A few essential communications routines improve productivity and quality alike – but implementing them can be hard. Review your team and see which routines and processes could help you succeed.

What do long-term planning, metric tracking and process mapping have in common?

They are all communication routines that are important, but also a bit dull – and so easy to skip.

Routines usually have to be abandoned in order to make way for more urgent priorities. However, when implemented regularly, it’s the routines and structures that help entrepreneurs and communication teams to save time, communicate more clearly, and make a bigger impact through communication and content.

Advantages of communication routines

Why do we need communication routines in the first place?

With routines like long-term planning and regular brainstorming sessions, for example, we’ll gather more quality content ideas and it’s easier to choose the best ones without stress and hurry. 

Content creation and execution become more fluid and quicker, when routines and processes are planned with some time to spare. Quality of content improves. 

In bigger companies, communication teams are often affronted by requests from different departments (which usually needed everything for yesterday….) It will be easier to respond to these demands and also justify an occasional “No”, when the bigger picture of your goals and resources is clear in your mind. 

At the same time, the selected campaigns and projects will get better results, because they are executed with focus and skill, which benefits the whole business.

Why letting go of routines is so easy

While all the information above makes sense and is probably familiar to many of us, it’s still very common to slip from routines, skip planning meetings and only focus on the immediate priorities and emergencies. 

It’s also typical that under stressful situations, even well established routines fall through the cracks temporarily. 

When talking about communication routines, it’s important to remember two things: that building up routines is a process itself, and that it will take time. “Two steps ahead and one back” kind of situations are bound to happen to every team. 

On the other hand, today is as good a day as any to start. There will always be other fires to put out, but you can start implementing one small routine today. 

Test your team: How strong are the communication processes you have?

Below, you’ll find a test that allows you to evaluate where your team stands. How many important routines do you already have in place and which ones should you tackle next?

The statements are divided in three categories: routines that you should implement every 1-2 months, every 3-4 months and every 6-12 months. You’ll get one point for each positive answer. 

Monthly routines to build up

Which of the following routines does your team implement every 1-2 months?

? We host a content planning session and update our editorial calendar.

? We evaluate how topical pieces of content match with long-term plans.

? We track and analyse most important metrics in detail.

? We document new communication processes and update existing descriptions, if necessary.

Quarterly routines to stick to

Which of the following routines does your team implement every 3-4 months?

? We get together with an extended team to get fresh ideas and bring in new angles, such as client feedback.

? We evaluate our monthly content structure to ensure it still works. 

? We plan promotions and campaigns for the next quarter in detail.

? We track and analyse most important metrics on a high level.

Annual routines to make a habit

Which of the following routines does your team implement every 6-12 months?

? We plan content promotions and campaigns on a high level.

? We evaluate the skills and needs for upskilling within the team.

? We calibrate our channel selection and publication frequency to match results and future needs.

? We align communication goals with other parts of business (sales, operations, strategy…)

How did you do?

Add up your points to see how your team is doing and which things you should focus on next.

9 or more routines in place

Congratulations, your communication rolls very smoothly! To improve things, you can focus on one or two routines you did not cross off. This content campaign planner might be useful for long-term planning. 

5-8 routines in place, or one section without points at all

You’re on the right path, keep working on it! Try to set up at least one new routine each month or quarter and start with the section you had the least hits on. This strategy calibration checklist helps you ensure your plan is on track.

Under 4 routines in place

You’re smart, you probably figured out your communication routines still need a little bit of work. If you don’t yet have an editorial calendar in place, start by setting one up. Then choose one routine at a time and work your way from monthly routines to quarterly and annual ones. 

Re-evaluate your routines regularly

Routines live and change as your team and business grow and evolve. It’s a good idea to evaluate your routines every now and then, too. 

If you find setting up routines hard, slow down and give your team time to adapt to new structures, too. So many changes at once is the shortest way to burn out a communication team. 

And if you need more support to set up processes and systems that support your content growth, book a call with me. I’ll help you come up with a plan to build a successful content engine that grows your business. 

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