Corporate Communications Plan: The Roadmap for Success

corporate communication plan meaning

Courtney Morrison

  • Communications

15 minute read

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Successful companies are strategic with the way they communicate. In fact, developing a corporate communications plan can be one of the most important ways to build a stronger brand.

Trust is created by the ways that businesses share authentically about themselves and how they respond to difficult situations.

Communications teams benefit from putting a lot of effort into the way they craft messaging and tell stories about their brand. And those that are most equipped to handle challenges and adapt to change are the ones that have plans in place.  

A 2019 study showed that 96% of people think the businesses they deal with could improve when it comes to communication and project management. So clearly this is something more businesses need to address!

Let’s explore what successful corporate communications plans include and have in common, and how they can benefit your organization.

What is a Corporate Communications Plan?

A corporate communications plan is the framework for how a business shares messages internally and externally. You can think of it as the roadmap for how a company communicates with their stakeholders, employees, customers, the media, and regulators. 

Part of the plan includes what information to share, who the target audience is, how frequently to provide updates, and what channels are the best to relay these messages.

Having a plan in place shapes how a company will handle communications during times of crisis, change, and launches of campaigns and new products.

What Are the Types of Corporate Communications?

The two main types of corporate communications are:

Internal Communications: How a business shares information with its employees, leadership teams, managers, and board members. 

The interactions can be formal modes of communications such as all-hands meetings to discuss strategic initiatives and performance, updates about organizational changes, company newsletters , and internal memos about policy changes. 

Or they can also include more informal communication like using messaging apps to collaborate, welcoming new hires, celebrating work anniversaries, or sharing details on winning new business.

External Communications: Any information shared outside of the organization. 

Whether it is a formal press release or branded content on social media, these communications build the company’s public image and impact the perception of a brand and its products or services. 

Marketing, content, and advertising created by the company to promote it are included as external communication methods. 

Press releases and financial reporting are another way that companies share messaging about the organization with the outside world.  

Why is Having a Corporate Communications Plan Important?

Corporate communications plans lead to sharing clearer and better messages with your target audience. 

Whether that audience includes your own employees or potential customers, you want to be heard in the right place and at the right time. Setting up a framework to achieve that is essential. 

Sometimes you might be thrown a curveball, and a communications plan will help your business be prepared for any unexpected changes or crises that come your way. 

Surprisingly, a JOTW Communications Survey showed that 59% of communicators say they have a communications strategy drafted, but only 45% admit to having a documented crisis communications plan.

Having a plan in place will also allow for speedier recovery to any public relations issues. For example, responding to negative feedback and being open about mistakes can build trust with your brand and get you back on the right track in the eyes of customers and potential clients.

Communicating effectively and transparently shows that your brand values engagement by taking a proactive approach to be included in conversations about your brand or industry. 

A corporate communications plan for internal communications will also help define and build a transparent company culture. This can improve employee engagement by keeping team members included in conversations about where the company is heading and what it values.

If there are sudden changes on a team, you’ll be better able to communicate the changes in a way that makes employees feel comfortable and cared for if you have a plan for how to share that information first for those immediately affected and then across the company.

What Should A Corporate Communications Plan Include?

It takes time and consideration to develop an effective corporate communications plan. You’ll want to include details for the objectives, approach, and tracking measures for the goals of your messaging.

In simple terms, you’ll want to include the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Here are the elements your corporate communications plan needs:

  • Target Audiences – these are the groups of stakeholders that will be receiving the messages. They could be employees, customers, media members, investors, leadership teams, and managers. Age, location, job level, interests, and lifestyle are all helpful to know about the receivers of your messaging.
  • Objectives – most communications are created with a call to action or a desired outcome in mind — these are your ultimate objectives or goals. They should be tied to your overall organizational goals to drive business outcomes.
  • Message content – what you want to say and what you are trying to help your readers understand. Tone and personality are important to formulate in your message to get your reader’s attention.
  • Distribution strategy – the channels and venues that your communications will be delivered on are an important aspect of the communications plan. Paid, earned, owned, and shared media channels have different benefits for reaching audiences.
  • Frequency – how often you will be sharing or updating content to reach your target audience. This will depend on your team’s budget and resources, as well as an understanding of your target audience and being mindful of attention fatigue. 
  • Measures of evaluation – how you’ll know if your communications were successful. These should be highly attached to your objectives and goals so that you can track progress and understand areas for improvement.  

How to Create a Corporate Communications Plan

You can follow these steps to design a corporate communications plan that is thorough and takes into account the many facets that go into a successful communications strategy.

1. Establish goals

Pick 3-5 measurable goals for your communication plan. They could be connected to brand awareness like increasing website traffic or generated a certain number of new leads.

Or they could be related to employee engagement, such as increasing the employee satisfaction score on your next survey or increasing the number of shares of branded content.

2. Set a clear process

Knowing the steps involved to launch a communications campaign and having teams on board with the process will ensure that your plan is scalable.

Document the steps involved from content creation to distribution to collecting feedback and share those with any teams that are included in the action.

You should also define clear roles for who will be involved in creating the communications and which stakeholders need to be involved for approving messages and compliance.

3. Identify and segment targets

Take time to think through who your target audience will be and how they may be different. Knowing your audiences can help you tailor your content and tone to appeal to audiences.

Use customer analysis and social listening to determine your audience’s preferred social channels and the best forms of content to encourage visibility of your content.

The way your company shares information with employees will likely be different than how it presents to the board or investors so it’s important to segment your audiences.

4. Develop key messages

Craft the copy and creative materials needed to effectively communicate your messaging. Think about what you are trying to articulate and how it could be conveyed in the clearest and understandable way for your target audience.

The content-type should also be considered — should the message be shared in a meeting or email or video? How can the audience react and ask questions about the announcement? These are all questions to consider when creating the content for both internal and external communications.

5. Choose a channel strategy

You’ll need to determine the channels and frequency of your communications to meet your goals. 

For example, if your communication strategy is for internal communications you’ll evaluate whether an email or meeting is the best way to share the news. 

Do teams prefer shorter, weekly updates or to get more information at the end of the month? Get feedback from your audiences to determine what makes the most sense for your communication cadence.

6. Measure objectives and progress

Before you start implementing your plan, think through how you can measure success for your communications with metrics like reach, open rates, and engagement.

That way you will be set up to continuously improve your content strategy and messaging. 

Collect feedback from employees or customers on how to improve your messaging and enact these changes so that you are don’t run the risk of turning off or disengaging your audience.   

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What are the Main Channels for Corporate Communications?

Companies have many software platforms and tools to choose from that can help streamline communications. You’ll want to use a mix of communication channels to achieve different goals.

For external communications, social networks, media publications, and videoconferencing are some of the most effective ways to reach potential customers and grow brand awareness. 

All of the content that you publish on your website reflects the values and goals of your brand and can be a powerful way to make connections by providing valuable resources to potential buyers.

For internal project communication, email and messaging apps are the easiest ways for people to collaborate at an organization. They make it easy to share files and resources, get input from colleagues, and track project status updates. 

Internal blogs, company newsletters, and intranets are some examples of methods that companies have used to keep employees informed and connected.

For building company culture and employee engagement, internal enterprise social networking platforms provide a more flexible and easy to use way to share company content. 

Employee advocacy for corporate communications

Employee advocacy platforms like EveryoneSocial make it easy to link to external social networks, bridging the gap between internal company conversations and sharing them externally to strengthen brand engagement.

Press releases are important tools for sharing announcements and launching new products. And those efforts can be amplified when you have employees that want to share that content to their own networks, as well.

Beyond externally distributing communication messages, EveryoneSocial has unique features that keep your people engaged, connected, and informed — no matter where they are working. 

For example, some features for communications include: 

  • Internal newsletters
  • Push notifications
  • Mobile apps
  • Real-time messaging
  • Follow company employees
  • Tag employees on important info
  • Read-only content

EveryoneSocial platform sample post showing corporate communications.

Want to learn more about how Everyone Social can be used to improve your corporate communication plan? Schedule your demo with us and we’ll share how some of our enterprise customers are communicating better by enabling their workforce with EveryoneSocial!

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corporate communication plan meaning

More from Everyonesocial Customers

corporate communication plan meaning

More often than not, clear communication can make or break successful projects. Clear communication in project management isn’t just about where you should be communicating—it’s also about which team members should be receiving which types of messages.

The good news is, creating an effective communication plan isn’t difficult. All you need to do is define your communication channels and align on when team members should use each. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up a communication plan and show you a template so you can create your own.

What is a communication plan?

Sharing a communication plan can give your team clarity about which tools to use when and who to contact with each of those tools. Without a communication plan, you might have one team member trying to ask questions about work in a tool that another team member rarely checks. Rather than being able to clearly communicate and move forward with work, each team member would end up frustrated, confused, and disconnected from the work that matters. Then, if they don’t have clear insight into who is responsible for each channel, they might end up reaching out to an executive stakeholder with questions that person can’t answer. What started out as a simple miscommunication has spiraled into three frustrated team members—and all the while, work isn’t moving forward.

What should a communication plan include?

Your communication plan is your one-stop-shop for your project communication strategy. Team members should be able to use the communication plan to answer project questions like:

What communication channels are we using? What is each channel used for?

When should we communicate in person vs. asynchronously?

What are the project roles? Who is the project manager ? Who is on the project team? Who are the project stakeholders ?

How are important project details, like project status updates, going to be communicated? How frequently will these be shared?

What shouldn’t be included in a communication plan?

A communication plan will help you clarify how you’re going to communicate with your project team and project stakeholders—whether these are internal team members that work at your company, or external stakeholders like customers or contractors.

A communication plan in project management is not a PR plan. This plan will not help you align on your social media strategy, identify a target audience, or establish key messages for different demographics. If you need to build out those plans, consider creating a  social media content calendar  or a  business strategy plan .

The benefits of a communication plan

Obviously  clear communication in the workplace  is a good thing. But do you really need a written communication plan to do that?

In a word: yes. A good communication plan can help you communicate the right information to the right project stakeholders. Executive stakeholders don’t need to be notified about every project detail—similarly, every project team member might not need to be on a conference call with your external partners. By clarifying where and how you’ll be communicating, you can reduce the guessing game and unblock your team.

Less app switching

We recently interviewed  over 13,000 global knowledge workers  and found that the average knowledge worker switches between 10 apps up to 25 times per day. Instead of focusing on high-impact work or even collaborating effectively with their team members, knowledge workers are sinking hours into simply trying to figure out where they should be communicating.

A communication plan can eliminate this guessing game. For example, if your team knows that you only communicate about work in a  work management tool , they can search for key information there—instead of digging through document folders, Slack messages, and multiple email chains. Similarly, when you know that a team member is only tangentially working on the project—and is only being looped in during high-level status reports—you won’t bother them with a question about when the next  project deliverable  is due.

quotation mark

We have created communication guidelines around what software or what tools are best for what. Asana is for action, Slack is for quick responses or answers to things that are floating around. Email is more official and mostly external facing. By doing that, and creating the proper communications guidance, it really helps reduce the noise.”

Increased collaboration

Team collaboration isn’t an effortless process that happens by itself—it’s a skill that you and your team have to build. One part of creating effective  team collaboration  is clarifying your team’s communication conventions. That’s because a big barrier to effective collaboration is feeling comfortable communicating—especially if you work on a  remote or distributed team . If your team feels unsure because they’re still trying to figure out how or where to communicate, they won’t be fully comfortable talking to one another.

Your communication plan is a chance to clarify where team members should be communicating. Depending on the level of detail, you can also include when team members should be communicating—and clarify team conventions towards setting “Do not disturb” mode or snoozing notifications.

By providing these guidelines, you’re effectively removing one of the biggest barriers to easy communication and collaboration between team members. When team members know where to communicate—and just as importantly, where not to communicate—they can be confident they’re sending the right message at the right time.

Less duplicative work

Currently, knowledge workers spend  60% of their time on work about work  like searching for documents, chasing approvals, switching between apps, following up on the status of work, and generally doing things that take time away from impactful work. Part of this work about work is not knowing where things should be communicated.

If team members don’t have a clear sense of where information is shared—things like your  project plan  or  project timeline —then they’ll have to dig through multiple tools or ask several team members just to find the right information. As a result, team members who are unclear about where they should be communicating about work also have a harder time simply finding existing work.

Work about work leads to more manual, duplicative work and less clarity overall. In fact, according to the  Anatomy of Work Index , we spend 13% of our time—236 hours per year—on work that’s already been completed. By sharing your communication plan, you can give your team clarity into exactly where work lives, so they don’t have to spend all that time finding it themselves.

How to write a communication plan

A communication plan is a powerful tool—but it’s also relatively easy to create. You can create a communication plan in four steps.

1. Establish your communication methods

The first step to creating a communication plan is to decide where your team will communicate—and about what. This includes when to use which tools and when to communicate live vs. asynchronously. Live, synchronous communication is communication that happens in real time. Conversely, asynchronous communication is when you send a message without expecting someone to reply right away. We all use asynchronous communication every day without realizing it—most notably, every time we send an email.

As you define your communication plan, identify what to use each tool for. For example, you might decide to use:

Email to communicate with any external stakeholders.

Slack for synchronous communication about day-to-day updates and quick questions.

Asana to communicate asynchronously about work, like task details, project status updates , or key project documents.

Zoom or Google Meet for any team meetings, like project brainstorms or your project post mortem.

2. Align on communication cadence

Now that you know where you’ll be communicating, you also have to identify how frequently you’ll be communicating. Your communication cadence is your action plan for updating different stakeholders about different project details.

For example, you might decide to schedule:

Weekly project status updates posted in Asana to all project stakeholders and sponsors.

Monthly project team meetings to unblock any work or brainstorm next steps.

Asynchronous project milestone updates in Asana as needed.

3. Add a plan for stakeholder management

Running a successful project often depends on getting stakeholder support and buy-in. At the beginning of the project, you’ll do this during the  project kickoff meeting —but it’s also critical to maintain stakeholder support throughout your project.

Take some time as you’re drafting your communication plan to detail when to communicate with each project stakeholder, and about what. Some people, like your key project team members, will be communicating about this project regularly—maybe even daily. Other project stakeholders may only need to be looped in during project status updates or maybe just at the final readout.

By listing out how you’ll be managing communication with stakeholders, you can ensure they’re being contacted at the right time about the right things. The communication they recieve should answer questions at their level of detail and with a focus on business results and overall, high-level impact.

4. Share your communication plan and update it as needed

Once you’ve created your communication plan, it’s time to share it with your project team. Make sure your communication plan is accessible in your central source of truth for all project information. We recommend using  Asana  to track all project communication and work, so you can talk about work where you’re working.

