Communicating with clarity on the circular economy
With an ever increasing focus on sustainability and net zero, the concept of the circular economy has become more prominent and mainstream. Consumers and stakeholders have become more environmentally and socially conscious, and are looking for organisations that share their beliefs. While circularity can act as an important indicator for upholding these values, there is still significant confusion over what it means and how it’s measured.
Talking clearly about the circular economy effectively will help you cut through the noise, promote sustainable action, and appeal to your audience’s values. Once you’ve got a content roadmap in place, and have conducted all the research you need to understand your audience, you need to think about how you will create and present your content.
1. Lay the Foundations
The circular economy is an important, but complex subject. When talking about it you need to know your audience to know how to properly approach the subject. Content aimed at the general public should be simple and approachable, laying out the basic concepts and avoiding jargon. On the other hand, if you’re looking to reach thought leaders and experts, you need to show an in-depth understanding of the subject with well supported points and detailed analysis. In each instance, knowing your audience is key to making engaging content that hits the mark.
Understanding your audience is more than just having a list of names or demographics. To properly understand them, you need to be able to visualise them, to have a clear image in your head of who your target audience is, and what they care about. To build this persona you need to consider:
- Their needs, desires & aspirations
- What challenges they face, the pain points & fears they need to overcome in their work
- Any constraints they may face while working, or preferences they might have,
- Their interests beyond the immediate issue of circularity
- What are their habits
- What values do they hold or oppose
Understanding these key points about your target audience will allow you to create an in-depth persona that can guide your content creation, ensuring it is useful and engaging for the people you’re trying to reach.
2. Craft Compelling Content
Content always needs to be at the centre of your communications strategy, but this is especially true for a complicated and hotly debated subject like circularity. There is no room for average content. If you want to capture your audience’s attention, you need to be better and more comprehensive than anything else out there, or approach the topic in an entirely different way.
Crafting more comprehensive content is a great way of establishing yourself as a thought leader on the circular economy, showing your ideas are well informed and relevant. Comprehensive content is built on research, giving you the in-depth understanding to talk with authority on the circularity and introduce unique insights and ideas. Long form content, such as ultimate guides, articles, and in-depth series, give you the space to fully explore your ideas and include the stats, analysis, and insight that will make them stand out.
Wholly different and unique content stands out on people’s feeds and stays with them, spurring engagement, sharing, and debate. When it comes to creating unique content, trying different and creative formats can help with presenting your ideas in new ways. Video and audio can also offer alternative ways to approach the topic of circularity, whether it’s short clips on key points, or long form podcasts going into the detail of the latest research. Ordinary copy can be converted to infographics or data visuals that stand out to viewers and clearly distil complex ideas. Infographics also have an added benefit in that they can be placed on 3rd party publishers and shared with influencers, helping spread your brand and message further. Research of these formats and presentation types should inform your design and ensure they chime with your audience.
Putting out consistent, high quality content is the best way to increase your authority on any subject. With so much debate around circularity in the media, being an established authority on the subject can help you cut through the confusion, and provide clarity and understanding. In addition search engines and social media algorithms like regular consistent content, helping you to gain more visibility and spread your message.
3. Ground your Messaging
Scope 3 emissions, accredited materials sourcing, and decarbonisation are all important concepts when it comes to the circular economy, but hardly relatable for most people. Effectively communicating about them, and circularity as a whole, means making them relatable for your audience. Using SEO keyword tools like SEMRush, you can see the top questions your audience is asking, and tailor your content to answer them.
Grounding the concept of the circular economy means addressing the questions and concerns your audiences has. One of the most common is the worry about how much circularity costs. Sustainability is rarely cheap in the short term, and for consumers and stakeholders, immediate increases in costs are far more tangible than long term emissions reductions.
Addressing these concerns means communicating the tangible benefits people will enjoy from adopting circular practices. For instance, while costs may go up short term, long term consumers will benefit from cost savings thanks to more durable and repairable designs. Even for broader concepts such as reduced environmental impact, it’s possible to get people to realise the benefits by grounding your message in real world examples, showing the places and people that have already benefited from a circular economy.
