Nowadays the good use of communication is a fundamental factor for any type of company. And many have made many communication mistakes.
It must be in accordance with the values of the organization and adjust to the objectives that they want to achieve.
Also to the type of client you are addressing, with a message and an adapted tone that arouses their interest.
To implement a successful communication strategy it is important to create a communication plan
Do you want to know what a communication plan is and how to apply it to your company? Keep reading, we will tell you!
What Is a Communication Plan?
A communication plan is a roadmap where the way in which a company is going to communicate with its public and when.
It clearly establishes the communication objectives to be achieved. In addition, it provides an order of the tasks and actions to be performed.
There are two types of communication plan depending on the target audience. These can be internal or external:
- Internal communication plan: It is addressed to employees. This is the implementation of a set of actions to promote the transfer of information and knowledge among the workers of a company. The objective is to create a good work environment and improve the company-employee relationship.
- External communication plan: It is aimed at the public of interest. Its objective is to improve the image of the brand. It is linked to the company’s relations with different interest groups. These can be shareholders, suppliers, consumers, or the general audience.
On the other hand, good internal communication indirectly favors the achievement of external communication objectives. Employees are the best prescribers for a brand
The communication of the brand abroad follows this same scheme to ensure that your image attracts loyalty to your customer.
Therefore, according to the channel through which a company develops its communication strategy, it can be divided into two groups:
- Online communication plan Refers to those strategies that use the Internet to carry out.
- Offline communication plan: Refers to those strategies that are not carried out over the Internet.
Both plans are not incompatible, but complementary.
What Is a Communication Plan For?
But what exactly is a communication plan for? A communication plan is crucial to unifying the message of your brand.
Both employees and the target audience will know its personality, values, and objectives, and you will avoid confusion on both sides.
In addition, a communication plan allows you to plan your organization’s resources both material and human, in an orderly and strategic way.
It is also useful if you want to have an overview of the actions to be carried out. Always with the focus on transmitting the right message to the public.
A message that will define you as a brand and that will set the course of the company.
Why Is Communication Plan Important?
The elaboration of an internal and/or external business communication plan has multiple benefits. Among the most outstanding:
Internal communication plan
- If the workers feel part of the company, they consider that it takes them into account and they are comfortable, they will be more productive and efficient.
- It favors the flow of information between the staff and the company. They will be up to date with news and changes in the organization.
- A good company-worker relationship generates loyalty. They will want to continue working for the brand and there will be less turnover.
- It improves efficiency because if employees are better informed and connected to each other, they will work more comfortably both individually and as a team.
- Identify the talent and potential of each of your employees.
- Get more insights about brand management and know where you can improve. They are the ones who know her best and will be willing to give their point of view.
External Communication Plan
- It will be easier to project a good image and strengthen the brand if it is worked from within.
- Help to know the resources you need for each action and reduce the costs of your company.
- Analyze and refocus the current brand strategy Locate the possible errors that are being made and improve the achievement of the objectives.
- Reach out and get to know your target audience better By studying your audience, with a message and the appropriate actions, you will increase market share and retain your current customers.
- Communication plans are usually a year away. By establishing guidelines in the short, medium, and long term, you will be able to achieve a homogeneous message that represents the philosophy of the company.
- When it comes to implementing actions, you will already know what has worked previously and what has not. It will help you to have a guide and to improve the effectiveness of the strategies since you will be able to monitor and evaluate them.
- Whether you launch an action to improve the reputation of the brand, to generate more confidence for new customers, or to get more traffic to your website, you will gain visibility directly or indirectly.
How to Make a Communication Plan
Once its importance is understood, let’s see the basic points that a strategic communication plan must contain.
As contextualization we understand both the external and internal analysis of the company or SWOT analysis For this, it is very useful to resort to studies and statistical data, as well as tools that provide us with the maximum information about where we are and how the market that surrounds us is, that will help us to establish the objectives in a coherent way.
