A communication strategy is designed in an organization to communicate effectively and meet the objectives set.
Writing the communication strategy
1. Definition of the strategic framework
Defining a communication strategy will help us maintain a regulatory framework of best practices in which the organization can move freely. It is very useful for us to say in advance what we have developed in a communication strategy and what we intend or hope to achieve with it. This does not have to be very detailed, but it will act as a framework and reminder for all levels of the organization that use communication as a medium.
The communication strategy shows how effective communication can:
- Help achieve those global objectives of the organization.
- Engage effectively with stakeholders.
- Demonstrate and exhibit the success of our work.
- Ensuring that people understand what we do.
- Change user behavior and perceptions
2. Analysis of the current situation
The introductory part of the communication strategy should briefly outline what the organization does, what its main functions are, and where it does business. You should look at the communication strengths of your organization. What has been and is a success and what has not worked well in the last three years. I propose a series of tools that can help analyze the organization’s current situation.
a) PEST analysis
It involves an analysis of the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors that could affect the work of the organization. These factors can be positive or negative and must include issues that can have a high impact on the “normal” functioning of the organization. We should indicate why each factor would have an expected effect.
For example, in “Political” we could include: Need to understand the new political agenda. Short-term implications of new policies.
b) SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis involves carrying out an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that our organization has. Let’s think about what it means in terms of communication. How can threats become opportunities, how can strengths play a relevant role in communication?
c) Competitor analysis
Another useful tool in evaluating the current situation is to look at what your competitors are doing. This can be a relatively straightforward exercise in which you identify competitors and rank them using certain criteria. We must try to be objective in the evaluation of current strengths and weaknesses, otherwise, we will fall into an interpretive bias that will not help in the benefit and achievement of the objectives set in communication.
3. Organizational objectives and communication objectives
Any communication strategy must clearly and accurately reflect the vision and objectives of the organization. Next, we should analyze how communication can help achieve these goals.
In addition to referring to the specific objectives, this section should give a general sense of the communication principles on which the strategy and the key messages that the organization wants to convey are based.
The communication objectives must be seen in such a way that they always help to achieve the general objectives of the organization. In this way, they will be recognized as fundamental to the achievement of the overall mission within the organization.
Important: Most of the organization’s plans are covered for about five years, the vision and strategy should work in the same scenario.
We should use the SMART rule for the realization of the objectives.
4. Identify target audiences
In this section, we should describe in detail the main target audiences we are targeting (both external and internal).
Many organizations find in this analysis a large number of audiences to interact with. One of the parts of the strategy must contain the public that may be interested in parts of the organization or activities that it develops. Understanding this makes it easier to prioritize communication work.
We are going to use a model of influence and resources / Interest in the organization.
Important: do not forget the internal customer. Internal communication is a crucial part of any communication strategy.
Once you’ve identified your audiences, your next task is to break down your goals into messages relevant to each of those target audiences. We will start with the highest priority. Remember your messages should be relevant and appropriate for each audience.
6. Communication channels
We should indicate the most appropriate channels for each identified audience to communicate with them. As we saw in the online crisis management matrix, what channel do we use for a complaint made by Twitter?
There are pros and cons in the use of each one of the channels since they can vary depending on the needs and the resources that we have. It is not the same to send by mail segmented and directed to each public than a mass one without taking into account the target audiences.
Important: There will probably be several suitable communication channels for each audience.
With the target audience and key channels identified, the next step is to draw up a table that indicates the actions to be carried out, the budget, and the resources allocated.
The work plan should also include the proposed deadlines and identify key milestones within the strategy. This will allow us to measure everything up to the final goal set.
How can we do the programming? If you are one of those who use Google as a means of work, I recommend that you use Gantter as a programming tool.
8. Measure and evaluate
Our communication strategy should conclude with a section with the methodology that we are going to use to evaluate the results. When have the objectives been met?
Here the tools that we are going to use to evaluate different sections of the communication should be indicated.
Important: We will include milestones in the evaluation section so that we can measure progress towards the final goals.
Finally, we should add to our communication plan those aspects of the company’s marketing plan that we believe are relevant.