-in lists can be as simple as adding a sign-up form on your website or developing a marketing campaign to reach new, self-subscribed customers.
Social media campaigns are another highly effective channel to get your message out. Specific platforms – such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook – should be selected and targeted with appropriate, and creative, content. Whether social media is entrusted to an individual or shared across a communications team, the content and news posts are an integral part of your organization's profile and need to be carefully integrated into your public relations program.
Working with website designers, Astra Communications has developed website content and site redesigns. I have created successful email and online marketing campaigns. When done well, these programs can be cost-effective tools in an overall marketing communications program.
Brochures, Blogs, Newsletters, Videos
A good brochure, whether printed or produced as a PDF, communicates a company's value, establishes credibility and, most importantly, supports its sales or other communications goals. Blogs can make a company more approachable and highlight its expertise with posts that share an insider's perspective or highlight a product application. Newsletters are a great way to feature a successful product installation, keep internal audiences up-to-date on company news and share technical information with the industry. Astra Communications has experience developing these collateral materials from concept to completion, including copy concepts, writing, and graphic design and production supervision.
YouTube has grown into a major search engine and video is everywhere. It's easy to create a quick-and-dirty, point and shoot sound bite, but it takes planning to produce a video that explains a complex concept, demonstrates a product or authentically relays an important message. While videos are a potent communications vehicle, the technical caliber and content of the work reflects on your company. Good videos do not have to be expensive but they do need a well-defined message and to be produced to quality standards. Astra Communications has produced over 70 YouTube videos, ranging from short segments featuring industry executives to long technical tutorials.
Direct Mail and Advertising
Trade advertising and business-to-business direct mail can be effective vehicles for targeting specific messages to potential customers. Direct mail programs can range from a simple email or postcard mailing to full-color fold-out mailers with coded business reply mechanisms. Both trade ads and direct mail can be a valuable tool for developing sales leads, promoting booth traffic at a trade show, promoting customer seminars, building a prospect list or announcing a new product.
To get the best value from your trade show investment you need to take advantage of every opportunity, from a pre-show public relations campaign to a well-designed booth. Booth theme, graphics and design need to reflect your marketing messages. Special promotions can help draw potential customers to your exhibit. Large conferences also attract editors and reporters and can be an important opportunity to demonstrate your products to the media.
Astra Communications can assist you in these efforts, from arranging meetings with the reporters at the show to making sure you get the standard discounts on show services. I handle all public relations and promotions activities and work with professional booth design firms to ensure your best possible presentation at the show.