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Write Your Communication Plan

Dreams and wishful thinking are one thing. Setting goals and following through on the work necessary to accomplish them are quite another. In the clamorous and noisy 24/7 world of communications, being a good strategic planner will set you free.The effort you put into developing a written communications plan

pays off many times over.

It can help:

  • You focus and prioritize your daily work

  • You avoid feeling overwhelmed

  • Give you a sense of order and control

  • You gain support for your projects from your boss and executive staff

  • Protect you against last-minute requests from colleagues

Plowing through planning lingo.

Many people use the terms goal, strategy, objective and tactic interchangeably. No wonder there is so much confusion. Here’s a quick tutorial on the distinctions. After evaluating your current communications situation and needs, ask yourself what are the primary results you wish to see? Goals are broad. For example, you may want to make a new service you’re offering the best of its kind in your community.

Your strategy will be the approach you take to achieve your goal. Following our first example about becoming offering a top service, one strategy might be to train those providing the service to be more customer friendly and prompt in their delivery. Objectives are the measurable steps you’ll take to carry out your strategy. Therefore, your objective here could be to increase community participation and support for your program or service by 50 percent. Finally, your tactics are the tools you’ll use to pursue the objectives associated with your strategy. A tactic might include creating and using protocols to respond courteously and promptly to community requests. Just remember:

  • A goal is a broad primary outcome.

  • A strategy is the approach you take to achieve a goal.

  • An objective is a measurable step you take to achieve a strategy.

  • A tactic is a tool you use in pursuing an objective associated with a strategy.

Define audiences. List the audiences you need to reach to achieve your goals. Sometimes you must engage a secondary audience to reach your primary audience. For example, your primary audience may be students, but you also need to engage parents and teachers to reach them.

Identify channels and tools. Where and how do your audiences get their information? The answers to these questions will help you decide what tools will be used to accomplish the stated goals. Your tools may be as simple as a flyer or involve a multimedia campaign using your social media and web platforms.

Establish a timetable. Once objectives, goals, audiences, and tools have been identified, quantify the results in a calendar grid that outlines roughly what projects will be accomplished and when. Separate objectives into logical time periods (monthly, weekly, etc.).

Evaluate the result. Build into your plan a method for measuring results. Your evaluation might take the form of progress reports.

As much of a headache as it might feel when putting it together, your written communications

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