• karen paterson

Top tips for your communications

I've been asked for practical tips on how to get your messages seen, heard and acted upon. So, here are some tips, which I hope you find useful.


To start with, when I'm asked "what information should I include about my product or service?", the first question I ask is, "who is your audience?", and then, "what do you already know about them?".



When creating communication strategies for my clients, I spend a lot of time finding out as much as I can about the audiences they want to engage, and by audiences I mean staff, customers, shareholders, stakeholders and influencers. So, I am using audience as a bit of a 'catch all' phrase in this article.


I share the information I have found with my client, and then I ask this series of questions:

  1. What do you want from them?

  2. What do they want from you?

  3. How do you want them to react to your communication?

  4. How will your product or service improve their life experience or work experience?

  5. Why should they do anything about your communication?

  6. Why is it important what you say to them?

  7. Why now?

  8. When does something change, an offer expire or other trigger mean they have to take action?

  9. Where can they get more information?

  10. Who can they talk with to get other perspectives on what you say?


I believe that when you have answers to these questions, you will have the basic ingredients to craft a compelling story for each of your audiences.


Perhaps at this point, an example would help make it easier to understand how to apply these questions in the real world.


I'd just started my business when I was asked to use my media experience to promote an investment accelerator programme for female entrepreneurs in Australia, including creating a profile for the first group of women to take part in this unique programme.


My task was to quickly develop a practical media strategy that would hit the right targets and maximise the public profile of the programme and the entrepreneurs participating in it.


So, this is what I did:

  • met with the local Chairperson, global President and Co-Founder to find out how they pitched the programme in their home market;

  • asked which media showed an interest in it and what facts I could use to promote the programme's track record;

  • asked them to describe the different audiences for the programme;

  • and list the characteristics of women entrepreneurs who'd participated in the programme overseas.

Then I researched coverage and commentary from the Australian media on women entrepreneurs, business growth challenges and start ups.


Using this information:

  • I identified the journalists and publications with an interest in Australia's start up ecosystem and in the success of women-led businesses;

  • prepared tailored pitches to each, with links to the client's global successes on their website;

  • prepared short profile pieces on each of the female entrepreneurs;

  • sent the approved copy to each journalist and called them to offer an interview with the Co-Founder;

  • prepared briefing notes for the local Chairperson, President and Co-Founder for all confirmed interviews;

  • sat in on interviews and provided copies of coverage afterwards.

These are the results I got:

  • achieved national television coverage on the ABC's The Business programme, with an in-depth interview with the Co-Founder;

  • several news articles, featuring the Co-Founder, in Australia's major newspapers (i.e. The Australian, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age);

  • and, articles featuring the women entrepreneurs in business magazines and online (i.e. BRW, Women's Agenda and startupsmart.com.au.

Does that help? What questions do you have that I haven't answered? Feel free to get in touch and I'll do my best to answer your questions.



To help you get started with your communication planning, please feel free to download the tip sheets that I've created on the 'downloads' page of this site. Let me know how useful you found them and this article by completing the feedback form on the 'your feedback' page of this site. Thank you.


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