How To Write A Good Communications Plan – Part 6 – Strategy
This is the sixth in a series of posts exploring how to create a good communications plan. Last time around we moved from analysis to planning and looked at setting your objectives. This post looks at establishing your strategy.
Now that you’ve figured out the objectives for your communications plan, you know where you’re going. It’s time to figure out how to get there.
Your strategy defines how you will achieve the objectives you’ve just identified. If you’ve done your analysis and thought through your objectives properly, the strategy should flow smoothly from them. If it doesn’t, you may need to go back and think a little more carefully about the sections that went before.
What Your Strategy Should Include
Start by thinking about your general approach to the initiative. Do you want to generate the maximum coverage possible or are you trying to minimize it? Simply put, do you want this to be high-profile or low-profile?
Proactive Or Reactive?
You will often find that a high-profile approach goes hand-in-hand with being proactive, and vice-versa. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Think – do you want to go out and drive the issue, or do you want to wait for customers and the media to come to you?
Bearing in mind the stakeholders you’ve already identified, in a general sense, how should you go about reaching them? Will you reach out to as many as possible or just the key ones? Will you communicate with them directly, through the media or perhaps through your website?
Link to your objectives
You just spent time nailing down the objectives for your initiative. Don’t waste that effort. Make sure your strategy fits with where you want to go.
Link to your analysis
Along the same lines as the point above, your strategy needs to fit with your earlier analysis. The easiest way to make sure it does is to draw clear, distinct lines between the two.
Don’t confuse strategy and tactics
This is a common mistake and it’s easy to make. Remember: strategy and tactics are different things. Don’t get down to the level of exactly what you’re going to issue/produce/hold at this point.
Remember, though, that while strategy and tactics are different, they are closely related – the strategy helps to frame your future decisions, including those about tactics. The choices you make about your strategy now will have a decisive impact on those you make about your tactics later.
The strategy section of your plan really isn’t brain surgery. You know what you’re trying to achieve; the strategy is just a top-level map of how you’re going to get there.
The “Communications Plan” Series
This is the sixth in a series of posts on communications planning. To read more of the series, check out a summary of the posts so far or pick from the previous posts:
- Part 1 – An Overview
- Part 2 – Context
- Part 3 – Environmental Scan
- Part 4 – Stakeholder Analysis
- Part 5 – Objectives
(Image credit: aleazzurro)