If any changes impact your project communication plan, make sure you update it and communicate those changes. That way, team members always have access to the most up to date information.

Example communication plan

[inline illustration] Communication plan for brand campaign in Asana (example)

Communication plan template

Description of communication.

What type of communication is it?

How often will you be communicating?

Which tool will you be using? Is this synchronous or asynchronous communication?

Who is receiving this communication?

Who is in charge of sending out this communication?

Good communication starts with a communication plan

Clear communication can help you send the right message at the right time. Empower effortless collaboration while also ensuring every team member is being looped in at the right times. That way, your team can spend less time communicating about work and more time on high-impact work.

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What is a communication plan and why it’s important: a guide

This nonprofit professional is enacting a communication plan by calling supporters.

For nonprofit organizations, a  communication plan  is a holistic approach to strategizing, documenting, and implementing  marketing , outreach, and communication practices across an organization’s departments and teams.

Communication plans define  what  information should be communicated,  who  should receive that information,  when  that information should be delivered,  where  (e.g., email, social media, mail) communication will be shared, and  how  those communications will be tracked and analyzed.

In this guide, we’ll look at the benefits of a communication plan, the steps for making a plan, and a template to get you started.

Top 7 benefits of communication planning

Nonprofit communication plans have many more benefits than a single  outreach campaign  could bring alone. An effective communication plan helps your team:

  • Clarify your goals and objectives.  As your communications roadmap, your plan tells you where you need to go and how to get there.
  • Articulate the relationships between audiences, messages, channels, activities, and materials.  The communications planning process will help you identify who you need to reach, what you want them to know, and how you will reach them. You will find that each of your audiences has unique characteristics, needs, and motivations. As you plan, you will discover the most effective ways to communicate with them.
  • Identify and implement a variety of communications activities.  Since there are an infinite number of ways to spread your message, a communication plan helps you determine which activities will yield the best results. 
  • Clarify staff member and stakeholder roles.  For effective communication, everyone needs to know what they will contribute and what they are responsible for. A well-articulated plan will help stakeholders get on the same page, feel a sense of ownership over their work, and articulate a consistent message.
  • Find creative, collaborative solutions.  Involving staff, stakeholders, constituents, interns, and junior staff members in the planning process will bring in a number of diverse perspectives to reach your audiences more effectively.
  • Incorporate stakeholder input in the communications process.  Asking for stakeholder and  community feedback  on your plan will show that you value their input and adjust your plan to be as impactful as possible.
  • Evaluate your plan’s successes and growth areas.  Organizations will often do a mid-course review to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Then, they can create and implement new approaches. Develop a unique evaluation strategy to consistently gather the information you need to improve your plan.

Now that you’re familiar with the many benefits of communication planning, you’re ready to begin the process of making a communication plan for your organization.

How to make a communication plan: 8 steps

Ultimately, building a communication plan now will save you significant time, energy, and resources in your communications down the road. For ease of use, we’ve broken this planning  process down into eight simple steps:

  • Audit your existing strategies and materials.  You likely don’t need to start your communication plan from scratch. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t in your current communications with  volunteers , donors, and partners. 
  • Set SMART goals.  Based on the results from your audit, determine goals for your communications. For the greatest impact, your goals should always be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). 
  • Identify your target audiences.  Based on your SMART goals, determine your communications’ target audiences. For example, if your goal is to increase annual fundraising, you might focus on  potential major donors  with wealth and philanthropic indicators that suggest they could give more. 
  • Establish your communication methods.  Once you have a good sense of your target audience, consider their communication preferences, such as the channels and platforms they use most. Then, focus your communication efforts on those channels.
  • Determine communication cadences and timelines.  Depending on the goals, audience, and medium, the frequency of communication will vary widely. For example, while you’ll likely post updates on social media multiple times each week for maximum engagement, you might decide to send a more in-depth physical or digital  newsletter  once a quarter.
  • Assign roles to team members.  Determine which departments and individuals are responsible for delivering each message. For example,  a board member  might be responsible for communicating with major donors, a development officer might be responsible for communicating with recurring donors, and a program coordinator might be responsible for communicating with volunteers.
  • Document your plan.  You only have a plan if you remember to document it. Record your plan in a digital format that can be easily shared and updated.
  • Share your communication plan with stakeholders.  Distribute your documented plan to relevant team members and stakeholders with instructions on how to use it. As a result, everyone will be on the same page, and your communications will be clear and consistent.

Rather than being a linear process, communication planning is, in fact, quite cyclical. Once you implement your plan, track and measure both quantitative and qualitative metrics such as views, click-throughs, and conversions to determine strengths and weaknesses. Then, adjust accordingly!

An easy-to-use communication plan template 

Keeping a detailed, up-to-date record of your communication plan is crucial to its success. Doing so creates continuity and consistency within and between departments. 

Although there are numerous ways to document your communications plan, the simplest approach is often the most effective. A  communication plan template , like the one below, can be specific  and  easy for everyone in your nonprofit to follow. Reference the information sourced in the steps above to answer each question in the form below:

Goal.  What do you want your communication to achieve?

Content.  What information or  call to action  will this communication contain? 

Timing.  When and how often will you deliver this communication?

Channel.  Where will you share this communication?

Methods . What tools/platforms will you use?

Audience . Who will receive this communication?

Owner . Who is in charge of sending out this communication?

While you may also want to develop an in-depth communication plan for your communications team, for the majority of stakeholders, this short template will be more accessible, quicker to update, and easier to reference than a lengthy guide.

Once you have your plan down, pair it with a robust,  all-in-one fundraising solution  that helps your team quickly identify audience segments, target them with engaging content, track results, and effectively implement changes.

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How to write a communication plan (with template and examples)

corporate communication plan meaning

Communication is one of the product manager’s primary responsibilities. After all, a PM can’t do their job without effectively communicating risks, dependencies, and changes.

How To Write An Effective Communication Plan With Examples

In small companies, communication is somewhat more intuitive and often easier to manage. The problems begin to appear when the company grows.

A bigger company means more teams, more stakeholders, more initiatives, and more of everything. Beyond scale-ups, communication often becomes either too chaotic or too infrequent.

In cases like that, having a robust communication plan can be a life saver. In this guide, we’ll demonstrate how to write a communication plan in six easy steps. You can also use our free communication plan template , which contains both a blank spreadsheet for you to fill out and a practical example to help you get started.

What is a communication plan?

A communication plan is an inspectable artifact that describes what information must be communicated as well as to whom, by whom, when, where, and via what medium that information is to be communicated. In addition, a communication plan outlines how communications are tracked and analyzed.

A communication plan can take various forms. For example, it might take the form of a(n):

  • Weekly checklist
  • Spreadsheet
  • Automated Trello board

In general, a communication plan should be whatever works for you and your team, as long as it allows you to inspect and adapt your approach to communicating with others.

Benefits of a communication plan

Investing time in creating and maintaining a communication plan brings many benefits. A communication plan serves as a(n):

Checklist and reminder

Inspectable artifact, alignment with stakeholders.

Who hasn’t forgotten to inform some critical stakeholder about a recent change/discovery?

Product management is such a fast-paced and dynamic profession that it’s very easy to let small details slip. Unfortunately, it’s these small details that often matter the most.

A written communication plan serves as a checklist that ensures minute details don’t slip too often. Whenever something relevant happens, you can easily refer to your communication plan to double-check whether you’ve connected with everyone who needs to be in the loop.

A tangible communication plan allows product managers to slow down, inspect, and adapt their current processes.

Whenever there’s a communication mishap, they can review what led to it and adjust their approach to communication. A concrete plan makes a vague and sometimes intimidating term such as “communication” more tangible.

corporate communication plan meaning

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corporate communication plan meaning

A communication plan, when done well, brings alignment and facilitates input from other stakeholders. It also lays out expectations of how communication is being handled and executed.

If stakeholders feel they aren’t getting all the relevant information, they can quickly check the communication plan to see what they are missing and what is lacking in the communication process that is causing them to miss that information. If they find the communication inadequate, they can share their feedback with the communication plan owner.

It’s easier to facilitate feedback and alignment when something is on paper.

How to create a communication plan in 6 steps

As mentioned above, there are various ways to create a communication plan.

A simple way to write a communication plan is to answer six questions:

  • What type of information do you produce?
  • Who should receive that information?
  • How often should they receive it?
  • What channels are most appropriate for this type of information?
  • When is communication done for that type of information?
  • Who should make sure it happens?

1. What type of information do you produce?

Start by reviewing what information you produce and process.

If you manage roadmaps , you probably produce a lot of information regarding roadmap changes, delays, and anything else that may relate to roadmaps.

If you manage releases, you also produce information regarding the release progress, stage, and anything else that related to releases.

Capture it all.

To make it easier, start with the broader, more general concepts. And if you notice the need for more precision, split them into more detailed communication positions.

2. Who should receive that information?

For a given type of information you produce or process, who should receive it? These are usually people who are:

  • Direct stakeholders
  • Dependent on the initiative
  • Contributing to the initiative

Investing some time in defining the receipts has two main benefits.

First, it ensures you don’t miss a critical person in your communication flow, but it also helps you answer the question of who is not interested in certain information. Over-communication creates noise and should be avoided.

3. How often should they receive it?

You should identify the frequency of updates being sent out depending on the information being shared and which stakeholders are included. Should it be daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly?

You probably won’t nail it at first, but that’s OK. What’s important is to search for a sweet spot between over-communication and under-communication.

Although it might seem excessive at first, finding the right balance will be increasingly important as the amount of and need for communication grows over time.

4. What channels are most appropriate for this type of information?

What medium is most suitable for a given type of information?

For example, it would be silly to inform someone about a mission-critical dependency in a comment under a Jira ticket. At the same time, you shouldn’t spam other people’s Slack with every minor change.

Before sending out an update, ask yourself:

  • Where would people seek such information?
  • How fast should it reach the audience?
  • How critical is it?
  • Is it a one-sided update or a potential conversation starter?

The answers to these questions will help you find the best channel for the given information piece.

5. When is communication done for that type of information?

Many people fall into the concept trap that once you send out a message, your communication responsibility is over. This is not always the case.

If you send a company-wide FYI update, then yes, your job is probably completed when you press send, but what if you have roadmap changes that impact multiple teams. Shouldn’t you be making sure everyone on those teams are informed?

In cases like that, you can’t say you are done just because you’ve sent a message. You should chase all key stakeholders and ensure that they have read and understood your message to avoid any misconceptions.

Let’s face it: messages sometimes slip. Your job isn’t to send messages, but to ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s not the same thing.

I’m a fan of having a simple definition of done for communication items. Sometimes, it’ll just mean pushing an update. Other times, it might mean getting a signature of approval from another stakeholder.

6. Who should make it happens?

Last but not least, if it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure communication happens, then it’s no one’s responsibility.

Although the whole team should be responsible for ensuring effective communication, I believe in having a dedicated owner for a given communication stream. The owner can be permanent or rotate every sprint.

If you have communication owners in place, the chance of communication actually taking place increases dramatically.

Communication plan example

Let’s take a look at an example of a communication plan created using the framework I just outlined:

Communication Plan Example

This communication plan can now serve as an artifact for alignment, process improvement, and double-checking if everything is communicated as needed.

Since some of the items in the communication plan happen as needed, it’s imperative to review the artifact on a regular basis. Otherwise, details are bound to slip sooner or later.

Communication plan template

To make it easy to get started with creating your own communication plan, we’ve created a communication plan template for you. Click File > Make a copy to customize the template.

When you start, ask yourself:

  • What you want to communicate
  • By what channel
  • When you consider the communication as done
  • Who should own the given communication item

Although it may lack in the beginning, use it as an inspectable artifact to improve your communication approach every sprint. I promise you, it’ll make your job as a product manager significantly easier.

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Five components of a successful strategic communications plan.

Forbes Communications Council

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Director of Marketing at  haseebtariq.com.  I help fix large revenue retention & growth issues.

Communication is a critical part of any organization's success. Once, I was working closely with the senior leadership to create an email that addressed late deliveries. I remember that when we first started, there were so many ideas swirling in our heads about how to approach this project and what tone of voice would be best for our company. I wished I had someone with a communications strategy plan who could tell me the "best" way to approach this project in order to be successful.

I started reading and researching, looking for what I felt was a good strategy to communicate with our target audience. Luckily, after some research and conversations with others who had more experience than myself on the topic at hand, what finally developed was a communications strategy plan that we used over and over again for all of our marketing and communication efforts.

What Is A Communications Strategy Plan?

A communications strategy is a plan for communicating with your target audience. It includes who you are talking to, why you are talking to them, how and when you will talk to them, what form of communication the content should take and what channels you should use to share it.

1. What Is The Purpose Of Your Communications Plan?

A clear purpose helps keep everyone on board. Make sure the right people hear your message when they are ready and in a way that you want them to hear it. Your communication objectives should be to answer these questions: Who do I need to reach? Why do I need to reach them? What will my communications say? How will I deliver this message at the time that will have the best impact on my audience (and for me)? And what channels am I using or can I use for delivery?

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2. Who Are You Communicating With (Or Who Is Your Target Audience) And What Message Do They Need To Hear?

Target audiences can vary from one time to another and may include your customers, employees or the media. Define who needs to hear what is happening in your organization. Every communications plan is different, but they should never be one-size-fits-all. It's a good idea to create an audience map that identifies key audiences and the messages they need to hear about your organization or cause in order for them to take action.

3. How Will This Message Be Communicated?

Your communications strategy provides the framework for the company's outreach activities, including what needs to get out there through communication channels like social media, email marketing, blog posts, video content on YouTube or Vimeo and so on. In my experience, the more specific you are with your messaging (and visuals) — even if it seems repetitive — the better your chances of getting people engaged and taking action are.

4. When Should This Communication Happen — Right Now Or Later On?

Organizations have to use their communications wisely and strategically in order to be successful with them. But the importance of timing is also important for communicating effectively. Your communications strategy should specify when the message should be communicated, including whether that's right now or later on. Your communications team should take these considerations into account as they develop your messaging and timing plan. In addition, I recommend developing two equally effective strategies: one for "now" and another that can be deployed in anticipation of events that might happen later down the road. A crisis communication plan helps cushion against unexpected turns of events, no matter what happens.

5. Who Will Be Responsible For The Communication?

Communications professionals should be the ones responsible for communicating with external audiences, and they should do so often during a crisis. However, human resources departments may also need to communicate internally about any changes that may affect employees. Define key messages, and then decide who will deliver them. Define the audience and focus on what they need to know about this change. Be sure to provide information in a timely way, but also keep the message concise so that employees can digest it easily.

