‘How do I build a communication strategy or plan?’ remains one of the most common questions I get asked. I find it reassuring because it demonstrates a recognition that a strategic approach is going to be better than an ad hoc one for reaching audiences with messages of kindness.
This week I am running a session at the NHS Charities Together Conference about how to build an effective communications strategy. I’ve also recently recorded a webinar on the same topic.
So I thought a reminder of 10 questions to ask yourself would be useful. What would you add to the list?
Checklist of questions
There’s a lot to remember when you’re putting together a communications plan for your project. Who are you trying to reach, would a newsletter be better than a tweet series, what do you want to say and so on….. Use this handy checklist of questions to make sure you don’t forget anything.
- What do you want the outcome of your communication to be? You probably want your audience to think, feel or do something in response.
- How will your communication support your organisation’s strategy? Communications are more powerful when they are linked to a broader narrative or objective.
- Who will be your audience(s)? Different groups will have different needs, so remember to list them all.
- What motivates and engages them?
- What has been their previous experience of your subject? Positive, negative or indifferent – you are never starting from zero.
- What are the core messages you want to get across? Keep it simple and stick to the things that come under ‘if you hear nothing else, hear this’.
- What are your important dates? Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget to plan ahead and find yourself throwing together communications at the last minute.
- How can you get your message to your audience? There are a whole range of methods of communication and one size doesn’t fit all, so use the information you’ve already gathered to work out what is going to be most effective for your context.
- How will you ensure you hear and include their views?
- How will you measure whether your communication is effective? It’s always good to have an idea of how you will do this before you have even started. If you measure as you go along, you can adapt as necessary.
When you’ve answered these questions, your plan will have started to build itself. You’ll know what messages you want to share, with whom and why, plus the best methods to use for success.
Until next time
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