Analytic-OR: Management Consulting and Strategic Communications

Effective Communications Begins With A Plan

You have an important message that needs to get out to your clients – but how do you deliver it? Social networking? Print or web ads? Maybe even a video? There are countless ways to spend your money and energy – the key is finding the most efficient and effective way to reach your key customers. You need a plan.

Your communications plan should include these five important steps:

1. Know your audience
Knowledge is your best weapon – so gather as much of it as you can – about your business, your industry, current trends, and your own vision, values and goals. Identify your target audiences and learn about them – where do they get their information? What appeals to them? What’s the most important thing that you have to say to them?

2. Create your strategy
Now that you’re armed with knowledge, you can create a plan that identifies who your priority targets will be, your key messages (what you want them to know) and the most effective methods for reaching them. It be might social networking – or perhaps your participation in a conference or event.

3. Make it a reality
It’s great to have a plan, but only if you’re prepared to put it into action. Creating a tactics calendar is a great way to map out and implement marketing activities on various fronts- media releases, events, advertising, etc. Your calendar can also be used to identify seasonal opportunities – for example, tying in a campaign to a national event, theme day or focus section of a publication.

4. Measure your results
Now that your campaign is live, you’ll want to evaluate just how well it’s working for you. You might measure changes in sales figures, or perhaps online mentions and inbound links to your website. Or you might measure whether your activities have changed the way your customers interact with you.

5. Make adjustments and move forward
Once you have a reasonable idea of just how well your plan is (or isn’t) working, you can decide whether revisions are required. It may mean changing or even dropping some of your tactics- or adding new ones. New communications tools are being created every day – so it’s important to regularly review and potentially test new strategies for delivering your message.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Don’t rely on guesses and fads – plan for success with a strategic communications plan that truly speaks for you.