Bottom Line

A strategic communications plan can help you communicate your message to the right people at the most opportune time. By considering these five components, you can put together a solid strategy that could drive more success for your business and bring about your desired results in less time. 

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

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How to Write an Effective Communications Plan [+ Template]

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: January 05, 2023

Remember the " Tide Pod Challenge ?" That horrendous time at the beginning of 2018 when adolescents filmed themselves ingesting laundry detergent?

service leader creating a communications plan

While it was a funny (albeit dangerous) start to the new year, this small boost of infamy was a PR mess for the detergent brand in question, Tide , whose crisis communication team had to figure out how to respond to America's teens swallowing their toxic product. Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble, was swift in their response, thanks in large part to their communication plan .

In this post, you'll learn how to create an effective communication plan that prepares you and your company for any situation.

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What is a communications plan.

A communications plan enables you to effectively deliver information to appropriate stakeholders. The plan will identify the messages you need to promote, to whom you're targeting those messages, and on which channel(s). Communications plans can be used in times of crises, but they are also used when pitching new initiatives or launching new products.

Communication plans can help you clarify the purpose of a product launch or new initiative and officially determine the messages you want to deliver to your intended audience(s).

Additionally, a communication plan can help your business during a time of crisis if a previous marketing message or business decision damages your reputation with internal stakeholders or customers.

If companies don't have a communication plan , they'll be unprepared when disaster strikes. It may be unlikely that your company will find teenagers eating your product for internet fame, but not so unlikely that you'll never find yourself needing a procedure to effectively handle difficult situations.

Need a free, easy-to-use communication plan template? HubSpot has 12. Check out this toolkit for everything you need to build your own.

This is part of a template offered in the toolkit. For this particular template, the organization is separated into phases, a description of that phase, and who needs to complete that action.

free editable Communication Plan Template

Download These Templates for Free

Now that we've gone over how a communication plan can be helpful, let's learn how to write one that will be effective.

How to Write a Communications Plan

  • Conduct an audit of your current communications materials.
  • Set SMART goals for your communications plan based on the results from your audit.
  • Identify the audience to whom you plan to deliver your communications plan.
  • Outline and write your plan, keeping your audiences in-mind.
  • Determine the channel(s) on which you need to deliver your messages.
  • Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message.
  • Estimate a timeline for how long each step should take.
  • Measure the results of your plan after presenting to stakeholders, and determine successes and areas for improvement.

1. Conduct an audit of your current communications materials.

Before sitting down to get rollin' on your plan, you need to first decide where it'll fit into your business. So it's important you complete a "state of the union," or an audit of the current climate of communications within your company. This can help you identify any problem areas.

For instance, let's say you need to create a communications plan for a new product launch. To create your plan, you'll first need to perform an audit to identify gaps in your current marketing approach.

After performing the audit, you might find there is a major gap in your marketing materials in which you rarely discuss a topic that aligns well with your new product. You'll want to ensure this topic makes it into your communications plan.

corporate communication plan meaning

Crisis Communication and Management Kit

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Free Communication Plan Template

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To conduct an audit, you'll need to carefully gather and interpret data on your current marketing plan performance and build a path forward based on those results. Additionally, you might consider hosting focus groups or sending surveys to your audience to find gaps in your current communications materials.

Of course, you'll want to have the goal of your communications plan in-mind when conducting an audit. In the example above, noticing you're lacking material on a certain subject only matters if your goal is to drive leads and conversions to a product that aligns with that subject.

For instance, if you're launching a new email marketing tool and you notice you're lacking content on Google Ads, this might not be relevant information for your communications plan. However, if you're missing content on email marketing best practices, that's important information you can use to tailor your communications plan appropriately.

2. Set SMART goals for your communications plan based on the results from your audit.

After your audit, you'll want to lay out a few goals based on the data from the results. What do you want to achieve with this plan?

When in doubt, remember that your goals should be SMART : Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

For instance, if a small agency is writing a communications plan for its client, they might write a goal along these lines: "We plan to increase employment applications for our client by 25% over the course of one quarter."

Alternatively, perhaps your HR team needs to write a communications plan to pitch designing a new growth matrix for individual contributors who don't want to become managers.

If that's the case, your HR team will need to identify specific goals they hope to achieve as a result of their plan, even if the results are less quantifiable — for instance, their goal might be to "increase employee retention rates by 10% over the next year" or even "increase employee satisfaction, as indicated by their next NPS scores." They'll need to pitch these goals to stakeholders to get leadership on-board.

SMART goals calculator

Download Your Free SMART Goal Template

3. Identify the audience to whom you plan to deliver your communications plan.

Good communication starts with knowing and understanding your listener. In this case, if a crisis communication plan is for stakeholders, which one(s) are you writing for? Stakeholder examples include employees, investors, customers, local government officials, or media outlets.

If you're writing for media outlets, a press release detailing your goals is a good idea for that audience. There should be a process for who will speak to the media outlets, an outline of what they will say, and an action plan put in place moving forward.

Alternatively, if your audience is your employees, you might want to create an up-to-date internal document for employees to refer to, as well as the contact information for the internal DRI if they have follow-up questions.

4. Outline and write your plan, keeping your audiences in-mind.

When you're ready to outline and write your plan, it's likely easiest if you start with a table or chart to identify the messages you need to promote, to whom you're targeting those messages, and on which channel(s).

Once you've created a general outline, here's how you'll want to structure your communications plan (feel free to copy these sections into a Table of Contents for your own plan):

  • Purpose (what is this communications plan for)
  • Escalation Framework (including 'first line of defense' and 'greater response team')
  • Roles and responsibilities of each employee
  • Do's and Don'ts
  • How to maintain an effective response plan

(If you need help writing a communications plan, download our free, ready-to-use communications plan templates .)

When writing your communication plan, work with groups or representatives from your stakeholders to improve accuracy. Strategies should solve for goals or potential risks.

For instance, if you work for an agency aiming to promote a client's product, a risk might be spending money on paid ads without a guaranteed ROI. To solve for that risk, the agency should detail different steps to ensure the ads are effective before going public.

5. Determine the channel(s) on which you need to deliver your messages.

The channels you choose to communicate with your audience depends on your message, and to whom you want to deliver that message. For instance, if you're creating a communications plan for internal employees, you might send out your communications plan in a company-wide email, use a team communication app , or in-person team meetings to deliver your message.

Alternatively, if you're communicating with customers, you might determine it's best to communicate via an email newsletter, or via a press release.

Of course, the channel(s) you choose will depend on your goals, but it's important as you're writing your communication plan that you keep your distribution methods in-mind.

6. Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message.

Once you determine your audience and channel(s) on which you'll deliver your communications plan, figure out the DRI for delivering the message.

For instance, if your HR team is pitching a new growth matrix to leadership, you might ask your Director of HR to deliver the initial pitch in the first meeting. Once leadership is on-board, you might ask each HR representative to deliver one training session for each internal team to ensure every employee understands what's changing internally, and why.

7. Estimate a timeline for how long each step should take.

You should have a ballpark estimate of how much time each step in executing your strategy will take. For instance, if your plan needs to go from the higher-ups down to the employees, it's good to take into account how long going through the chain of command will take. It's also smart to infer how long a media cycle will last.

For instance, for a minor slip-up on an ad campaign, the advertising agency might estimate the cycle for controlling the issue will take a month — including meeting with the client, stakeholders, and employees to discuss steps moving forward.

8. Measure the results of your plan after presenting to stakeholders, and determine successes and areas for improvement.

There's always room for improvement. Measure the results of the plan after presenting it to stakeholders, and determine aspects that went well, and areas for improvement next time.

For instance, the ad agency might not have met its goal of increasing prospective applications by 25% within a quarter. They might rework their goals to give themselves more time or pivot their quarterly focus to fit those goals.

Alternatively, if you notice certain language in your communications plan evokes a level of stress or fear with internal stakeholders, consider how you can re-word next time to ensure your communications plan feels helpful, beneficial, and positive.

Some aspects of building a communication plan can be a "choose your own adventure" journey. The key is choosing aspects that best reflect what your business needs in times when effective communication is key. What do your stakeholders need to know, and how are you going to best communicate that?

Communication Plan Examples

  • Strategic Communication Plan
  • Project Communication Plan
  • Marketing Communication Plan
  • Corporate Communication Plan
  • Crisis Communication Plan

Communication plans can get tricky, but writing an effective one will prove itself with its longevity. The following communication plans include analysis for stakeholders you'd respond to and the procedures for what to include in those communications.

1. Strategic Communication Plan

Bright Hub Project Management's communication plan explains how, when, and why communication happens within its organization.

This example is great because it details how communication managers write crisis plans and acknowledges that sometimes the busy marketer or project manager takes on this responsibility.

Strategic Communications Plan

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2. Project Communication Plan

Here's an example of a Billing Upgrade Project from Simplicable . This communication plan maps out all the important meetings and documents needed for the project. As you can see, it also includes necessary sections including audience, goals, format, and DRI.

project communication plan example

3. Marketing Communication Plan

A marketing communication plan is essential for communicating to your target market, especially when launching new products or initiatives. This example from Smartsheet allows you to plan marketing communications strategies for customers, sales prospects, media partners, internal stakeholders, and events.

Marketing Communications Plan Grid Template

4. Corporate Communication Plan

Corporate communication plans outline how organizations communicate internally and externally. This example from Smartsheet is a nine-step roadmap that includes space for a mission statement, executive summary, situation analysis, key messages, and more.

corporate communication plan example

5. Crisis Communication Plan

This communication checklist below, by Prezly , gives a great overview of the details of a crisis plan from beginning to end. It can be used as an effective guide when drafting a crisis management strategy.

communications-plan_1

Communication Planning Tips

Communication planning can be tricky, so here are some extra tips to keep in mind to help your plan shine: when describing procedures for handling crises, include who the situation involves. This lets stakeholders envision decision-making processes.

Additionally, if you're part of a larger company with a broad stakeholder list, it's okay to split up target audiences for your plan.

For instance, maybe your audience is more than just "consumers." Split stakeholder groups for easier comprehension and more distinct solutions.

Ultimately, your communications plan needs to clearly and succinctly provide necessary information to everyone involved in the business decision, product launch, or PR crises. Use the strategy mentioned above, as well as our communication plan templates , to ensure yours is as effective as possible.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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6-Step Guide to Crafting the Perfect Communication Plan

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A communication plan is a key to developing an effective and consistent messaging strategy.

It helps guide the process of setting measurable goals for your strategy, profiling your target audience and creating and successfully delivering your message.

What is a Communication Plan

Components of a Communication Plan

Steps to communication planning, step 1 – perform a situation analysis, swot analysis, pest analysis, perceptual map, step 2 – identify and define objectives / goals, step 3 – understand and profile your key audience, step 4 – decide the media channels and create a strategy, step 5 – create a timetable for publishing, step 6 – monitor and evaluate the results, common mistakes to avoid when creating communications plans, faqs about communication plans, what’s your approach to writing a communication plan, what is a communication plan.

A communication plan outlines how teams can communicate important information to key stakeholders. It highlights what information should be shared, when, to which audience and via which channels.

Having a solid communication plan in place will help ensure that the communication objectives of your organization are met and that all assets that you send out are aligned with the core communications strategy of the company.

In marketing and public relations, communication plans are used to plan how important information about products and services will be communicated to target audiences, including customers, clients, media and the general public. Companies also use communication plans to maintain consistent and effective internal communications within the organization. These may include internal newsletters, intranet updates and team Wikis. In project management, communication plans are used to highlight how information will be communicated within teams and relevant stakeholders, throughout the lifecycle of the project. Overall, communications plans offer a structured approach to plan, implement and evaluate communication efforts to optimize the effectiveness of communications.

Use this communication plan template to develop your strategy and deploy it.

Communications Plan Template

Why is a Communication Plan Essential?

Clear communication is the backbone of any successful initiative. A communication plan ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the risk of confusion, missed deadlines, and unmet expectations. It fosters trust, ensures transparency, and can be the difference between project success and failure.

Who Should Use a Communication Plan?

A communication plan isn’t just for large corporations or project managers. It’s for anyone aiming to streamline interactions, whether you’re a small business owner, a team leader, or an individual looking to improve personal projects. Understanding your audience and tailoring your communication strategy to them is the first step.

When Should You Implement a Communication Plan?

The best time to implement a communication plan is at the onset of a project or initiative. However, it’s never too late. Whether you’re starting a new project, revamping an old one, or looking to improve ongoing communications, a well-structured plan can make a difference.

Where Does a Communication Plan Apply?

While often associated with business projects, communication plans apply everywhere: from community events, educational programs, to personal projects. Any scenario that requires organized communication can benefit.

Your communications plan should include the following key elements.

1. Target Audience

Who is Your Target Audience? All strategic communications should be directed at a specific audience. Accordingly, the message you send out should be tailored to their level of knowledge, understanding and trust in your brand or organization.

What is the Context of Your Message? The next step is to define the context of your message. Identify key events that may be significant to the audience that you are aiming to reach. The context defines what should be included in the message and how your audience will relate and respond to it.

3. Outcomes

What Do You Aim to Achieve with Your Message? The outcome of your message is the ‘call to action’. Define what people need to know, believe and do after receiving the message. Create a ‘message pyramid’ with an attention grabbing headline, followed by ‘reasons why’ and proof points. This helps the audience understand your core message and then consider the proof points which are relevant to their context, and there by act based on your call-to-action.

Which Media Channels Will You Use? Media are the channels through which your message is communicated. These may vary depending on the content, context and audience of the message. For instance, if you want to reach a younger tech-savvy audience, you may choose a social media platform that may be popular among them.

5. Messengers

How Will You Choose Your Messengers? The primary messenger may not always be the most ‘effective’ messenger. The messenger’s ethos should resonate credibility, status and power, expertise and relationship.

Why do most companies get their CEOs or members of the senior management to conduct new product launches or convey important product information? It is because audiences tend to have confidence in people with big titles who have an influence in the organization. They are also experts in their subject area and have a strong relationship with the company.

6. Measurement

How Will You Measure Success? It is important to cultivate strategies to measure the effectiveness of your communications. Include KPIs for your communication activities and document the results. This also helps build a repository of information which will be useful when planning future communications activities.

Whether you are creating a marketing communication plan or a strategic communication plan, the following steps will help guide you.

Situation analysis helps assess the capabilities of and health of things in an organization. It’s the ideal way to understand the current status of your organization’s communication.

