Effective online communication is one of the key factors that determine the success of a company. It is through online communication that companies expand their reach and gain loyal customers. It is how different teams in an organization coordinate with each other to ensure they are working toward the same goal. It is how directors discuss a company’s development with investors and the general public to help them understand where it is heading.
The director of online communication controls all the online communication-related activities in an organization. He is the voice of the brand and his goal is to maintain a positive online reputation for the company.
In this article, we have discussed duties, roles, skills, qualifications, expected salary, and much more about the director of online communications. By the end of the article, you will understand what it takes to be a director of online communication and whether it is the right profession for you or not.
What is a director of online communications?
The director of online communications, also known as the online communications director or voice of the brand, is the person who forms and executes multiple online communication strategies to ensure the public sees the brand in favorable lighting. He forms communication strategies to communicate with a variety of audiences, including:
- Potential customers
- The media
- Third-party regulators
Online communication can take multiple forms depending on who is being addressed. The director of online communications is an expert in all forms of communication. He knows how to catch his target audience’s attention through written words (emails, messages, newsletters, website copies, ads, reports, etc.) and spoken words (videos, interviews, meetings, etc.).
He makes sure there is a steady flow of information between different teams in an organization and between public and the organization. In large firms, the social media marketing manager drafts the marketing strategy, and the director of online communications reviews it before it is executed. He ensures that the strategy goes well with the company’s outreach strategy.
What does he do?
The online communications director is responsible for overseeing several communication-related activities. Some of his essential responsibilities are:
Develop and implement a communications plan
The director of online communications forms a communication framework to indicate which message should be delivered when it should be delivered, who should receive it, and how they should receive it.
There are numerous communication tools, including emails, phone calls, messages, etc. Online tools and emails make the most popular communication tool. Over 45% of employees use online tools like Zoom, Google Meet, etc., to communicate with each other, and 51% of employees use emails to communicate with customers and clients.
The online communication director chooses a communication tool that can bring the maximum benefit to the company. Through the plan, he clarifies what message should be delivered to the right audience to strengthen the company’s relationship with them and boost sales.
Maintain media and public relations
The director of online communications connects with the general public and media to share information and increase brand awareness. He arranges and attends conferences and interviews with media personalities. He also addresses misinformation so that it does not affect the brand’s reputation.
Handle customer communications
Customer service and communications can make or break a brand’s online reputation. Reports show that 58% of Americans choose a different company after having a bad customer service experience with the first one.
The director of online communications develops an effective customer service strategy and shares it with the respective department to inform them how customers should be treated. He may also help with the formation of marketing materials such as flyers, brochures, social media copies, and marketing emails to increase customers’ trust.
Oversee crisis communication
In case an unanticipated event occurs and threatens the company’s online reputation, it is the responsibility of an online communications director to effectively communicate with the public and address the issue before it gets out of hand.
The “crisis” may occur due to multiple reasons, including workplace accidents or the company’s inability to form quality products.
The online communications director forms a crisis communication strategy depending on what constitutes the crisis. He may have to give interviews, communicate with attorneys, and speak with media personalities to protect the company’s image.
Improve internal communications
In addition to handling external communication, the online communications director will also handle internal communication to improve the performance of teams.
Data shows that teams who collaborate effectively with each other may boost their productivity by 20% to 25%. So, the director creates equal opportunities for all to promote their growth, safety, and efficiency.
He drafts emails to announce important news. He manages internal publications and blogs to share durable and beneficial information with teams.
Ensure all company’s materials portray a positive image
Before a social media copy, ad, or similar material is published on the internet, it is first reviewed by the director of online communications, who approves the material only if its content is according to the online communication strategy. Otherwise, he may request a revision.
Develop relationships with other companies
He builds quality professional relationships with other companies (that are not competitors) and industry experts to collaborate with them when the need arises. These collaborations can help companies combine consumer reach and knowledge to beat larger brands.
Analyze reputation indicators
To check the effectiveness of all the communication activities, the director of online communications evaluates online image indicators such as social media mentions, reviews, surveys, etc. He may make a few necessary amendments to the communication strategy based on the analysis.
What skills should he have?
Here are the core skills an online communications director needs to have to succeed.
Inclusive communication: He should be able to talk with the staff/customers in a way that everyone can grasp the idea easily.
