Creating a Communication Plan
A communication plan enables an organization to effectively reach and deliver information to a target audience. It is a key component to developing consistent and effective messaging. Having a communication plan is not only effective when launching a new product or service but can also help navigate a crisis. Below are steps your organization can take to create a communication plan.
The first step in creating a communication plan is to analyze your current communication strategies. Conducting a SWOT analysis is one way to find strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your current outreach methods.
Identify Goals and Objectives
Once you've gathered data from your audit, you can begin creating goals and objectives for your communication plan. Writing SMART goals can help you identify milestones and easily evaluate your progress.
Identify Your Audience
Given the goals and objectives of your communication plan, who is the target audience? Understanding your audience is a critical step because it will inform which communication channels you use to reach them. It is very likely that you will have multiple audience groups, so creating a persona for each group can help to fully understand each segment. Think about their demographics, what their lifestyle is like, where and how they like to receive information, and what their values are.
Determine Communication Channels
Once you have a clear picture of the people who encompass each audience group, you can determine the best ways to reach them. The best route to take will depend on the message and who you want to receive it, so don't just rely on one channel. For example, if you want a message to reach internal employees, a company-wide email or staff meeting might be effective methods, but these channels won't reach outside consumers.
Your budget is another important factor to consider when identifying communication channels. Earned, owned, shared, and paid media each have their strengths and weaknesses. Consider which methods align best with your goals and objectives. Visit types of media page in this toolkit to learn more about communication channels.
Create a Timeline
Create a timeline depicting where and when your messages will be released. Assign team members specific tasks to keep the plan on track. Have an estimate of how long each phase of the communication plan will last to easily transition between phases and be prepared for setbacks.
Monitor and Evaluate Results
Continually monitor your communication plan. Tracking successes and failures can allow you to make adjustments along the way and can be beneficial when creating new communication strategies. It can be beneficial to regroup quarterly or after an event to evaluate your communication strategy and check in on your goals. Communication plans must be living documents, continually evolving along with your organization.
For More Information
Visit How to Write a Communication Plan for templates and additional guidance.