You can gather as much information as needed from conducting an audit .

To gather relevant information from situation analysis, you can consult departmental heads, process owners and other internal staff members.

In a situation analysis, you need to examine both the internal and external environments. To do so, you can use the following tools

You can use a SWOT analysis to examine the strengths and weaknesses within your organization, and opportunities and threats that you can find in your external environment.

SWOT Analysis for Situation Analysis

With a PEST analysis , you can examine political, environmental, social and technological factors, all of which exist in the external environment of your organization, but can have a significant impact on the way things run in your business.

PEST Analysis for Situation Analysis

One good competitor analysis technique is the perceptual map. It helps you make sense of how your customers perceive the brands of your competitors in the market compared to yours.

Perceptual Map for Situation Analysis

Once you know where you stand, you can find your direction. The next step is to define your goals.

Think of what outcomes/results you want to achieve from your communication plan. These will become your goal/s as you develop your communication plan.

Make sure that the goals you select are SMART :

SMART Goals Analysis

Who are you creating this communication plan for? Understanding your audience and their requirements, characteristics etc. is key to creating an effective message and delivering it successfully.

Your key audience could be within your organization or your customers. Either way, you should gather information on them and create simple audience personas.

These personas could include a variety of data that ranges from their age and gender to the challenges they face.

Audience Profile for Communications Plan

As you conduct research on your target audience you would get to know that their requirements and preferences are diverse.

It’s clear that you won’t be able to reach all of them through one media channel or retain their attention with one type of content.

Consider the most effective channels you can think of when creating your media channel strategy. Make sure to select the ideal channel when you are targeting different audience segments.

Media Channel Strategy for Communication Plan

When do you want your audience to hear your message and how often? Have a content calendar or create a Gantt chart outlining a timeframe for your publishing strategy.

Gantt Chart for Communication Plan

You may also need to take the resources available to you into consideration. If you have one content writer, publishing quality blog posts on a daily basis would be ineffective.

Constantly monitor and track your results in order to understand whether you are any closer to achieving your goals. If you have failed, proceed to mark it down so you can make necessary improvements next time.

Creating a communication plan for your non profit organization? Check out this resource for some great tips.

Overcomplicating the Plan

Trying to include too many channels or too much information may complicate the plan. This can lead to confusion and dilute the effectiveness of your messaging. Stick only to key messaging and channels that are most effective in reaching and engaging the target audience.

Not Considering the Timing

Timing is crucial in communication planning. It is important to consider the timing of the messaging and ensure that they are aligned with key events or milestones. Don’t send out important communications during periods of high volume or noise, such as during holidays or major news events.

Not Adapting to Changes

Communication plans should be adaptable and flexible to changes in environment or audience. It is important to regularly review and update plans to keep up with emerging trends (to make sure that your plan stays relevant and effective). Failing to adapt to changes may cause missed opportunities and ineffective messaging.

How often should a communications plan be updated?

A communications plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in the organization’s goals, priorities, audiences, or external environment. The frequency of updates will depend on the pace of change in the organization and the industry. A good rule of thumb is to review the communications plan annually and update it as needed. However, if there are major changes in the organization, such as a merger, acquisition, or crisis, the communications plan should be updated immediately to ensure that communication is timely, accurate, and effective.

How can an organization measure the effectiveness of its communications plan?

An organization can measure the effectiveness of its communications plan by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to its communication goals and objectives. These KPIs may include website traffic, social media engagement, email open rates, media coverage, customer satisfaction surveys, or sales figures. By tracking these KPIs over time, the organization can assess whether its communication activities are achieving the desired results and make adjustments as needed. It’s important to set realistic goals and benchmarks for each KPI and to ensure that the data is collected consistently and accurately. Additionally, feedback from stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and investors, can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the organization’s communication activities.

A successful communication plan will get your message delivered across to your audience effectively while ensuring that you are on track to accomplishing your business objectives.

Follow the simple steps above to create a winning communication plan. If you have any other tips, do share them with us in the comment section below.

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Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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Corporate Communication Strategy

Building an Effective Corporate Communication Strategy

Emily Barr September 21, 2020 Alignment & Direction , Board Management , Leaders

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Communication issues in businesses are not an uncommon problem. For US businesses alone, Inadequate communication to and between employees can cost up to $4 billion annually . The cost of poor communication may be high, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective strategies you can implement into your corporation to reduce its risk. By beginning each project with a clear understanding of what your Corporate Communication Strategy is, you can integrate effective time management into your businesses processes seamlessly.   

What Is A Corporate Communication Strategy?  

A Corporate Communication Strategy is the framework used by organizations to plan out communication with employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. When leveraged properly, a Corporate Communication Strategy can be the key to better understanding your  company and  enhancing its reputation with the people whose attitudes and actions influence your success the most.   

Building a Corporate Communication Strategy  

When it comes to constructing your own Corporate Communication Strategy, there is no in-depth one-size-fits-all solution. While you can probably find countless quick-fixes on the internet,  creating  an effective strategy is not a simple process. If you want your CCS to best suit your organization, and address and solve the communication issues unique to your business, you will need to invest research and time into the process.  

A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Your Core Strategy  

Regardless of your industry, there are several aspects that remain universal in core corporate communication strategies. Generally speaking, it comes in three phases: pre-drafting information and research, formulating the strategy, and then examining examples of other communication strategies for further inspiration. This process can be broken down as follows to help you construct your core Corporate Communication Strategy:  

1. Identify and Prioritize Your Executives’ Key Goals

Aim to first understand what each of your business executives sees for the future of the company, and what areas they are truly invested in. In order to collect this information, one of the most useful methods is to conduct individual interviews with as many of your top-level management employees as possible. In the interviews, ask them to clearly outline their top priorities for the upcoming year, and ensure everyone  agrees  on what message they want to put out for the company.  

2. Conduct In-Depth Employee Surveys

Your employee insight doesn’t stop at high-level management. Employees are at the forefront of your  business and  are the both the backbone and driving forces for your  organization . Understanding how your own employees perceive your company and brand is critical to understanding  how others perceive it as well. This is how brand ambassadors come to be – while you construct your Corporate Communication Strategy, you need to ensure their voices are heard. How they respond will help you uncover the best way to go about communicating with your team as a whole. Leverage employee surveys to get them involved in the process and gain valuable feedback and insight into what’s working, and what isn’t.  

3. Research Your Stakeholders’ Input

Stakeholders are one of the most vital parts of your organization, so if you notice that they are communicating something that isn’t confident for the success of your business, you need to adjust your communications strategy to address and fix that perception as quickly as possible. Communicating with stakeholders, shareholders, and investors in a way that is most effective for their own interests in critical for sustaining success and alignment with long-term plans.   

4. Review Your Customers’ Comments

The insight your customers have to offer when it comes to their perception of how your organization is delivering on its promises should not be overlooked. Leverage the countless online, and often free, measurement tools to not only take advantage of social researching methods, but also to learn how to start conversations that will get consumers and potential clients talking about your brand in a positive light.  

4. Include Your Suppliers in Your Research

Suppliers and partners that work closely with your brand can also be great resources for gathering useful information about your strategic corporate communication strategy. Ideally, your suppliers and partners should firmly believe that affiliating themselves with your business is beneficial for their business as well. If this is the case, take note of what it is they say they enjoy most about working with your company. Utilize that feedback not only to add structure to your partner relationships, but also to help strengthen your corporate communication strategy.  

SpriggBoard

Best Practices for An Effective Corporate Communication Strategy  

Conducting the needed research and interviewing processes is critical to cultivating a successful and effective Corporate Communication Strategy for your business. By gaining valuable insight into how your employees, executives, suppliers,  and  stakeholders perceive your company, and what it is they prefer when it comes to communication, you will understand what it is your CCS needs to set out to accomplish. Once you have a clear understanding of where you should be aiming, and also how your new strategy will fit into the broader framework of your organization, you need to begin setting up an essential roadmap for its implementation.  

However, before you can begin assessing the key diagnosis and guiding policies for your Corporate Communication Strategy, you first need to understand how it is your company will arrive at those ideal concepts. Consider the following tips while drafting your strategy:  

Look at other corporate communication strategies from successful businesses.

Especially if you are new to the field of communications strategies, taking examples from successful businesses can be extremely beneficial. By looking at communication strategies that have worked extremely well for others, you can get inspired yourself, or even use their strategy as a starting template or jumping off point for your own planning. It is important to keep in mind that communication issues, and hence the strategies put in place to address those issues, will be unique to specific companies. Using a carbon copy of another company’s successful strategy will not necessarily work for your own, and additional research will need to be done to ensure its success for your business.   

Identify your key metrics so you can track the best outcome for your strategy.

Your Corporate Communication Strategy will need to be analyzed for success throughout its use, so it is important to first father the basic key metrics that will be able to show you if it is working the way it should. In addition, statistics gathered from your corporate communications can also show you if your employees are actually using the communication tools being provided. If they are, you will be able to identify how they are using the tools, meaning you can pick apart your strategy and identify the aspects and areas that may need more strategic attention.   

Set intuitive and realistic goals and timelines.

By setting goals for your company that make sense for your objectives and are also realistic in scope and expectation, you will be able to properly estimate the level of difficulty and projected time investment that will be required to integrate and establish your new Corporate Communication Strategy. With a clear picture of what will be required, you can plot out more efficient and worthwhile steps towards updating your strategy, leaning on the metrics you have gathered to identify the areas that will make the quickest impact through strategic change.  

Keep in mind that any and all timelines set should be effective. A good way to accomplish this is to ask yourself questions that allow you to identify the information or data that is too excessive or unnecessary for business. Some examples of questions are:

  • What do I want our Corporate Communication Strategy to do for business?  
  • Which areas are working efficiently and why, and what areas need immediate improvement?  
  • How quickly do I want to be able to reach my business goals for the company?  
  • Which communication tools, platforms, and existing strategies are available, given the organization’s size, needs, and goals for what employees should be accomplishing?  

Regardless of your answers to these questions, they should aim to provide clarity into what your Corporate Communication Strategy is setting out to accomplish for your business.   

Use collaboration tools.

Juggling several projects within a team can become complicated way too quickly. Often, organizations find strictly email communications between a large amount of team members to be ineffective in  project completion. This is why it can be extremely beneficial to introduce collaboration tools that are useful and effective for project and team management.  SpriggHR’s   SpriggBoard  is a great example of a streamlined collaboration tool you can implement into your strategy.  While primarily utilized by Boards,  it centralizes and manages all team tasks in one location, safely and securely organizing documents that need to be circulated throughout the team. Meeting agendas can be prepared and distributed, and Critical Paths and Action Plans for events can be shared instantly. By integrating real-time communication, it also eliminates the need for repetitive external email communications between your team members, reducing the time lost to sifting through email threads and allowing your team to focus on project development.  

Actively participate in your teams.

While this practice is easier for smaller organizations where all team members know one another personally, larger companies can stand to benefit from this strategy as well. Part of your Corporate Communication Strategy should include your responsibility to communicate effectively with everyone in your company, and the best way to achieve the success rates you are aiming for is to be a part of the team yourself. Employees are much less likely to follow a leader locked away in an ivory tower, and by avoiding your employees and not engaging in rapport with them, your chances of effective communication dwindle rapidly. Aim to understand how your colleagues communicate with  one another and  make attempts to adapt to that preferred style of communication so you can reach them better. It is possible to maintain your authority amongst your employees and still communicate with your company at the same time.   

Align your Corporate Communication Strategy to company goals and metrics.

When approaching your Corporate Communication Strategy, you need to ensure its implementation aligns well with your existing business goals. Target your communications to foundational employees, leveraging target audiences, managers, and key communicators. This will allow you to facilitate more thorough and engaging employee communications within your company. Similarly, implementing metrics and analytics into your corporate communication strategy that align with your organizational foundations is critical to evaluating the success of your strategy altogether. Methods such as employee surveys are useful, and should be included somewhere in your strategy, but your research should not rely only on them.  

Aim for a company culture of communication.

If you want to improve corporate communications within your business, you first need to set out to create a culture of communication throughout the entirety of your company. This involves committing to transparency a t the Executive level  and  introduce systems and practices that will support continuous and open dialogue between employees and their management teams. Consistent dialogue and conversation can be transformative for your company  culture and  can produce tremendous financial results for business. When a workforce communicates effectively with one another, they produce better output, and improve the company overall.  

In Summary  

Constructing a Corporate Communication Strategy that is right for your business does not have to be an impossible process. While it does require an investment of research, time, and thorough planning,  once you have a complete understanding of where you strategy sits now, you can focus on how to scale your new strategy in the right ways to yield to greatest benefits from your communication efforts.   

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corporate communication plan meaning

Light pink notebook on yellow background. 10 steps to writing a communication plan blog post

How to Write a Communication Plan

Sarah Mai & Samantha Scott

Aug 5, 2021

12 min. read

Communication is key to running a business. Full stop. The secret is to have a solid communication plan in place to keep all your teams and stakeholders aligned. But how do you write a communication plan and what exactly is it? In this blog, we’ll explore 10 key steps to writing a communication plan for easy reapplication across multiple channels.

Table of Contents

What is a Communication Plan?

What is the difference between an internal communication plan & external communication plan, what should a communication plan include.

A communication plan is a document and/or calendar that provides marketing & PR teams a cohesive structure for crafting their messages. It is designed so everyone has a clear understanding of which stakeholders should be contacted and when.

Your plan is the glue that helps your campaign from hitting any roadblocks and it’s a bible to refer to when marketers get stuck in a messaging rut (or rather, try too hard to get out of a well-established rut - not all ruts are bad when it comes to branding ). 

When writing a communication plan, think of it as a template that you'll be able to use for all different communication efforts. Speaking of templates, we have a free communication plan template available just for you!

Communication from a marketing and PR perspective covers a lot of bases, and cohesion in planning across all teams is super important.

Person at laptop computer typing out a newsletter

An internal communications plan is the framework you use when communicating with all your employees. The types of communications in your plan can include company updates, product announcements, and other important business news. These internal updates will often be delivered by way of an internal newsletter . 

An external communication plan outlines how, when, why, and where you need to connect with your different audiences, such as social media followers and email subscribers, and other external stakeholders such as investors. 

Planning this communication, whether internal or external, requires having a clear strategy so you know who needs to be contacted first and what you want to accomplish when you deliver the message. Is the objective to encourage employee engagement around some exciting company news? Then you need to connect with your social media manager first. Is the objective to announce a new software update? Then you may want to connect with the product marketing team to anticipate some FAQs. 