Have an unbiased perspective: You should be impartial while making a judgment or giving a review.
Be a keen listener: When you pay attention to what others say, only then you will be able to develop an understanding with them.
Have strong strategic skills: They will help you develop effective communication plans to achieve company goals.
Knowledge of social and digital channels: You should know how different social media and digital channels can help you expand your reach and improve your connection with your audience.
Keep up with current events: If you want to understand people and their needs better, you should know what is happening around them or in the world.
How to become a director of online communications?
The basic things you need to become an effective communications director are:
- Field-related experience
You should have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as mass communication, public relations, social media, etc. Having a higher degree may increase your chances of acquiring the job.
The next element that employers look for in candidates is work experience. It is more important than your education. You should have 8 to 10 years of field-related experience to get a director-level post.
The director has to oversee activities of different teams; therefore, he should have good soft and hard skills. To become an online communications director, you must have social media, communication, leadership, decision-making, and analytical skills.
What is the expected salary?
The director-level position is one of the highest-paying positions in a company. Glassdoor reports that the average annual salary of an online communications director is around $152,530 in the USA, consisting of $120,887 base pay and $31,642 additional pay (such as bonuses, tips, etc.). The most likely pay range for this position is $115,000-$204,000.
Remember that your pay may be affected by numerous factors, including your work experience and company size.
Effective ways to improve online communications
Establish a clear objective
Write the objective on the page before you start writing the email/message. When you are done writing the text, reread it to ensure it has the power to produce the intended reaction in the receiver. Reword the text if it does not match the objective.
Keep your emails to the point
An ideal email or message takes 20 to 40 seconds to read. The reader may lose interest if it is too long or has unnecessary sentences. Remember, less is more.
Use the suitable tone
Your tone can make a significant difference while talking to someone through online platforms. Therefore, it is important to use the right tone from the very beginning. Starting on the wrong foot can make it difficult for you to connect with the other person.
Don’t be sarcastic
Sarcasm should never be a part of online communication unless you are talking to a close friend or someone who understands your sense of humor. The other person can perceive your words differently, leading to a serious issue. So, be formal while talking to your customers and use a professional tone and words.
Try to keep the length and tone of your message the same as that of the sender
If someone sends you a long appreciation email, replying with a simple ‘okay’ or ‘thank you’ may show that you don’t value their words or have no interest in their message. So, try to be mindful when reading or writing a message. Show others you care by matching their tone and message length.
Don’t use all caps unless it is necessary
ALL CAPITAL letters are sometimes used in text to show the importance of certain words. But when you use them too often or without any reason, the other person may think you are annoyed or kind of yelling at them.
What degree do you need for online communications?
In most companies, the candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree to apply for this post. Your degree should be in a field that shows you have the knowledge and information that an online communications professional needs to handle communication-related activities.
Some examples of suitable degrees are a bachelor’s in communication, public relations, marketing, social media management, or journalism.
How do I start a career in online communications?
You should start by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as communication, marketing, etc. It will help you get an entry-level position. But if you want to reach a senior-level position, you must have expertise and experience that generally a degree does not provide.
You should try earning an advanced degree (like a master’s or Ph.D. in a relevant field) and doing some communications courses to further improve your skills. Get 8 to 10 years of work experience to reach a senior-level position.
How long does it take to become a director of online communications?
Since it is a senior-level post, you must have at least 8 years of work experience in the related field to apply for this post. So, in short, it can take you from 8 to 10 years to become an online communications director.
What is the difference between a director of marketing and a director of communications?
While there are many similarities between the roles and responsibilities of both directors, some key differences still set them apart.
One of the most prominent differences is that the marketing director handles everything related to marketing strategies. On the other hand, the director of communications’ main role is to oversee the entire process of forming and executing online communication strategies.
The marketing director creates a marketing strategy and shows it to the communications director before implementing it. The communications director ensures that the marketing strategy portrays a positive image of the company and is according to the communications goals.
Directors of online communications represent a company on online platforms, including social media channels, websites, blogs, etc. From making communication strategies to directing different teams, they are assigned multiple tasks in a company to ensure there is no internal and external communication problem.
If you have years of experience, skills, knowledge, and education, you might be the right candidate for the director-level position in your favorite organization.