Every organization should have a strategic communications plan laid out. The way that you communicate internally as well as with clients or customers gives your organization a voice and an identity. You want to be sure that you have control over that identity by developing a communication strategy early on.
In order to create this plan, there are a few fundamental components you need to nail down first.
Identify Communication Goals and Objectives
The type of organization that you are creating the strategy for will inform your goals and objectives. These will be separate from any campaigns you run and should be overarching goals for the organization.
Some questions to ask yourself and others in your organization when coming up with these goals and objectives include:
- What type of tone do you want to take with customers or clients? Irreverent? Humorous? Serious? Knowing the tone is important for any and all communications.
- What is the message that you are trying to send about your organization? Do you want people to view you as knowledgeable? Approachable? An authority figure? Deciding on this will help you determine what you can say as well as how you say it.
- What is the culture of your organization like? Do you pride yourself on diversity, equity, and inclusion? Taking good care of your employees? Offering stellar benefits and customer service?
Once you have answered these questions, you can begin identifying what your goals and objectives for communication are. The better you know your organization, the better you can create a communication style that matches.
Of all the questions you can ask to begin creating an effective strategic communication plan, one of the most important is: who is your audience? You need to know who you are talking to in order to come up with a plan for HOW to talk to them.
Many organizations already know their audiences fairly well, but if you feel that you need to get to know them better, you can always conduct focus groups or send out surveys. Hearing directly from your audience and analyzing their needs will give you a stronger base for your communication plan.
Understand Social Media
Knowing social media and using it is more important than you may think. With over four billion people using social media platforms, one of the best ways to reach a large audience is to get your information out on social media.
The trick is knowing which platforms to use and how to properly communicate with people using social media channels. This can be challenging, primarily because successful social media posts tend to be less formal and more irreverent than ordinary communications. It is important to stay true to your brand’s tone while still managing to communicate effectively on social media.
Measure Communication Efficacy
Finally, you need to be able to manage how effectively you are communicating to begin with. You should have qualitative and quantitative benchmarks that let you know when you are communicating well. Internally, this may look like low employee turnover, increased employee engagement, or higher client retention.
Externally might be a specific number of forms filled out on a website, engagement on social media, or sign-ups for events. Ultimately, you want to set these goals early on so that you can look at your communications strategy and easily decide whether it is effective or if it needs tweaking.
The team at Applied Development has extensive experience in developing strategic effective communications plan for organizations of all sizes, from small private businesses to large government agencies like The United States Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).