STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PLANNING

As the old saying goes, you need to know where you‘re going before you can know how to get there. Likewise,
…before you can plan out your strategy…
…before you even start to think about your media products or event…
…you need to nail down your objectives.

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?
In the very place you need to lay out what you‘re trying to achieve with a communications plan. For example:

  • Do you want to educate your customers?
  • Do you want to build support or create demand?
  • Do you want to get people to do something differently?
  • Do you want to defuse a situation?
  • Do you want to improve the search results for your company/product/executives?
  • Do you want to improve your organization‘s reputation?
  • Do you want to generate more online or offline news coverage?

Whatever you want to do, this is where you define it.
DEFINING YOUR OBJECTIVES
To fall back on an old mantra from business school, your objectives need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-focused

Make sure your objectives are measurable and time-focused. The specific, achievable and realistic characteristics will emerge from there. Vague objectives are a common pitfall. Ensure you can measure them and you will be forced to be ―specific. As for ―achievable and ―realistic, if your objectives don‘t meet those two criteria you don‘t deserve to be writing plans for anything.

One of the hardest parts of this to get your head around is the difference between business objectives and communications objectives. It’s important not to confuse the two. Remember — you can‘t take responsibility for the entire success or failure of the program. It helps to include the business objectives for the initiative in communications plan in addition to the communications objectives. Doing this helps to make sure your plan supports the overall business goals rather than working on its own.

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