How to Enhance Your Brand’s External Communication

Ioana Andrei
By Ioana Andrei, Updated on April 21, 2024, 5 min read

Businesses must communicate with external audiences to sell products, get investor funding, inform the public, and more.


Understanding how to plan external communication successfully helps increase stakeholder engagement while building trust. However, the rules of external communication can feel a bit abstract—for instance, how do you choose the right tone of voice?


Keep reading—this guide will define external communication and outline how to create an external comms strategy with examples.



What Is External Communication?

External communication in business refers to any messaging it sends to stakeholders other than its workforce.


For instance, external audiences include customers, suppliers, shareholders, government bodies, and the public, while communications include emails, chat messages, social media posts, and meetings.



What Is the Difference Between Internal and External Communication?

Internal communications target employees and contractors, whereas external ones address audiences outside the business.


For instance, external communications could be:


  • Customer newsletters and sales emails
  • Quarterly investor presentations
  • Social media company announcements


Meanwhile, internal communications include:


  • 1-to-1 emails between managers and direct reports
  • Management updates in the team chat
  • Task assignment mobile notifications


The communication’s purpose also differs. Internal comms help manage, engage, and retain the workforce, while external ones seek to enhance profitability and reputation by converting customers, influencing public opinion, and persuading investors.



So, the tone of voice will vary. You can afford to be direct and informal in internal comms, but an external tone may vary from inspiring to respectful or formal, depending on the audience.



6 Steps to Create an External Communication Strategy

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building an external communication strategy.



1. Research your audience

First, list the types of external audiences you’re targeting, from customers to investors. Then, research each audience type by reading studies, sending surveys to your contacts, or holding 1-to-1 interviews.


Document your findings into categories including:


  • Demographics such as age and location
  • Firmographics such as company and job title
  • Pain points such as cost optimization
  • Buying or investing behaviors such as product preferences


Finally, use the insights to group your audience into multiple segments—they’ll help you personalize communications later on. For instance, segment an investor audience into firmographic categories like venture capital firms and angel investors.



2. Set SMART goals for each audience type

Goals guide your external comms decisions while acting as benchmarks for results. Let your audience research and business needs inform your goals. For example, launching new products could prompt customer conversion goals, whereas ambitious growth plans could spur investor funding goals.


Use the SMART framework to set goals that are:


  • Specific: Target your objectives with precision, such as “Boost engagement among [target demographic]” instead of a vague “Engage more customers.”
  • Measurable: Quantify your goals to track progress effectively, like aiming for a “25% increase in website traffic” rather than simply wishing for “more website visits.”
  • Achievable: Set objectives within reach, like “Reduce operational costs by 5%” instead of an overly ambitious “Slash all expenses in half.”
  • Relevant: Tailor your goals to align with your organization’s core mission. For a tech company, enhancing software efficiency is more aligned than branching out into unrelated retail ventures.
  • Timely: Assign a clear deadline to your ambitions, such as “Launch the new product line by Q3” rather than an indefinite “Launch the new product line eventually.”


3. Pick appropriate channels

Research which channels your target audiences use and ensure they provide the tools you need to add value—such as information or offers—to your audience.


Generally speaking, here’s what key channels are useful for.


  • Email: Build relationships with, convert, and negotiate with warm contacts such as current and potential customers, investors, and suppliers.
  • Social media: Increase product awareness, share company news, and create interactive content showcasing your brand values.
  • Blog and white papers: Build trust, increase web traffic, and generate new customer leads.
  • Business messaging app: Resolve everyday problems securely with clients and suppliers.
  • Video calls and webinars: Collaborate, train, and bond with customers and the public in real time.


4. Define your tone of voice

If your brand were a person, how they sound to others is their tone of voice. So, define that tone for each audience type. For instance, your customer-facing tone could be friendly and informal, while the regulator-facing one is formal and precise.


However, all your tone choices must match your brand’s mission and values. For example, values like excellence and innovation go well with a confident, inspiring tone of voice.


Here’s a quick way to define your tone of voice for a customer audience. You can expand on this example to create a 1-2 page definition document for your comms team.


  • Target audience: Busy senior managers in [industry]. They need precise and quick information about [specific product]. They’re cost-conscious but prioritize quality.
  • The tone of voice: Our communications are informative and concise. We address customer pain points with empathy and confidently emphasize our unique value proposition.



5. Create a communication playbook

A communication playbook is the go-to manual for employees running your external comms.


The playbook should outline the goals, channels, and tone of voice for each external audience. Then it should provide guidance and examples for communications:


  • Timing: Specify the frequency, dates, and times for communications on different channels.
  • Editorial guidelines: Confirm grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other styling decisions.
  • Best practice: List tips and techniques such as phrase repetition, the rule of three, and first-person stories.
  • Content and topics: Confirm key messages that engage audiences and support internal goals.


6. Create a communications plan

A communication plan includes campaign phases, tasks, stakeholders, deadlines, and key messages. Create one for each audience type and campaign. For instance, a product launch campaign could have a threefold plan engaging customers, investors, and the public.



Use project management software to share your plan with key stakeholders, track task progress, and enable collaboration. Remember to update your plan based on audience insights or feedback.


Bonus tip: Align your external and internal communication plans. Your team must be in the know about significant external announcements and campaigns.



Enhance Your Communication Efforts with Spike

External communication increases engagement and trust with non-employee stakeholders like customers and investors. To build a successful strategy, you must research your audience, set SMART goals, pick the appropriate channels and tone of voice, and create a comms playbook and plan.


You also need a secure, easy-to-use platform—like Spike- to communicate effectively.


Spike is a team communication app that brings emails, chats, and channels into one inbox. Your conversations are quicker and more effective thanks to AI-generated message suggestions, plus you can collaborate on files, track tasks, and more.


Try Spike for free today!

Ioana Andrei
Ioana Andrei Ioana has worked for 4+ years as a management consultant in the tech and telecom industries. With a wealth of enterprise and start-up client experience, Ioana is also an accomplished SaaS and B2B tech writer.

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