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
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 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
List all the audiences that you might contact, attempt to influence, or serve. Included on your list may be:
- Related industries
- Federal, regional, and local governments
- The media
With stated objectives, and considering human and financial resources, define goals, a program of work for each objective. Goals include:
- General programs
- Services that you will use to achieve stated objectives
IDENTIFY TOOLS & ESTABLISH A TIMETABLE
- A simple flyer
- Web site
- Blog/Social Media
Quantify results in a calendar grid that outlines roughly what will be accomplished and when.
Separate objectives into logical time periods
- Year end
EVALUATE THE RESULTS:
Build into your plan a method for measuring results. Your evaluation might take the form of:
- Leads generated
- Returning customers
- New customers