Strategic planning is crucial to any business, as it organizes specific actions that can lead to the fulfillment of milestones as well as raise awareness about services, activities, or initiatives. A communications plan is a navigation tool that will help you meet your communications goals. In this blog, we’ll feature a few tips that you can utilize to create a strategic communications plan and achieve the most from your communications efforts.
Establish a baseline. To initiate a successful and effective communications effort, start with an assessment of your current goals. Examine what your organization stands for — its mission, values and beliefs. Look closely at who your business serves and what it provides. Use SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) to really get specific about what you are aiming to achieve and how you will measure progress.
It is important in this stage to clearly define the outcomes you are looking to achieve. What tangible outcomes would you like to achieve through a communications effort? How will you know you are achieving your goals? The more specific you can be during this process, the better you will be able to define the actionable steps that will be necessary.
Please note that for a communications plan to be productive, your entire team needs to know exactly what that goal is. Your expectations should be clear and concise so that all members involved can take the necessary steps and actions to achieve that communal goal.
Clarification of audience and stakeholders. Once you have identified your key goals, it’s time to identify and profile specific audiences to target. Take the time to look closely at your audiences, as this background information is essential in choosing the most effective channels to communicate with them. Does your audience respond best to blogs, social media, print, or paid media? How and when do they interact with your communications?
Every audience is unique, so it is important to tailor your outreach to each audience based on their specific needs, wants, and motivations in mind. If your team is acutely aware of whom they are speaking to, then the tactics used to reach them will be more clearly defined. By keeping your audiences informed and engaged, you are more likely to deliver a more effective end result.
Implementation. Once the aforementioned steps have been completed, the remainder of your communication plan, in essence, involves three steps:
- Implement your action plan. Design your message and distribute it to your intended audience(s)
- Evaluate your communication efforts, and adjust your plan accordingly.
- Maintain consistency. The crucial part of any communication plan is to continue using and revising it, using insights that you observe from continual evaluation to optimize. Be diligent in your efforts to maintain you strategy, and you will increase your chances of handsome rewards.
To learn more about the specific steps and processes required to design, implement, evaluate and optimize a strategic communications plan, download our 14 page, step-by-step Strategic Communications Plan for free here. Should you have additional questions regarding your communications needs, please reach out.