Creating educational content is a great way to engage with your audience, demonstrating your own expertise of the subject while giving them something new to think about and share with others. Educational content can help show your audience what steps they can take to contribute to a circular economy. This not only encourages more sustainable action, it makes them feel more invested in your work and content as they use it to take action for themselves.
4. Distribute Content Effectively
Even if you’re creating the highest quality content, you can’t simply rely on it going viral. Distributing content effectively in a crowded sector like circularity is about maximising the dissemination of content through a multi format, omni-channel strategy.
Content can be distributed through a range of channels including organic social, outreach, event hijacks, PR, email, paid boosts, and advocacy. Whichever channel you use, it’s important to play to that platform’s strengths by aligning your content with the format. When posting on LinkedIn, longform thought leadership pieces can play well with the audience, whereas for Instagram, visually appealing pictures and videos will be more appropriate. These channels should not be looked at in isolation though. Through cross-channel promotion, you can extend the reach of important pieces of content like key blogs and videos, maximising the audience that will see your content.
When it comes to distributing content, it’s important to break down the assets you have available to you, to ensure they are put to best use. This includes
- If you have a library of promotional assets
- Any paid social budget or campaigns you have running
- Any paid search & display available
- Which social media channels you have access to and their reach
It’s also important to set the right objectives when it comes to your content distribution. This means understanding what the goal of your content is, whether that’s to drive traffic to a site, get downloads of a report, or promote a new innovative product or service. In each case it will impact the channel that’s best for your content. If you’re looking to raise awareness of an environmental protection campaign then boosting content on LinkedIn can be effective. Whereas if you’re trying to capture data or get users to take sustainable action a paid conversion campaign on Meta, X or LinkedIn can be better at achieving your objective. If time and resources have been invested into quality content it’s worth investing further to make sure it reaches more relevant users.
5. Collaborate for Impact
An economy is never just one person or one company, and the circular economy is no different. Organisations should look to showcase how they are part of a wider network, and the positive impact their collaboration with others is having. Demonstrating how your brand collaborates with other businesses, NGOs, and government entities on circular initiatives emphasises your impact and authority in the space.
Spotlighting your partners, and showing your collaborations together and bringing benefits for both of you, showcasing your work and extending your reach to each other’s networks. This is especially true for innovative products, sustainable initiatives, or realised policy changes which can help highlight the collective impact of such partnerships.
Campaigns are another great opportunity for collaborations. Working with your partners on an awareness campaign around organisational or individual behaviour can help reinforce the message and increase its impact.
6. Follow the Data
Transparency is key when it comes to sustainability and when talking about the circular economy it’s best to lead by example.
With the circular economy’s focus on reducing emissions and wastes, how those things are measured is crucial. Communicating what the important metrics to measure are can help your audience understand where the most impact lies, and how to measure their own progress.
By using your own data, you can set an example to others, and increase your own authority. People are much more likely to trust your messaging on the subject when you’ve followed it yourself and have the benefits to show. It can also serve as inspiration for others, by providing an example of what they can achieve in their own company.
7. Analyse your Performance
Communication is an ongoing process, and learning from your campaign and content performance is important in improving its reach and impact. Data is key to this process, allowing you to look at what types of content are performing, where, and with who. When talking about circularity, you’ll often have specific audiences in mind, and it’s important to make sure your content is not just getting engagement, but getting it from the right people, whether that be NGO’s, policy makers, or a specific sector.
By gathering and analysing data you can see how different formats and styles of creative play on different platforms, or if there’s a specific message that performs well and improves click through rate to a key page you’re promoting. Using this information, you can tailor your campaign to focus on what’s working, doubling down on success and ensuring you’re having the biggest impact with the audience that matters most to your strategy.
Whether you’re raising awareness for a campaign around waste reduction, or promoting an innovative sustainable product, communicating about the circular economy requires a thought out and targeted approach. But, by understanding your audience, and the formats and channels that resonate with them, you can ensure your message has the reach and impact to make a difference.
Talk to us today about how to fuel the success of your circular campaign.