Analysis of the environment: At this point, we must carry out a market study to analyze everything related to what is external to the company.
In other words, how is the market in which we carry out our activity, who is our competition, how does it behave, etc.?
For this, either outsourcing or outsourcing can be used that is, hiring a company to carry out the market study or, as we have mentioned in the previous point, through a process of research and analysis of studies and data statistics that provide us with the maximum information on the environment of our company.
Analysis of your company: In the same way that we have to analyze everything related to what is external to the company, it is also important to carry out an internal analysis of the company to find possible opportunities, threats as well as our strengths and weaknesses. For this, it is extremely useful to carry out a SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis is a methodology of studying the situations of our company, analyzing its internal characteristics (Weaknesses and Strengths) and its external situations (Threats and Opportunities) in a square matrix, that comes from SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).
Through this analysis, we will know the real situation in which our organization finds itself and it will help us to plan a communication strategy for the future.
2. Definition of objectives
Secondly, the objectives must be defined. This is one of the most important points to keep in mind when preparing a strategic communication plan.
The effectiveness of the plan depends on a studied definition of the objectives to be achieved.
A correct establishment of these requires taking into account the so-called SMART rule that is, these objectives must be:
- Time-limited (established for a certain period of time)
We must embrace those objectives that our company resources allow us. The maximum would be to establish not more than four communication objectives.
3. Target audience
Who are we targeting? Who is our target audience? How old are you? What do you work on? Is it male or female?
What level of income do you have? Where he lives? What interests do you have? What you do when you get free?
These are some of the necessary questions that cannot be left away unanswered in our business communication plan.
To do this, we have to decide who will lead our communication. For this, it is essential to know our target audience very well as well as the media and communication channels they use on a daily basis.
The tone, message, and channels we use will depend on it.
Fourth, the message is what we want to communicate to our target audience that we have previously defined and with an appropriate style and tone of communication.
Keys to a good message:
- Clear, concise and direct
- Grammatically and orthographically perfect
- With a language suitable for your target audience (adapted to their language, formal or informal..)
- Tone suitable to your target audience and your objectives Eg Motivational, instructive, etc.
- A message with content according to the needs and interests of your target audience
5. Resources and budget setting
However, in order to implement the communication plan, it is necessary to know exactly the resources we have (material and non-material) and how much we are going to allocate to the actions necessary to achieve the goal established in the communication plan:
- Economic item to allocate
- Employees and/or necessary human resources
- Ways to obtain the resources for the execution of the communication plan, etc.
On the other hand, the analysis of all the previous points will give us enough data to be able to choose which channels we are going to use to communicate with our target audience.
Offline communication channels:
- Radio and television
- Specialized magazines
- Urban furniture, signage, billboards.
- Public relations events and events
Online communication channels:
- Social networks
- Newsletter, bulletins
7. Action plan
After having studied our environment, established our objectives, analyzed our target audience, defined our message, chosen which channels we are going to use, evaluated our resources and established our budget, the time has come to get down to work with the actions that will help us to meet our goals. For this, we have to choose the action or actions that will help us achieve each one.
- Post a daily post of interest to my community
- Use Facebook Ads to promote the publications that mostly interest my users and thus reach others to increase my community worldwide.
8. Calendar of actions
As I mentioned earlier, there is no point in setting a goal if it is not defined for a certain period of time. The same goes for actions.
In order to measure the results, it is necessary that these actions be established in a calendar.
Each action will have a determined duration as well as continuity, some will be repeated daily or weekly and others will be punctual.
Therefore, it is necessary to define what we are going to do and when we are going to do it.
9. Evaluation of Results
Finally, it is useless to develop all of the above if, in the end, we do not measure results.
This evaluation of results will indicate if we are meeting objectives or if, if not, we must improve or change some of the actions carried out to achieve them.
Vikram Rana is Marketing Manager at LiftnGift and has served as the Head of Conversion Marketing at Planet Web Solution. He’s an expert in inbound marketing and lead generation.