20 questions to ask yourself for a brilliant communications plan

browningyork Charity, Communication lessons, Planning, Public sector, University, Voluntary sector

Why Who What When How 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.

1. What is the purpose of your communication?

2. What do you want the outcome of your communication to be? You probably want your audience to think, feel or do something in response.

3. How will your communication support your organisation’s strategy? Communications are more powerful when they are linked to a broader narrative or objective.

4. Who will be your audience(s)? Different groups will have different needs, so remember to list them all.

5. What motivates and engages them?

6. What do they already know and/or understand?

7. What has been their previous experience of your subject? Positive, negative or indifferent – you are almost never starting from zero.

8. What does your audience want to hear about your project?

9. What do you want to tell them? Not necessarily the same thing! You need to know if there’s a gap so that you can address it.

10. What information do they need and what’s ‘nice-to-know’?

11. What are your key dates? Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget to plan ahead and find yourself throwing together communications at the last minute.

12. How much time will you need to achieve your outcome?

13. What else is going on (within your organisation and/or in the external world) that could impact your communication? Communication never happens in a vacuum.

14. 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 project.

15. How do they already communicate?

16. Who do they listen to? Influencers may not be the obvious candidates, so find out who they really listen to, not who you think they should listen to.

17. How will you ensure you hear and include their views?

18. 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 if necessary.

19. Did you achieve your outcome? You can only answer this if you had a clear purpose and objectives at the start.

20. What will you do (differently) next time?

When you’ve answered these questions, your plan will have more or less built itself. You’ll know what messages you want to share, with whom and why, plus the best methods to use for success.

Good luck! Let me know how you get on and drop me a line if you would like any help.

Until next time
Sarah