Just because you are doing amazing work does not mean that anyone knows about it or even understands what you do. 

It’s your responsibility to tell the world about your organization, especially if you want them to get the right impression of who you are and what you do. If you don't take the lead on spreading the word about your work, someone else will set the tone for you.

When that happens, there is no guarantee that what they are saying will be accurate or even nice. Instead of spending your energy getting the word out about your amazing efforts, you could end up spending that time refuting and correcting what others have said about you.

Here are a few pointers on controlling your message:

  1. Have a communications strategy. When you sit down to plan your agenda for the year, factor in how you are going to communicate all those great new initiatives, in addition to keeping your ongoing work at the top of mind for your constituents.
  2. Define your brand.  If you don’t use consistent wording and imagery to describe yourself, then it will be that much harder for someone else to describe you.  And if they can’t describe you, why would they tell anyone else about you?
  3. Define your offerings. Clearly articulate what you do in terms that the average person can digest and comprehend. No one will want what you have to offer unless they first understand what you are offering.
  4. Tell the world your story. When you doing something awesome, tell the world about it. If you’ve just launched a new initiative, instituted a new procedure, won an award or reached a milestone, tell people about it or they will never know just how awesome you are.
  5. Be the first to talk about what you’re doing. This may mean keeping something that is percolating completely under wraps until you are completely ready to be out front and telling the world about it. It also means that if you start to hear about things people are saying about you, then you need to grab the reins and be the loudest one out there.