How To Write A Good Communications Plan – Part 12 – Budget

A caveat: This post is written from a corporate standpoint, and likely differs greatly from an agency perspective. If you have a different take, let me know in the comments.

BudgetUnfortunately, even the most basic communications approach comes with costs attached. In a corporate communications plan, the budget section details these.

Catharine Montgomery rightly points out that you should keep the your available budget in mind throughout your planning process and propose activities accordingly. However, for the purpose of a corporate communications plan, this section focuses on detailing and justifying your proposed expenditure.

Lots to consider

If you’re proposing a reactive, low-profile approach to your communications, the budget for your initiative may be very low – limited to the costs of drafting a few written products. However, if you’re adopting a high-profile strategy, your costs may be significantly higher.

Consider, for example, a relatively simple announcement I planned earlier this year. Costs included:

  • Media event staging
    • Lighting, audio, location setup
    • On-site video & audio production and editing
    • Car rentals to advance the location and attend the event
  • Media materials production and wire costs:
    • News release
    • Two backgrounders
    • Fact sheet
    • Media advisory
  • Other communications materials:
    • Matte article
    • Speech for spokesperson
    • Media Q&As
    • B-roll video
  • Public education campaign.

All of this for an announcement that, albeit high profile, had zero venue rental costs, no significant interactive or new media, no real marketing, no market research and no advertising.

Err on the side of detail

If you’re proposing a rollout with a significant cost (especially if you’re proposing to include advertising as part of the mix), try to make a solid case for that expenditure. You’ll find it much easier to get your proposal approved if you provide a detailed breakdown of the costs and make a case for them.

Sometimes you may want to offer multiple options for approaches in your plan. For example, you may want to put forward low, medium and high-profile rollout options along with a recommendation. If so, make sure you offer cost estimates for each option.

Where will these funds come from? Will it fit within your pre-determined communications budget or will extra funding be necessary? If so, what approvals are needed?

Other approaches

As I mentioned earlier, this is based on a corporate communications approach. Do you have a different perspective? Let me know in the comments.

The “Communications Plan” Series

This is the penultimate post in a series of 13 posts on exploring how to create a good communications plan. To read more of the series, check out the other posts here.

(Photo credit: linusb4)

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.