What is a Communications Plan?
Plans are the key to the success of any project. So just like you need a business plan, you also need a communications plan.
Think about it. You wouldn’t cook a meal without a recipe. You wouldn’t build a deck without a design and layout. You wouldn’t construct a building without consulting an architect and preparing your project for every possible difficulty your new project could confront.
Similarly, you should not embark on a public relations — or any other communications effort — without a communications plan. So, what is a communications plan?
Every communications plan, also known as a PR plan, should have several key components:
- An Overview: An outline of your mission, goals and purpose of your plan.
- Objectives: A more detailed overview of your company or nonprofit’s goals, targets and deadlines.
- Target Audiences: Any good communications plan should have an overview of the people you plan to target with your communications goals. Are you targeting journalists? Are you targeting local, regional or national outlets? Are you trying to reach consumer or trade media? What are the demographics of your ideal customers or donors? Are you trying to reach boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Y or Gen Z? Where is your target market located? You can even take this step a bit farther and outline personas for each of your targets.
- Key Messages: Your communications plan should have three to five key messages you would like to convey when talking to journalists, influencers or the general public.
- Tactics: All of the above items outline strategies, but now you need to outline the tactics that our going to help you achieve those strategic goals. Take this opportunity to brainstorm. Come up with a variety of possible tactics to help meet your business or nonprofit goals, keeping key messages and target audiences in mind.
- Timeline: Take the tactics you have created and put them into a timeline. Make the timeline reasonable (do not try to do everything at once, and remember to time activities around holidays or special events). Point Taken recommends outlining at least a six-month timeline of activities in your PR plan.
While a communications plan is an important part of an overall public relations and marketing strategy, plans can change. Remember, a PR plan is a working document, and as such can change or need alterations. Follow the news and current events to ensure your plan is updated so you do not promote your product or service in the middle of a local, national or international crisis.
Need help creating your communications plan? Point Taken is here to help. Contact us today.