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The Next Next Thing

What is the topic you are going to write about after your current project is completed? Not worried about that yet? Thinking about tomorrow’s topic can make you a better communicator today.

Communication is a process rather than a one-time interaction. So as a communications professional, you should always be thinking about the next next thing. Whether you are communicating via blogs, social media, websites, videos, magazines, newspapers or books, consider where your communications topics are headed. Today’s topic is the burning fire you need to address and get out the door. But the intentional progression of topics from today to tomorrow to the next day (month, year) builds a brand, and a body of work.

Recently, as I was working on a quarterly newsletter for a client, I penciled in the topics for their next two newsletters. I didn’t spend much time thinking about the details of the future topics, since I was focused on the newsletter that needed to get to print. I might not even be responsible for future newsletters; however, the overall communications plan is important for my client. The ability to think ahead to the next topic in a sequence means that the quarterly newsletter topics will build on each other throughout the year. Recipients of the newsletters will have a more complete understanding of the overall organization, rather than receiving random bites of information spread across time.

Educators have a term for this kind of planning: scope and sequence. When planning curriculum, they consider the objectives for the course (scope) and the components of content that students need to reach those objectives (sequence). I admit that I may have oversimplified this educational concept for my purposes; but considering scope and sequence can lead to great communications planning.

So as you are working on today’s project, keep a sticky note (or evernote) handy to jot down topics for the next project, and the next next project. This kind of planning will keep you moving forward in communications, rather than just reacting to the needs of today.

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