Green speech bubble on yellow background showing three thinking dots made out of craft paper. How to write a communication plan blog post image

The more specific you can be with times, dates, media contacts , goals, and objectives for each communique, the more useful your communication plan will be in keeping everyone aligned. 

An effective communications plan should include:

A clear schedule

Who needs to be communicated with and when? Have a list of all possible stakeholders, both internal and external, who will be receiving communication from your company.

For example, if you’re announcing a product update, will it include a press release? Does it need to be announced to investors first? How soon after the press release goes out will you send internal communications ? 

Make sure you include the specific goals behind each type of communication from your company. Note that the goals should apply specifically to the communication method (such as social or email). We'll go into this more below.

Key messages

What are the key messages you want to get across in your communication? This should be related to your goals. If your CEO is speaking at a conference, you make send him a communication plan that highlights key messages he/she must include in the presentation around your market share, your hiring expectations, or new markets you've recently entered.

These key messages should be tailored to the demographic you are trying to reach, and fit the medium you are using to communicate them through.

Tip: Remember to think about how your brand voice and personality when developing the key messages during your communications planning.

When crafting your plan, here are 10 steps that are important to keep in mind for effective communication with your key stakeholders. Your strategy will always evolve, and it's important to let it, however, the steps below provide a great starting point for building a template that can serve as a reference point for your organization:

1. Identify the current status

Start mapping out your communication plan based on the current status of your marketing strategy and the ROI you saw the previous year. Analyzing your social media reporting, or marketing reporting , in general, will be critical when it comes to informing the direction of your strategy.

This way, you can design your plan more confidently, based on the data. It is important to not get too hung up on historic data, however, given that the subject of your upcoming communication will usually be different. But you can still analyze receptiveness based on time of year, time of day, news outlets that performed better, multimedia style (video vs still image for example), etc.

Childs spinning top toy balancing on a table. Looking at past metrics is important for writing a communication plan

You can do this analysis yourself, but it can be a lengthy process. If you already have a media intelligence solution like Meltwater, you can use it to gain in-depth insights into how your current and past communication strategy is working, track industry developments, and keep tabs on competitors.

To get you started use the below metrics and look for patterns to optimize your plan:

  • Media exposure – tracks coverage (both editorial and social media) volume over time.
  • Top sources – breaks down social media buzz by channel or publication.
  • Google Analytics – provides a clearer picture of what types of posts generated website traffic.
  • Share of voice – compares coverage volume for two or more topics/ competitors.
  • Sentiment – assesses the tone of a brand’s coverage over time.
  • Trending themes – uncovers conversational patterns surrounding a topic.
  • Top locations – helps identify the top markets discussing a brand or event.
  • Top social posts – explains the social content with the highest social reach value within a given date range.

2. Be clear about the objectives

Clearly define the communication goals and objectives within your plan. Specificity is extremely helpful in this step - write down the details of who you plan to communicate with and why. Ensure that your strategy goes hand in hand with the various department’s business objectives. It’s a lot easier to get buy-in if you can prove how your plan contributes to the wider picture, illustrating how it benefits the company and drives bottom-line ROI.

3. Craft your strategy

Glowing lightbulb showing many connections inside.

A well-thought-out strategy is where you can nail down the actual action items and assign responsibilities to bring your communication plan to life. There are several models and templates marketers can use to map these internal and external influences including SWOT analysis , Porter's 5 Forces,  and PESTEL .

A SWOT analysis is a good place to start when analyzing internal and external insights. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can use this framework to benchmark the progress of your new communication activity to make sure your plan is as effective as it could be.

Porter's 5 Forces model is widely used to assess external forces, along with a PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal). You can use this template when you'd like to determine if your plan needs to change based on competitor activity, large internal company shifts, or if you spot a potential crises brewing.

4. Who is your audience?

Your company probably already has a clear idea of who your target audience is and your various marketing personas . But it’s always a good idea to revisit these since trends can impact consumer behavior and this will affect how you communicate with them. Using a social listening and monitoring tool is a great place to start - allowing you to dip into the natural focus group of social media to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience. 

Remember that your communication plan needs to take into account a lot of different audiences - and the messaging tone and context will differ depending on who you are communicating to. For instance, how you communicate the same piece of news to an investor is vastly different than how you should deliver it to your social media followers.

5. What is the message?

White text in sidewalk chalk saying "You Got This". Understanding what message you want to send is important to your company communication plan.

What message are you trying to communicate? Messaging that worked last year isn't guaranteed to work in the current year; this is especially true if there have been industry changes or internal shifts at your company. For example, a competitor may have come into your space, causing you to no longer be the most innovative supplier. 

Your communication should then be amended to convey a more enticing value-prop, and you should work to refine the way you represent your product. As you make this change, consider how your communication strategy should look for letting your key stakeholders know about it.

6. Channel selection

Old fashioned jukebox cover, with selection buttons. Choosing the channels for your messaging is an important step to your communication plan

Where will your messaging be taking place? Determine the communication channels that will be used , when you’ll use them, and whom each channel is intended for. Each communication method will accomplish different goals as well, so have a place to define what you’re hoping to achieve.

For example, in a social media post, you may be looking for new followers, likes, or comments. Whereas for an email you’re probably looking for an increase in open rates or CTR.

Your communications should cover the many communication mediums you're using in your marketing strategy such as:

  • Social media - engage with new and potential customers, find influencers, track competitors, and address customer complaints
  • Email marketing - communicate with your subscribers to promote events, new blogs, and move them further down the marketing funnel
  • Internal newsletter - keep your employees abreast of company news, changes, product updates, and announcements
  • Print - connect with consumers through physical brochures, newspaper articles, or signage. 
  • Push notifications - a particularly helpful strategy if your business has a mobile app, but push notifications and SMS marketing is not limited to apps. This is a useful way to get in front of eyes that may not check their email or social media regularly.
  • Digital ads - make sure you’re well-aligned with your paid advertising team so you can ensure the ads you have running are relevant and topical to any current campaigns or upcoming events.
  • Online media - reach out to journalists with story pitches or press releases to reach a wider audience than those who already follow you or are subscribed.  

7. Determine your budget

Budget is, of course, an essential part of the planning stage for your communication strategy. It’s important that you ensure you’re realistic in matching your plan with your resources: even a small budget can have a big impact if resources are used properly and you understand where your strengths lie.

8. Assign responsibilities

Make sure the appropriate point-person is clearly defined in your communication plan - and make sure their responsibilities lined are outlined carefully. Are they responsible for pushing campaigns live or is there another person's final "ok" needed for sign-off? Who should be contacted if they aren’t available? Who will be helping them with all the necessary assets? You’ll want to have all these questions answered in your plan.

9. Establish a clear timeline

Two coworkers planning out a timeline with sticky notes.

Communications planning is most effective when your timeline is well laid out with target dates and times. This also makes it easy to identify certain next steps that need to happen, such as follow-ups or feedback requests. You’ll also be able to see where certain blockers are happening and can work to correct them.

A good place to start is with a Gantt Chart Template, which helps you map out each quarter and its specific objectives in one timeline. Ensure to leave room for unforeseen projects and activities that may occur during the year.

10. Follow up

Lastly, know that your communication plan is not infallible. There will always be changes, though they shouldn’t be made lightly or in a vacuum. Because so many departments and teams are involved in ensuring your communication plans go off without a hitch, it’s essential that you keep everyone involved.

Have a check-in with your team to evaluate your goals and performance regularly to see if you’re meeting your milestones and objectives. During these check-ins, there may be unexpected opportunities that you find to elevate your message, or you may spot a potential crisis brewing, meaning you’ll need to do an emergency adjustment to your crisis communications plan . 

Need help with ongoing follow-up on your communication plan?

With insights found using Meltwater’s media monitoring tools, you’ll be able to keep up to date with how your brand is featured in the media and keep track of important industry news and trends. And be sure to check out our free communications plan template to help you get started.

By using data-driven insights you can better understand how best to communicate with your target audience and internal stakeholders. Fill out the form below if you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your communication plan!

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Communication is a fundamental and necessary process for anyone’s survival. As you probably already know, there are various forms of communication between human beings. Recording a podcast is an example of an action you should take if you want to communicate with your audience through audio content.

The first of the famous axioms about communication has the following statement: it is impossible not to. Indeed, in any interaction between two or more people, something is always communicated, even in a non-verbal manner.

There are various forms of communication , from the simplest to the most complex. In this article, we will discuss a fundamental communication process for companies and, more generally, in business contexts: the communication plan ! We will see exactly what a corporate communication plan is, what it is used for, and what strategies are used to implement it. We will also see an example of a communication plan together.

This concept underpins every successful strategy, which is why I invite you to enroll in the Digital Marketing Course , thanks to which you will gain the right skills to manage and adopt all corporate communication processes using the right channels.

Corporate communication plan: what it is and what it is for

Let’s start from the beginning: a communication plan is a process that outlines the strategies, activities, timeframes, and resources that will be used to achieve a company’s goals. It is a useful tool that allows us to plan, manage and monitor communication strategies and planned actions aimed at achieving specific objectives.

The concrete objective is the planning of the message and its transmission, coordinated and consistent in every aspect. We distinguish, especially in the corporate sphere, between 2 types of plans:

  • preliminary , when we identify a first strategic approach
  • operational , when planning is more technical and logistical in the activities and tools used.

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Creating a communication plan: how to do it and aspects to consider

Let us now discuss how to structure an effective communication plan for a company that needs to convey a certain message to its consumers/service users. It will certainly help to keep in mind the main aspects of which it is composed to facilitate its subsequent planning. Here, then, are some points to consider, at least briefly:

business communication plan

  • the message to be conveyed to the public;
  • the means of communication to be used to convey that message;
  • the planning of the necessary communication activities;
  • the budget to implement the planned activities;
  • monitoring of the activities carried out to measure the effectiveness of the interventions.

Any corporate communication plan cannot speak from these aspects. In essence, therefore, it starts with a general analysis and medium-term planning of the set goals.

This is followed by a practical implementation that includes regular performance checks. Where necessary, corrections are to be made to the desired targets and thus also to the budgets to be used in the future.

Brand communication and marketing plan

Again, the entire process is tailored to the customer or consumer to whom it is addressed. Especially when a corporate communication plan and marketing campaign are combined by a company, the needs and perceptions of the consumer towards the target brand are investigated. They are determined by:

  • product quality;
  • price of the product;
  • product image;
  • brand as a story;
  • relationship with the customer;
  • customer loyalty;
  • positioning of the product.

Accordingly, the following factors are considered:

  • brand analysis of the perception of one’s own;
  • general situation of their competencies;
  • strengths and standards;
  • available resources;
  • general analysis of the various competitors;
  • highlight their identity and image problems;
  • place the constraints and basic choices that comprise the communication strategy .

Always bear in mind that when promoting a brand, it is strongly recommended to integrate the communication plan with relevant marketing strategies. The two processes often coincide precisely. The result is a comprehensive and efficient communication style.

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The macro-phases of a corporate communication plan

Having described the communication plan and its main features, we now move on to illustrate the five fundamental macro steps to follow to successfully execute a marketing communication .

  • Define the objectives of effective communication
  • individuals and buyers;
  • choose the media;
  • setting up a winning strategy;
  • devise a winning content strategy.

Define the objectives of your communication

What do you want to achieve? What are your aims? In this first phase, it is appropriate to ask yourself these questions. As we have already mentioned, a communication plan and a marketing plan often overlap. However, it is useful to distinguish between the two: while a marketing objective aims primarily at increasing sales, a communication objective focuses on the perception of the product in a typical customer .

The first phase of a communication project consists of a set of micro-objectives that should lead us to the final goal in our 5-step process. When our main objective is to sell or promote, the micro-objectives will concern all those actions that, when implemented, favor the sale and/or promotion of the brand. Furthermore, these objectives will be SMART , that is:

  • S pecific : the objectives set must always be well-delineated and never generic. Having a clear idea of what you want to do, how you want to do it, and who you want to involve is always the best starting point.
  • M easurable : it must be verified whether the objectives are measurable quantitatively. This is the only way to assess whether they have been so or not. The better they have been defined, the more measurable they will be.
  • A ccessible : objectives must always be considered in relation to the tools, capabilities, and economic resources one has at one’s disposal. It is perfectly understandable that without such prerequisites, a corporate communication plan will fail.
  • R ealistic : objectives must be concrete, with realistic goals to be achieved. Especially at the beginning, it is wrong to aim too high without considering contextual factors.
  • T emporize : setting sensible goals also means delimiting them within a set time frame. This will help to focus on the first results to be achieved. Moreover, specifically, there are 3 goals that the communication plan must achieve:
  • strategy, which helps the organization put its choices into practice;
  • the facilitation of integrated communication between internal and external communication;
  • two-way relationships between the company and the public. They are very important and must be rich in meaning and repeated over time so that they leave their mark on the public’s mind.

Individual buyers

Who do you want to target? An effective corporate communication plan must be able to accurately identify potential customers for a company.

Communication targeting differs from classic marketing targeting in that it aims to add psycho-sociological / cultural characteristics to the user profile you wish to reach. An example of a relevant communication target can be: “young people aged 25 to 35, with university education, affluent and passionate about technology and the digital world”.

This leads to the description of buyer personas , i.e. the recipients of the message in a communication campaign (find out more about this classification of users). The aim is to segment more and more, also considering a socio-cultural point of view, buying habits, and so on.

Identifying people, in essence, means defining basic groups of common users, using what they want or what they are looking for, through ad-hoc content. Once the buyer personas have been identified, it is clear what we can propose and to whom.

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Choose the most suitable media

Today, we have numerous means of communication to promote any product, activity, or service. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the famous Communication Mix model taken in isolation is no longer sufficient to give an exhaustive picture of the power of the existing media.

The first real change (compared to even just a decade ago) is that the preferred medium of communication is now the web with all its digital channels.

There is no doubt that today’s companies (especially multinationals) still adopt a combined approach to various media , both online and offline.

However, it is the online media that are the most successful. A modern communication plan will therefore have to focus on the latter to be truly effective. Even the marketing mix model on the strategic 4Ps of communication now appears to be at least incomplete.

The Communication Mix in the Digital Age

The communication plan works according to the Communication Mix, which has changed substantially from the time of its creation to the modern age, full of digitization.

Sales promotion , i.e. all activities to promote a product or service. Until a few decades ago, it was focused on offline media (billboards, TV spots, flyers, etc.). Now it focuses mainly on web marketing activities including DEM, SEM, SEO, Social Marketing, etc.

corporate communication plan meaning

Public relations. Large companies have often used public relations, a series of public communication actions compensated for by an outsider. Today, the term PR has evolved into Digital PR . This is because PR activities also mainly use modern digital tools (e.g. Skype, WebEx or Adobe connect).

