How to Develop a Communication Plan That Works

A WRITTEN COMMUNICAITON PLAN WILL:

  • Give your day-to-day work a focus
  • Help you set priorities
  • Provide you with a sense of order and control
  • Prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, offering instead peace of mind

Communications include all written, spoken, and electronic interaction with your audiences.

WHAT IS A COMMUNICATION PLAN?

  • What you want to accomplish – your objectives.
  • Ways in which those objectives can be accomplished.
  • To whom your communications will be addressed – your audiences.
  • How you will accomplish your objectives – the tools and timetable.
  • How you will measure the results of your plan.

COMMUNICATION VEHICLES INCLUDE:

  • Periodic print publications
  • Online communications
  • Meeting and conference materials
  • Media relations and public relations material
  • Marketing and sales tools
  • Voice mail content
  • Identity materials such as letterhead, logo, business cards
  • Signage
  • Speeches
  • Invoices

WHERE TO GET INFORMATION:

  • Your mission statement
  • Your value statement
  • The position statement
  • Surveys and focus groups
  • Your web site
  • Discussions with staff, your market, others around you

HOW TO DEVELOP A PLAN:

Evaluate your current communications:

What are you currently doing?

  • What is each communication activity designed to achieve? How effective are the activities?
  • Is it working? How do you know?
  • Are you targeting the right market? Who is your market?

DEFINE OBJECTIVES:

  • Define your overall communication objectives – the results you want to achieve. These might include:
  • Excellent customer service
  • Customer loyalty
  • Centralization of the communication effort
  • Visibility for your company/profession
  • Influence on consumers

DEFINE AUDIENCES & GOALS

AUDIENCES

List all the audiences that you might contact, attempt to influence, or serve. Included on your list may be:

  • Employees
  • Consumers
  • Related industries
  • Federal, regional, and local governments
  • The media

GOALS

With stated objectives, and considering human and financial resources, define goals, a program of work for each objective. Goals include:

  • General programs
  • Products
  • Services that you will use to achieve stated objectives

IDENTIFY TOOLS & ESTABLISH A TIMETABLE

TOOLS

  • A simple flyer
  • Posters
  • Web site
  • Cards
  • Newsletter
  • Blog/Social Media
  • PR

TIMETABLE

Quantify results in a calendar grid that outlines roughly what will be accomplished and when.

Separate objectives into logical time periods

  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Year end

EVALUATE THE RESULTS:

Build into your plan a method for measuring results. Your evaluation might take the form of:

  • Leads generated
  • Referrals
  • Returning customers
  • New customers
  • Influence

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