Developing a Strategic Communication Plan

7 09 2010

Every organization hoping to achieve some sort of communication goal needs to develop a strategic communication plan.  As I mentioned in the post above “strategic” is the key part.  It needs to have set goals that are in line with the organization’s goals and values.

After establishing an organization’s goals there are a few critical elements that need to be addressed.

Understand your target audience and how to reach it

An organization must know their audience!  Make a list of people who are important to the success of the organization.  This will help you to determine the key stakeholders of your organization. Next identify what media they consume and what people/media they respect.

Research past media coverage and public opinion about your organization or issues

This step will help you determine how your organization and its issues are perceived by your audience.  This will help you determine how much will need to be done to achieve your communication goals

Determine the messages that are to be delivered

One way to do this is to imagine a headline  that you would like to see about your organization and work backwards from it.  Determine how you would state your organization’s goals and how you would describe the organization in just a few words.  These will become your “key messages”

Determine what materials will need to be produced

PR professionals have a set of tools that they use to reach target audiences.  Some of these include:

  • logo
  • one-page fact sheet
  • press kit
  • brochure
  • photos, videos, overheads, and computer presentations.
  • reports and studies
  • Bios of your leaders and spokespeople
  • current newsletter or other publication
  • copies of published articles

Asses the resources that will be used

Spell out how you will manage time, budgets, computers and databases.  Designate someone to be in charge of all communications and recommend arranging training and upgrades as needed.

Write a work plan for ongoing activities for achieving communication goals

Finally establish a written plan.  Your communication goal will determine the ongoing activities you develop to maintain and achieve this goal.

Reflection on the Basics of Strategic Communication

31 08 2010

I am currently taking a Strategic Communications for Social Change.  Many maybe asking questions like: What is strategic communication? What is considered social change?  How can communication be used to promote change?  I found myself asking all these questions when choosing to enroll into this class.

As a part of the class we will be reading two books: Strategic Communication for Nonprofits: A Step by Step Guide to Working with the Media and The Networked Nonprofit.  Both of these books are trade books and can be found on Amazon.  Occasionally I will post learnings, reflections or notes from chapters in these books.

The first chapter of Strategic Communications for Nonprofits outlines the basics of strategic communication.  It defines strategic as not simply reacting to events, but anticipating and creating them.  This must be successfully integrated with other management functions to not only assist with daily operations, but to plan for the long-term success and growth of an organization.

Define goals, values and mission

The first step in creating a strategic communication plan is to define the organization’s goals, values and mission.  The organizations goals and values often comprise the mission statement.  All ongoing activities must support the goals and mission of the organization.

Build your communication team

After determining your organization’s goals, values and mission, the beginning of a communications team can be built.  This team should included out of the box thinkers, media savvy people and people who are creative.

Be proactive and commit time and resources

Lastly, your team must commit to being proactive and agree to commit the necessary money and staff time to your communications effort.  The more money and resources an organization devotes to its communication team, the more successful and the more media coverage it will receive.