Advertising. It is the form of communication par excellence for companies, allowing the dissemination of a message in different media. Today, there are various types of advertising, online and offline. Online advertising, in particular on social networks, is all the rage. The best example is advertising on Facebook or YouTube.

Set a winning media strategy

At this stage, it is crucial to choose the exact media to be used in our corporate communication plan . The media strategy must set according to the budget available. The actual media plan will then be a real operational document, the result of strategies and objectives defined upstream.

setup media strategy

Examples include communication and marketing plans that are created ad hoc before the Christmas and Easter holidays or for the tourist season.

Before the advent of the Internet and digital, companies used to do a real search for “physical advertising” space to buy for organization campaigns (offline advertising). Today, the scenario has changed: companies, but also private individuals, invest much more in online advertising space, organizing to create social advertising campaigns such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or using Google ads.

Devise an effective content strategy

Last, but certainly not least, is the content marketing phase of a communication plan . The purpose of content activities is to develop effective and quality content. This content will serve to promote a given product/service or, more simply, to attract visitors to one’s own site, increase qualified contacts, generate turnover, build customer loyalty, and perhaps turn them into spontaneous promoters of one’s own brand.

In a corporate communication plan , there are certain guidelines, which must be adapted to the media. Here are, among many others, 3 useful tips that can help to set up quality content.

  • always define the who, what, and how, whenever you want.
  • content strategies must be customer-oriented. The main objective is to offer the added value that other users are looking for.
  • it is necessary to establish, within a company (or business), who will produce and publish content: that is why how to create an editorial plan .

It will therefore be the content expert, today called SEO copywriter, who will materially produce effective content, able to hit the target audience defined at the outset and achieve the objectives consistent with the chosen medium. After all, the same golden rule always applies: Content is King!

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Social media strategy: added value in the communication plan

As you may have already guessed from reading the article, social media today play an increasingly fundamental role in digital marketing , communication strategy , and consequently, also in a self-respecting communication plan .

The social media strategy makes it possible to emphasize content created and optimized specifically for use on social networks. Even in this case, there are small steps to be followed step by step in order to use these new digital channels in the best possible way, thus enabling your company to grow economically.

plan to use social networks

  • Preventive analysis
  • Definition of objectives
  • Choice of channels
  • Choice of content
  • Measuring results

Remember: today creating a real communication plan means taking social media into account! That’s why we want you to take a look at our direct course to become a Social Media Specialist!

Corrected message

Before we move on to a practical example, it must be said that a very important thing to take into account when devising the communication plan is the message that will be perceived by the audience. That is why the preparation of the message cannot be left to chance, instead, it needs detailed planning.

Consumers do not want products or services, but emotions. They seek to find meaning in the actions they are urged to do. Therefore, thanks to marketing psychology, it is imperative to provide positive emotions that they will remember. Now as we shall see.

Corporate communication plan: a successful example

There are several documented cases of companies, more or less well-known, that have been able to create winning strategies. We are talking about examples in which the communication plan was made up of online and offline aspects. Among these, it is worth mentioning the case of L’Agona, a well-known Italian wine producer. The agency Inside Comunicazione handled the entire project, developing an excellent integrated communication plan for L’Agona.

After a listening and briefing phase with the client, Inside Communication developed a communication strategy for the brand that can be summarised in the following steps:

  • Logo development, using a specific recurring graphic theme
  • Logo and Naming of the two main wines produced by the company
  • Design and realization of the website in Italian and English
  • Study and realization of the Company Profile and wine data sheets.

The work carried out by the communications agency took care of every phase of the planning in detail: from the concept study to the actual communication plan, with constant reports on the results.

L’Agona brand communication now consists of accurate company profiles, catalogs, and company forms (business cards, letterheads, envelopes, signs, etc.). All this expresses brand identity and recognition . In addition, the L’Agona project won the 2015 Presse & Outdoor Key Awards for the best- integrated communication .

Communication project: the tools to use

To disseminate our content and become visible to our target audience, we need to use the right tools. A powerful tool for disseminating content, and a fundamental part of our corporate communication plan , is our blog/site. It is the headquarters where content and our communications are born, grow, and spread.

To create a blog easily and effectively, you can use the world’s most popular open-source platform, WordPress. To write appropriate content following the most widely used guidelines, you can use tools such as Semrush, SeoZoom, and the Google Adwords keyword planner. They will give you numbers and data on users’ search habits and the keywords to use.

A useful tool in the service of the corporate communication plan is the editorial calendar. You can choose your content well in advance and decide on the timing, order and different content to be made.

Finally, delivering the right message to your target audience at the right time is of paramount importance. To manage communication with your users, you can use CRM, a tool that contains all the information about your current and potential customers so that you can engage with them at the right time.

Strategies and tools to use in our corporate communication strategy

One strategy to use is undoubtedly that of redundancy , i.e. and repurposing our content. We can use an outbound marketing strategy, also called interrupt marketing, or we can favor inbound marketing.

Some examples of outbound marketing are door-to-door selling, telephone calls to a more or less profiled customer database, and sending promotional newsletters to email lists bought from a database. The problem with these approaches is that they are often unwanted by customers and therefore classified as SPAM.

The conversion rates of these actions are often very low and there is a risk of wasting the budget of the corporate communication plan .

In the second case, it will be our content that will arouse the interest of our audience, attracting them with the most appropriate content. It will be the users themselves who will express their willingness to receive commercial information from us. So we can keep in touch with them through newsletters, using different email marketing tools to convert them into customers.

One way to spread our video content is to have a dedicated YouTube channel. YouTube is the second search engine after Google, so our potential customers are likely to spend time here.

We can propose our content by getting a good number of reviews and shares at not too high a cost. We can also re-propose them several times, using retargeting on YouTube to make them visible to all users who have already interacted with us previously.

In this way, our communications will go to users who already know us and have already shown interest in us.

Retargeting has higher conversion rates than other types of campaigns, so it is a good idea to use it as part of your communication plan . Often users need time to visit your site several times before making a conversion.

Another circuit on which to convey our communication could be the display network. We can have our banners displayed on specific sites, and YouTube videos, or have them displayed to particular audience segments that may be interested.

Corporate Communication Plan: KPIs to be monitored

Measurement is undoubtedly a fundamental part of any corporate communication plan and marketing plan in general. Some performance indicators that we need to consider in relation to our content are:

  • the number of reviews of each of ours;
  • the average dwell time of the user;
  • the reactions elicited;
  • the bounce rate of our web pages;
  • shares of our posts.

The basis of a good corporate communication plan must undoubtedly be a good strategy and a thorough analysis, after which the tools and techniques to be used must be chosen.

Once the strategy for achieving communication has been created, it must continue to be monitored and improved for the set goals.

The only way then to know whether our plan is achieving results is to measure ROI, Return on Investment. This has allowed us to compare what we have achieved with what we have given, as well as the efficiency of our strategy (e.g. how long the practitioner took to achieve the result).

Final considerations

As you can easily guess, there is no standard communication plan identity for every company. Each plan will necessarily have to be calibrated to the budget and the means at one’s disposal, the objectives to be achieved, and more. However, following the basics of how to make a communication plan can prove useful, as well as being familiar with the basic steps we have outlined.

One must also bear in mind the enormous importance that the web and online media now have. A corporate communication plan cannot rely on these valuable tools. This does not mean completely forgetting “traditional communication”.

It does mean, however, that the new digital channels have revolutionized the indispensable way of transmitting information and are therefore the right way to convey messages effectively. If this topic interests you and you want to specialize, I recommend that you dare to take a look at the Master’s in Digital Communication at the Digital-Coach School of Specialization.

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corporate communication plan meaning

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How to create an executive communications strategy that builds your business

Written by by Carly Hill

Published on  April 26, 2022

Reading time  7 minutes

It goes without saying that the world of work has changed. Remote work is in, and the days of the invisible C-suite are out. And with new data revealing that the majority of people expect CEOs to be the face of change at a company, strong executive communications are a must.

Communications professionals are increasingly involved with managing brand and corporate identity . Executive communications can benefit both of these elements, your comms strategy as a whole and can even boost employee morale and company visibility.

Let’s get into the question of, “What is executive communication?” and how to get started.

What is executive communication?

Executive communications are any communication (face-to-face, written, virtual, etc.) that come from the members of a company’s C-suite or leadership team—not just the CEO.

Internally, this can look like emails, coffee talks, town halls and Slack chats with employees. Externally this can be through social media, media appearances, investor calls and more.

Why should you have an executive communications strategy?

Executive communications can also shape how audiences perceive, trust and interact with your company. The NAACP’s social and PR teams work together with their CEO to create “Tweetments” that serve as official public statements and strengthen relationships with journalists. And after a crisis at Virgin Galactic, it was CEO Richard Branson’s immediate, empathetic response that helped the brand save face.

It’s never been more important for brands and leadership to be transparent. According to Sprout Social’s #BrandsGetReal report, 32% of consumers say CEO transparency on social would inspire them to buy from that business. And 63% of people say CEOs who have their own social profiles are better representatives for their companies than ones who don’t.

From boosting brand awareness and PR efforts, to aiding in perception and transparency, executive communications are a powerful tool in your communications strategy toolbelt. As HubSpot’s Director of Executive Communications Hannah Fleishman puts it, “The reality is, an executive’s platform is one of the most powerful recruiting, marketing and sales tools a company has.”

An executive communications strategy exists to remove blockers, provide structure and safeguards and empowers executives to keep up a regular presence.

Looking for some must-follow B2B startup CEOs. I’m talking “change the world” kinda companies. Any recommendations? — Jason Bradwell 👋 (@JasonRBradwell) April 18, 2022

How to build an executive communications plan

Most executives are no strangers to leading strategy conversations, poring over financial projections or weighing in on R&D.

But elevating their communication strategy may not come as naturally.

Developing a clear plan that clearly illustrates your executives’ role, time commitment, goals and return is the first step to securing buy-in. Here are some tips to help you craft a strategy.

Define the “why” behind executive communications

“Time is a limited resource for executives,” Hannah told Sprout. “So communications—especially external comms like thought leadership or speaking gigs—can be a tough sell. What’s important is to clearly articulate the ‘why’ behind it.”

Not all executives will care about building a personal brand on Twitter. They will care about benefits to the business’ bottom line.

“Leadership content is an underestimated strategy for attracting talent,” Hannah tells us. “Especially during the Great Resignation , it’s critical to make it clear how executive communications can expand an organization’s reach to attract more talent, prospects and customers.”

What specific benefits can your company gain from an executive communications strategy? Clearly define these benefits, and provide examples of brands with strong executive thought leadership.

Set goals and a timeline

Are you creating this strategy to increase executive social media presence ? Improve brand health? Build trust? Many of your goals will link back to your “whys.”

If you need help identifying goals, go straight to the source. Internally, consider an anonymous survey for employees. What do they want to hear from leadership? Do they prefer email communication, or in-person coffee talks? What’s their current perception?

For external comms, think about where you want to increase leadership presence. Setting goals around media placements or brand awareness is a great place to start.

Finally, consider your leaders’ own goals. As Hannah tells us, “Start by having an open conversation with your leadership team about their communications goals—both personally and professionally. Aligning upfront on the aspirations and guardrails will save you time in the long run.”

Once you’ve identified goals, develop a realistic timeline for your strategy. Consider all of the pieces needed—how hands-on will your executives be? How often will content need to be created and approved? Who else will be involved?

#ShoutOut: “It can be done!”__"Four words without which the world would never change"Today I want to give a big… Posted by Strive Masiyiwa on  Saturday, December 4, 2021

Provide executive communication training

Once you have buy-in, how can you help leaders succeed?

Provide regular training—from corporate communications writing, to media training for on-screen appearances. This can be as simple as in-house thought leadership workshops to help you and your executives identify and refine ideas and topics they may want to speak to.

These aren’t one-and-done—make training a core, recurring part of your strategy. This will help your leaders—and you—feel more comfortable and communicate more authentically. And this can feed your efforts. In a recent webinar hosted by the National Retail Federation and Sprout , Walmart reported that training helped grow their executive audience reach by 182%.

Keep in mind, you can do everything right and still get negative comments. In addition to training, show leadership your strategy’s safeguards—from social monitoring to providing media talking points. Set expectations, especially when your executives take a firm public stance. And clearly lay out the system you have in place in case you do receive backlash.

You can even emphasize that having this strategy in place will streamline the process if your CEO ever does need to respond or speak amid a crisis .

Make content easy

The easier you can make the content sharing process, the better.

“Don’t just meet them in the middle on drafting or brainstorming, meet them at 80% and give them something to react to,” Hannah tells Sprout. “Time is an exec’s most valuable resource, so if they’re investing it in comms, you need to maximize the ROI.”

Start with some quick wins to secure buy-in. As Hannah suggested, “Identify some easy ways for them to be more active, either on external channels like LinkedIn or Twitter, or internally on Slack or email.”

Using these as a way to test your strategy while demonstrating ROI can help get executives—and you—more comfortable.

Thank you for putting on a great event @MichiganRoss . I enjoyed the meaningful conversations about driving change to create a better world for all. https://t.co/bBmlG5W2t4 — Mary Barra (@mtbarra) April 15, 2022

Knowing your executives’ voice and interests is crucial, whether you’re ghostwriting or sourcing content for them. Consider creating Twitter lists of industry executives and relevant news outlets you can refer to.

And look for content opportunities everywhere. As Hannah puts it, “Executives are incredibly busy, so when their insights live in a vacuum, you’ve missed an opportunity. We should always be thinking about how we might be able to leverage an internal talk for an external piece of content, or turn a blog post into social content.”

What existing content do you have that you can share? If you have an employee advocacy tool , this could be a great place to start.

Pro tip: Try creating a content calendar to plan ahead with your leaders. Identifying key dates for upcoming events, milestones, articles and more provides preparation time—even if that’s as simple as reminding them to snap a behind the scenes photo.

It's #WomensHistoryMonth and what better way to spend it than with #WomeninSTEM ! I enjoyed celebrating with scientists and engineers at the @smithsonian for the #IfThenSheCanExhibit statue unveiling. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/6C9vTdcYzh — Bridget Coughlin PhD (@SheddAquaCEO) March 4, 2022

Map responsibilities and build approval processes

Executive communications can involve social media, video content, copy and more. So you’ll likely need to involve stakeholders from other teams.

