Developing a Communication Plan
March 2012 | Volume 10 Issue 3
In today’s work environment, you’re creating and sending communications at an ever-increasing rate, through a growing number of channels. That’s why it’s even more critical that your organization have an effective communication plan from the outset—so that you make sure your efforts are having the impact you’re looking for. In this issue of CW Bulletin, our experts provide tips for writing and organizing a solid communication plan, including how to establish realistic goals and define what it is you want to measure.
Amanda Aiello Beck
COMMUNICATION PLANNING OVERVIEW
by Les Potter, ABC, IABC Fellow
Much is said and written about strategic communication and communication planning. The essential question is what can a communicator do in order to be considered a strategic communicator? The short answer lies in the communication plan she develops. A good plan embodies all the necessary components of strategic communication.
by Nick Durutta, ABC
No important endeavor involving the application of resources, time and energy should be undertaken without a clear goal in mind. As obvious as this may sound, many communicators still either set weak goals for their communication plans or projects or don’t set any goals at all. They sometimes learn the hard way that, regardless of how much money and resources are committed to a project, without a clear goal in mind, success is uncertain.
EVALUATING YOUR PLAN
by Alice H. Brink, ABC, APR
Measurement-based planning involves starting your communication planning process with measurement. It may sound counterintuitive to start your plan at the end, but starting with defining what you ultimately want to measure—and how you will measure it—creates a more focused and concrete communication plan, with more quantifiable results.
GOOD COMMUNICATION PLANNING
by Elaine Dixson ABC, APR
A good communication plan should serve as a road map, guiding your work toward specific outcomes—nothing more and nothing less. But as simple as that may sound, it’s critical to your effectiveness. A good plan ensures you’re doing the right work, pursuing the right goals, and doing it the best way when there are always other options and choices for the use of your limited resources.
COMMUNICATION PLANNING TOOL
by George McGrath
While the strategic communication plan is important, consistent, disciplined execution is essential to deliver on its goals. How can we most effectively manage messages and content across a range of delivery channels, and ideally, align the communications of multiple content creators with the organization’s overall communication objectives, and time communications for maximum relevance and impact?
The solution is a planning tool that publishers have used for generations—the editorial calendar.
Be a Good, Not Bad, Example
by Liz Guthridge
The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, the new sheriff in San Francisco who was charged with domestic violence, and the former CEO of global derivatives broker MF Global, are great examples—examples of how not to lead by example.
Unfortunately, these three characters have lots of company these days. Many people in high places seem to practice “do as I say” rather than “do as I do” leadership.
Has leading by example become a quaint, outdated practice?
- "Get Smart Toronto," Hydro-Electric System Ltd.
- "United Way: Look What One Extra Quarter Can Do," Walt Disney World Resort
- "Techlife Magazine," Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
- "Relief in Sight," AusAID
Communication in the News
Related Resources provides additional articles and resources for understanding this month's topic of developing a communication plan. You can also find some of these links alongside each corresponding feature article for quick reference. Links include:
- "Two Ways to Quickly Improve Your Communication Plans," by Dave Fleet
- "Evaluate Your Communication Plan," by Robin Mayhall