Your process should be as streamlined and forward-thinking as possible—especially when you’re tapping other employees’ time. Building specific approval processes sets expectations to allow for review time and prep.

If executives want to write their own content, an approval process gives you room to edit messages and ensure executives appropriately represent themselves and the brand.

If someone is ghostwriting, a clear review process allows executives to iterate and green-light messaging for authenticity.

When it comes to social posts, it helps to have one hub for drafts, edits and reviews. Sprout’s built in Social Media Calendar and Message Approval Workflows make this process seamless.

A screenshot of Sprout's approval workflows tool

Show the impact of your strategy

Deep breath in, deep breath out.

You’ve mapped out a clear strategy. Now continue to prove the impact of your efforts by reporting on returns.

Data doesn’t lie. Regularly report quantitative results to your executives in a way that tells a story .

And put mechanisms in place to gather qualitative data. Capturing employee feedback, shareholder feedback and more to share with leadership can show the human side of their communications.

A social listening tool like Sprout’s can measure sentiment and show how people feel about your executives’ channels, what they’re saying and more.

A screenshot of Sprout's social listening sentiment meter showing negative versus positive reactions to social accounts.

Create your executive communications strategy

You’re ready to use these tips to start crafting your executive communications strategy.

Remember—nothing is set in stone. Leave room for adjustments where they’re needed.

Schedule time on your calendar to meet regularly with your executives to evaluate your strategy. What’s going well? What needs to change moving forward?

Ease and simplicity are key here—for your leaders, but also for you. Watch our webinar with the NRF and Walmart to learn more about building a smart executive communications plan.

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What is a Communication Plan? Definition and Importance

October 18, 2021 | By Hitesh Bhasin | Filed Under: Marketing

Definition – A communication plan enables an organization or business to design a road map to convey its message to the target audience. Communications planning empowers organizations to send a specific and result-driven message with clarity and measurable results.

Contemporary marketing strategies workaround effective storytelling which ultimately channelizes via a well-made communication plan template. This will enable businesses to have a clear understanding of how they will widen their reach and meet the right audiences with their messages.

So, if you also need to know what plan should include in your communication plan template, then this post will uncover the role of the communication plan in project management, public relations, project action plan, and all sorts of business communications. So, let’s get started –

Table of Contents

What is a Communication Plan?

A communication plan is a policy-driven approach that helps deliver the information appropriately and effectively to respective stakeholders.

Specifically, it is an end-to-end plan to deliver strategic information to the desired audience to boost the business results. Communication plans deal with the organization you are trying to reach, the message to be sent there and the methods or the communication channels to be adopted to reach them effectively.

It should also specify who has the authority to communicate confidential or sensitive information and how that information should be disseminated or transferred.

Following are some of the important points that highlight the need for communication plans

1. Clarifying the objectives and goals of the agency

Considering the plan as a roadmap, a firm knows what the destination is, but it is not aware of its reach. The role of a communication plan comes here to solve the problem of clarifying the objectives of an agency.

2. Specifying relationships among audiences, channels, messages, activities, and materials

Researching the planning process of communication plans will help a firm identify whom it wants to reach, informing them what form of information it wants to extract from them and the channels to reach them.

The firm will find that each individual or organization they are looking for has unique features, different demands. To cope with this, planning plays an effective role here by communicating the most effective way to converse with them.

3. Identifying and implementing a variety of communication activities

There are several different methods to spread the message of a firm to an audience. This will help it settle on which activities it shall engage in to not get continuously pulled on different roads.

4. Clarifying stakeholders’, staff members’ and others’ roles in the process

People in an organization should know their contribution towards the organization and what departments they are responsible for. Having a well-defined plan will help in managing their responsibilities and their contribution effectively towards their firm.

5. Including stakeholder input in the communication process

Stakeholders are one of the most important persons of an organization. Having a specifically designed communication plan for stakeholders will describe how much the organization values their input.

6. Gauging the success of plans and areas in need of strengthening

Organizations often do a mid-way analysis or a course review to determine their strengths, weaknesses, and speed-breakers in their progress and form new methods and approaches to combat such issues. They can develop a unique, specified tailored evaluation strategy to gather all the information it needs to improve its plan.

How to write a Communication Plan?

SMART goals

Following are some steps that an organization should follow to write an effective communication plan:

1. Conduct an audit of your current communication materials

Before a firm decides to write down a plan, it shall be aware of where it will be applied to the business. It is vital to conduct an audit of the current communication environment within the firm. It aids in identifying the bottlenecks present in the organization.

To conduct an efficient audit, a firm needs to carefully gather and interpret data and information based on current marketing plan performance and develop a roadmap based on the previous outcomes. Moreover, a firm can also look for hosting focus groups or sending surveys to its targeted audience to find holes in the current system of communications.

2. Set SMART goals for your communications plan

For making a communication plan, setting SMART goals as per the results of your audit will be your next step. After preparing an audit, a firm has to lay down some specific goals based on its earlier outcomes.

An organization should consider that its goals and objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. In other words, this step deals with identifying and stating the business objectives. For every goal an organization sets, the team needs to give its full contribution to these goals.

It implies that if the team is not aware of what they are aiming for, they will never achieve their goals. To get aware of such goals, there shall be a meeting organized for this purpose where proper underlined statements shall be written to make the objectives clear without any ambiguity.

3. Identify the audience for delivering your communication plan

A good communication plan involves listening to the listener, i.e., focusing on the audience. After forming and identifying the goals, an organization needs to determine and state its target audience. It can be employees of the firm, shareholders, media outlets, etc. Some ways to determine the target audience are:

  • Surveying current customers to learn their preferences. A firm could use tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to gather data from their audience. It shall ask demographic-based questions to gather the actual information they are looking for.
  • Digging into Google Analytics to learn more about who is currently visiting the website of the firm.
  • Comparing the followers of the competitors on social media platforms with our organization and seeing the genre of people following them.

After gathering the data through the above methods, a firm shall design an option for a one-to-two-line description of its audience.

4. Outline and write your communication plan as per your audiences

After identifying the prospective audience, it is the time when an organization shall describe the world about itself. For that, a firm needs to outline and prepare a draft of its communication plan.

The best way is to create a chart and fill in the information related to the messages the firm wants to promote, its target audience and the modes or channels to be adopted. After generating an outline, the following is the structure of a communication plan that a firm shall prepare:

  • Purpose (For what reason the communications plan is prepared)
  • Escalation Framework (including the ‘first line of defense and greater response team’)
  • Roles and responsibilities assigned to each employee
  • Do’s and Don’ts related to the task.
  • Maintenance of an effective response plan

While writing a communication plan, working with groups or representatives of the stakeholders of the organization helps in improving accuracy. Strategies aids in solving potential risks for goals associated with the plan.

5. Determine the channels for sharing the communication plan

The channels to be adopted by an organization depends upon the message to be delivered and the targeted audience concerning the message.

An organization should have specified distribution channels concerning its goals that are relatable to its communication plan. Some of the most commonly used channels used by companies are:

  • Forming a Company Blog
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • SMS Marketing
  • Media Relations
  • Print Collateral
  • Podcast Advertising
  • Print and Television Advertising or Traditional Advertising

6. Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message

After determining the audience and the modes of the communications plan, the firm needs to find out and select the team members responsible for delivering their goals and messages out to the world.

For example, if the HR team of an organization is pitching a new growth matrix to leadership, it might ask the Director of HR to deliver the initial pitch in the debut meeting.

Once the leadership is on-board, the firm might ask each Human Resource representative to deliver one training session to every internal team to make sure that every employee in the firm is aware of what are the things going internally and they get to know the reasons behind it.

7. Estimate a timeline for each step of the communications plan

A firm shall have an estimate of the time that is going to be spent in the performance of each step in the execution of the strategy.

For example, for a minor in an advertisement campaign, the advertising department might estimate the cycle for tackling the issue will take a month which may include meetings with the client, stakeholders, and other employees to discuss further processes.

8. Measure the results of the communication plan

You should measure the results of the communications plan after presenting it to stakeholders and determining the successful phased and areas for improvement.

Measuring every single thread of the company is a critical task to get an idea and analysis of the performance of each department, who achieved the desired target, which section needs more funds or employees to improve its efficiency.

The measurement of results or outcomes depends upon the methods adopted by a firm. It aids in getting a report of each department of the firm, finding the loopholes, and acting accordingly for improvement in the execution of the tasks.

Who should use a Plan of Communication?

Who should use the Communication Plan

Different types of organizations should make a communication plan for effective project management and business action plan. Let us have a look at the types of organizations that should make an action plan as per a communication plan template-

  • In-house marketing and advertising teams – Small and Medium Businesses to big business enterprises, all should have a proper communication plan.
  • Agencies around the world – A communication plan is important for agencies as well as their clients for effective project management.
  • Non-profits organizations – A communication plan alleviates the task of social media, PR as well as project management for marketing and project manager.
  • Marketing and communications consultants and managers – A project manager or marketing consultant should have a communication plan for working with clients while handling a project.

How to make a Communication Plan Template?

How to make a Communication Plan Template

Key steps that should be incorporated in your communication project template are

1. Summarize your communications plan by including

  • The basis for creating your communication plan
  • The status of communication in your project or business team
  • The responsibilities, objectives, and events of communication
  • Different success criteria and feedback measures
  • Planning in advance for risks and issues

2. Have an introduction

  • Include a background with vision, objectives, goals, timeframes, scope, existing communications stakeholders/staffs, current communication tools, results of past communication surveys
  • Incorporate a situational analysis by analyzing strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats

3. Incorporate the future state of your communication objectives

  • Have objectives like increasing stakeholder awareness, team efficiency, and team culture
  • Have proper communication guidelines to make your messages be audience-specific and result-driven

4. Include stakeholder details

  • Incorporate details of your different target audiences like Project board (director, sponsor, other board members), Project team members, Project management team (project manager, project leaders), Project management office, Related project teams, Internal audit or strategy staff, Related business unit managers, Governance and regulatory bodies and External suppliers and contractors
  • Understand the requirements of different stakeholders
  • Include the key messages associated with project status, issues, risks, deliverables, and resources

5. Include your communication channels

  • Include your communication delivery channels
  • Ensure effective information collection

6. Make your communications plan

  • Include communications schedule
  • Have communications events
  • Incorporate communications responsibilities

7. Incorporate project feedback system

  • Include feedback measures
  • Have a success criteria

8. Have an appendix

  • Include documents relevant to your communication plan
  • List any of your planning assumptions
  • List risks that you have identified

Wrapping Up!

A communication plan plays a crucial role in affecting the client-base and audience of an organization.

By stating clear goals, preparing a specified draft with a proper message and targeted audience helps in developing customer relations, and boosting the clients.

This task is mainly held by the marketing and advertising department of a company which is responsible for spreading the awareness and message of its organization.

How important do you consider a communication plan for successful project completion and business accomplishments? Share your views with us in the comment section below.

Liked this post? Check out the complete series on Marketing

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  • How to Build a Sales Action Plan?
  • Objectives of Marketing Plan Explained in Detail
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One
  • Marketing Implementation Plan with Examples and Template
  • Marketing Communication: Meaning & Types of Marketing Communication
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About Hitesh Bhasin

Hitesh Bhasin is the CEO of Marketing91 and has over a decade of experience in the marketing field. He is an accomplished author of thousands of insightful articles, including in-depth analyses of brands and companies. Holding an MBA in Marketing, Hitesh manages several offline ventures, where he applies all the concepts of Marketing that he writes about.

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10 communication plan templates—and how to write your own

corporate communication plan meaning

There's a warning on the box my steam iron came in that says, "Do not iron clothes while wearing them."

This gave me pause for a few minutes, but it got me thinking about the kind of lawsuit that prompted lawyers to include an otherwise obvious warning on the box and the kind of crisis communication plan that came to exist in the aftermath.

Add that to the "pudding will get hot when heated" warning and the trademark "shower cap fits only one head" disclaimer, and you've got yourself an era in which communication plans are not only a helpful organizational tool but a very necessary one.

Successfully running a company requires clear communication across the board: with employees, customers, investors, and any other stakeholders. Any gap in communication can lead to difficulties that range from minor project blips to absolute disaster. And while they're necessary for crisis management, communication plans have plenty of other uses beyond ensuring your consumer doesn't give themselves third-degree burns.

Table of contents:

Communication plan templates 

How to write a communication plan

Communication plan essentials, what is a communication plan.

A communication plan is your blueprint for delivering key information to appropriate stakeholders. It outlines the information that needs to be communicated, who it's meant for, the channel it's delivered through, and the folks in charge of it to ensure clear, consistent, and purposeful communication.

This document can look different depending on what it's used for. Here are some examples to give you an idea:

If I were creating a crisis communication plan for the unlikely event that someone irons their shirt while wearing it, I'd consider all the steps we'd have to take to avoid scrutiny and legal issues, like seeking medical attention, designating a spokesperson to represent our company, or press release strategies to address the issue. (I'd also consider whether the box should come with a logical analysis puzzle the user needs to solve before they can open it, but that's just me trying to fix the world one steam iron at a time.)

A marketing communication plan plays a different role. It's designed to outline responsibilities and initiatives within the grand scope of the marketing strategy to keep teams aligned and informed. One initiative I'd underline twice for our steam iron product would be to produce marketing imagery that clearly demonstrates how to iron a shirt—i.e., on an ironing board, not a body.

A product launch communication plan helps keep everyone on the same page regarding brand messaging, intended effects, and progress throughout the launch. Let's take Apple as an example. They're known for their meticulously planned and executed product launches. Their communication strategy involves creating anticipation through teaser campaigns, leveraging secrecy to build excitement, and hosting live events to unveil new products.

Bottom line: communication plans run the gamut. When it comes to format, some plans may be in a table format, outlining talking points and deadlines. Others may contain more of a narrative, meant to inform and update the reader on how a situation is being handled.

You can use a communication plan for both external and internal communication. An employee communication plan, for example, is only meant for your team's eyes. On the other hand, public relations communication plans can be used internally and can also be shared with relevant third parties for outreach and marketing purposes.

Communication plan templates

A communication plan is that one bookmark every employee clicks at the beginning of their day until they associate its main page with the smell of coffee.

Knowing what it is and why it matters is one thing, but understanding the different ways you can use a communication plan is another. Since there are so many different types of plans, I've put together a few templates to highlight the differences. Pick your (well-labeled) poison.

1. Marketing communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's marketing communication plan template showing the person or team in charge of the project, tasks, timeline, communication channels, audience, and notes in a dark orange bar the top for each target audience on the left side

This communication plan outlines your marketing initiatives for each audience. It tracks relevant information, including the person or team in charge of the project, tasks, timeline, communication channels, audience, and notes.

It also organizes this information based on each aspect of your marketing strategy, whether it's targeting existing clients, potential leads, investors, events, or any PR third parties. 

2. Crisis communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's crisis communication plan template with places to fill in information about the crisis management team and a summary of the predefined crisis communication strategy

No organization is immune to unexpected and challenging situations that can potentially harm its reputation and operations. This communication plan outlines a systematic approach to addressing crises, including key team members, their responsibilities, communication channels, and the predefined strategy.

It should include clear guidelines for rapid response, methods for updating stakeholders, and ways to mitigate potential damage to the organization's image. The plan should always outline the key crisis management team, their roles and responsibilities, procedures for identifying the crisis, and how to work with media outlets and external entities.

3. Internal communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's internal communication plan template with places to fill in a summary of the plan, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan is designed to ensure employees receive timely and relevant information, have clear visibility of organizational goals, and stay informed about key developments within the organization.

It includes details on communication channels, such as newsletters, meetings, and virtual seminars. Typically, it outlines how the leadership team communicates with employees, how frequently they can expect updates, and methods for gathering feedback to enhance internal communication across the board.

4. Social media communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's social media communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

A social media communication plan guides a company's strategy in utilizing social media platforms for its communication goals. It's important for building a strong online presence, engaging with your target audience, and managing your company's reputation in the digital world.

This plan includes an overview of your social media content strategy , detailing the type of content you intend to share, how often you should publish posts, and the voice of the message. 

To make the most of your social media communication plan, define the target audience on each platform, outline KPIs for measuring success, and establish helpful guidelines that can tie into your crisis communication plan and leverage social media in case of an emergency.

5. Change management communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's change management communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

If your company goes through grand-scale change such as mergers, rebranding, restructuring, or process optimization , a change management plan is crucial for ensuring your team is informed, engaged, and supportive of the changes. 

The team's going to need an explanation and a plan of action now that Janice is walking down the office toward the door marked "manager" with a big smile on her face.

Its goal is to facilitate a smooth transition and should always include clear messaging regarding the reasons for the change, the anticipated benefits, and how this could affect employees. It outlines the timeline for the change, strategies for addressing concerns, available communication channels, and any feedback regarding the process.

6. Non-profit communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's nonprofit communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

Non-profits operate differently from other organizations, and their communication plans reflect that. The document effectively conveys the non-profit's cause, engages stakeholders, and develops support. 

Since it's designed to build awareness, foster donor relationships, and maintain a level of transparency about the organization's impact, a non-profit communication plan should include well-crafted messaging that aligns with the org's values, outlines the strategy for reaching and mobilizing donors, and plans how to make the most of communication channels such as social media, newsletters, and events.

For a unique touch that sets your non-profit communication plan apart, emphasize storytelling to humanize your cause and connect with your audience on an emotional level. For example, you might include an initiative that triggers an automatic email when a donor registers or makes a contribution—something that reflects their impact on the cause.

7. Product launch communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's product launch communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and product details

Developing a new product is a stressful and tedious process on its own. Introducing it to the world can be its own hassle, but a good communication plan can help simplify the process by creating anticipation, generating excitement, and breaking down the approach for a successful product launch.

Your plan should include key features and details about the product, the target audience, and market positioning . To nurture and engage that anticipation, you should also include a timeline for communication activities and strategies that cover the channels you intend to use, like social media, email marketing, and press releases.

To take it a step further, include messaging that addresses potential challenges and opens up the opportunity to receive feedback and gauge your customers' response to the launch.

8. Public relations communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's PR communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan is ideal for organizations that want to manage their brand reputation and build relationships with the public. Your brand image is an important aspect of business that can affect operations on every level, and nurturing it requires strategic communication, especially with media and public inquiries. You want the public eye to see you in your nice, freshly-ironed shirt.

A public relations communication plan includes key messaging, a media relations strategy, and a calendar of planned PR initiatives, as well as goals, target audiences, and metrics for monitoring the success of your PR efforts.

9. Employee communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's employee communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and internal communication objectives

Any organization with a team bigger than six people can face major communication challenges, to say nothing of companies that employ staff in the hundreds and thousands. Company news, updates, policies, and initiatives that employees need to be aware of can be difficult to disseminate properly.

Sure, you can take your chances on a company-wide email, but it'll likely end up buried unopened somewhere in everyone's inbox, and you'll be standing there with the corporate equivalent of eating mango-scented shampoo.

An employee communication plan helps foster organizational transparency and workplace alignment within your team. It'll contribute to your company culture and enhance your employees' sense of belonging and connection to company goals.

This plan includes channels for internal communication as well as a content strategy that touches on employees' needs and concerns. While an internal communication plan focuses on the company's business goals, an employee communication plan addresses the company's internal development initiatives. 

10. Event communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's event communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan guides your organization's efforts surrounding an event, ensuring effective promotion, coordination, and engagement. It's useful for managing the flow of information before, during, and after an event.

The plan includes key messaging, the timeline for the event's communication activities, strategies for putting channels like social media and email marketing to use, and how to properly approach inquiries and feedback from event attendees.

Each type of communication plan contains a different set of elements, but the process of putting a communication plan together, regardless of its purpose, remains the same. 

1. Set communication goals

I hate sounding like every therapist ever, but communication goals are very important. If your roommate doesn't understand that your scream of pain from the other room means you might have accidentally ironed a shirt while wearing it, help isn't coming, and your room will smell like barbeque. 

Your goals can range from increasing brand awareness and engagement to notifying stakeholders about a new product launch or managing an emergency. Setting these goals beforehand lays the foundation for the entire plan and defines communication channels, messaging strategies, and evaluation metrics. Focus on setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) business objectives .

If I were ironing a shirt, I'd outline my goal for a smooth, freshly-ironed shirt free of wrinkles, and I'd prepare for that by neatly placing the shirt, being conscious of those pesky corners, and keeping it nice and aligned before getting started. In the same vein, If I were writing a communication plan that focuses on brand awareness, I'd outline goals for social media campaigns and content marketing strategies. I'd aim to increase user engagement on each social media platform by a certain percentage, increasing visibility, ad clicks, and interaction with my brand.  

Clear communication goals give your organization a sense of direction and allow your team to accurately measure success, making adjustments based on tangible results.

2. Identify the audience

Each audience you're trying to reach through your communication plan will have its own unique expectations and concerns. The plan and the message within need to align with the audience's values and interests.

If you're writing for investors, the plan needs to outline your communication goals for them specifically, touching on relevant topics and important points. It would also designate how the information will be conveyed, by whom, and how to move forward if any variables were to shift. 

Conduct thorough market research , and collect relevant insight into your target audience's demographics, behaviors, and preferences. What data are you sharing with your investors? What kind of information would be both relevant and important to share with them? How can you best phrase that communication so it has a positive impact?

Who's telling the board that a customer ironed their shirt while wearing it?

A good practice is to segment your audience and create detailed personas to ensure your message is not only read but understood and embraced.

3. Outline key messages

The key information you're distributing through your communication plan is a delicate balance between the organization's goals and resonance with the audience. 

For example, a product launch communication plan doesn't really need your 25-year company trajectory outlined and explained. The key information here would pertain to the product itself, the process for the launch, steps to take, tasks to perform, and the timeline for the entire project.

Make your messages clear, concise, and compelling to leave a lasting impression. 

4. Choose communication channels

Outline which communication channels are best suited to execute your plan. For example, an employee communication plan should utilize private internal channels like meetings, internal platforms, or emails. Product launch communication plans should leverage external channels as well, like websites, social media, newsletters, and press releases.

Choose communication channels that fit the plan and can be integrated for a cohesive communication strategy that aligns with both your company's goals and the audience's preferences. Ask yourself: 

Who's meant to read this? 

How can I reach them? 

Is this private internal communication or is it meant for public distribution? 

Which channel would have the best visibility for my audience? 

5. Create a timeline

For the plan to be effective on any level, you need to outline its execution in a detailed timeline that sets the start and end dates of each initiative or item on the document.

Details such as specific dates for key events, launches, and regular updates anchor the plan and facilitate a proactive approach. The timeline is your audience's visual roadmap, and it is handy for allocating resources when you're executing your communication plan. 

6. Allocate resources

Putting the plan into action will require resources like budgets and staffing needs. Even time is a resource that needs to be considered. For example, your budget should account for advertising costs, materials, technology investments, and communication channels.

Allocating resources as soon as the timeline is clear ensures the communication plan runs smoothly and delivers the intended message across all initiatives. 

7. Designate responsibilities

If you run into an unexpected crisis situation while at the helm of an organization, even the most detailed communication plan won't make a difference if no one knows what they're supposed to be doing.

Designate responsibilities and outline who owns which task so that when the plan goes into action, your team can just refer to the document to know who's taking care of each task, who to reach out to, and what their part in the operation is.

This is important even in non-crisis situations. Let's say you're launching a new tech product. Your plan should designate your marketing director as responsible for presenting the new product concept and strategy to the company's executive board. It should also designate your marketing coordinators as responsible for any workshops or seminars for external partners like retailers and distributors. 

8. Create contingency plans

Always prepare for the unlikely. Create contingency plans to deal with challenges that might come up when you're executing your plan. What should the team do in the case of negative public reactions or technical difficulties? Who's taking charge of directing efforts in each aspect? How do you address potential issues should they arise? How do you pivot or proceed if you don't achieve your goals?

Be prepared for gaps in the execution, and outline proactive responses to bring the plan back on track.

9. Set metrics for evaluation

Measurement and evaluation are key for the development of your communication plan. You want to track and gauge how well the efforts outlined in your plan are performing.

You can monitor public perception and sales volume before and after implementing your crisis communication plan, or you can monitor KPIs like audience engagement, reach, and conversion rates when your new marketing plan goes into effect. In the case of internal and employee communication plans, you can monitor the change in processes and how it affects your team's efficiency and comfort levels. 

Leverage your communication channels to identify these metrics and areas for improvement, so you can keep adjusting your plan as you go.

10. Perform testing and gather feedback

While testing and gathering feedback are encouraged throughout the process, this relates more to testing your communication plan before you launch it.

For example, you can test how effective your communication plan is and how well it would be received through focus groups, pilot programs, or even internal experimentation.

Once you have feedback from your target audience, you'll be better positioned to refine your messaging and its presentation, and address pitfalls before you execute the plan.

You don't want your communication plan to be just another document in your arsenal of organizational tools. The goal is to make it a piece of your strategy that actively contributes to better communication and company-wide transparency. In order to write an effective communication plan, here are some essential points to consider:

Establish messaging and branding guidelines: Stick to your organization's tone, style, and visual uniqueness to keep your brand identity alive in all communications.

Monitor and adjust: Keep an eye on the plan's performance. Make efforts to adapt based on emerging trends, feedback, and unforeseen challenges.

Report and review: Set KPIs and review them to gauge the effectiveness of the communication plan and better prepare for future strategies.

Document your plan: Keep your plan detailed and well documented , so all team members are on the same page regarding your strategy.

Consistency and long-term planning: Maintain and encourage consistency in your messaging and plan for the long term. Align initiatives with your long-term communication goals.

You can launch exceptional initiatives with a communication plan template and set a unique process that's invaluable for your company's strategy in marketing, PR, change management, and crisis situations. The right plan can make your operations smoother, a bit like a steam iron would your shirt if you're conscious enough to not turn yourself into an ironing board.

Most importantly, it defines how your organization communicates—both internally and externally. It sets the pace and tone for future initiatives. As you become more accustomed to how they work, you'll be able to customize and create your own document templates for other aspects of your business. As you establish the foundation for business communication, you'll be able to automate every part of your project management flow and communicate those goals seamlessly. Find out how Zapier can help you streamline project management . 

Related reading:

The 6-step client onboarding checklist (with template)

7 meeting minutes templates for more productive meetings

One-pager examples and how to create your own

An exhaustive guide to customer acquisition strategy (with 13 examples)

20 free proposal templates to ace your pitch

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Hachem Ramki

Hachem is a writer and digital marketer from Montreal. After graduating with a degree in English, Hachem spent seven years traveling around the world before moving to Canada. When he's not writing, he enjoys Basketball, Dungeons and Dragons, and playing music for friends and family.

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Corporate Communication Plan Template

Corporate Communication Plan Template

What is a Corporate Communication Plan?

A Corporate Communication Plan outlines and guides the internal and external communications of an organization. It helps to ensure that all communication efforts are aligned with the overall business objectives and goals. The plan outlines the strategies, objectives, and goals that you want to achieve to ensure success.

What's included in this Corporate Communication Plan template?

  • 3 focus areas
  • 6 objectives

Each focus area has its own objectives, projects, and KPIs to ensure that the strategy is comprehensive and effective.

Who is the Corporate Communication Plan template for?

This Corporate Communication Plan template is designed to help corporate communications teams and managers create a comprehensive plan to effectively communicate with all stakeholders. It provides guidance on how to plan and execute internal and external communication initiatives to increase employee engagement, build relationships with customers and partners, and enhance brand awareness.

1. Define clear examples of your focus areas

The first step for creating an effective corporate communication plan is to define clear focus areas. Focus areas are the topics that need to be addressed in order to reach your objectives. Examples of strategic focus areas that could fall under a Corporate Communication Plan could be: Enhance Corporate Communication , Improve Brand Perception , and Maximize Reach .

2. Think about the objectives that could fall under that focus area

For each focus area, you will need to define specific objectives. Objectives are the goals that you want to achieve through your communication efforts. Examples of objectives could include increasing internal awareness, increasing external engagement, increasing brand awareness, and increasing website traffic.

3. Set measurable targets (KPIs) to tackle the objective

Once you have identified the objectives, you will need to set measurable targets, also known as KPIs, to track the progress of your communication efforts. KPIs should be specific and measurable, such as increasing the number of internal communication posts, increasing the number of external engagement comments, and increasing the number of website visits.

4. Implement related projects to achieve the KPIs

Once you have determined your KPIs, you will need to implement related projects to achieve them. Projects could include launching monthly external communications campaigns, leveraging influencer marketing, and developing a content marketing strategy.

5. Utilize Cascade Strategy Execution Platform to see faster results from your strategy

Using Cascade Strategy Execution Platform to track and manage your strategic plan can help you see faster results from your strategy. Cascade provides tools to help you create, collaborate on, and track progress for your corporate communication plan, and provides real-time insights on KPIs and objectives.

COMMENTS

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