How to generate a rigorous communication strategy in 10 key steps

“Strategy” means the overall plan or big picture, as distinct from the tactics or methods we use to achieve specific goals which are components of a strategy. A good communication strategy possesses two essential features:

  • It’s simple, succinct and concise, so anyone, including non-communications-professionals, can understand it.
  • It’s linked in every detail with business objectives.

A strategy is the starting-point for every communications initiative which entails investing your organisation’s time, money and resources. Unplanned PR activity frequently provides poor return on investment.

A good starting point for strategy design is: “What do we want to say, to whom, and why?” If your communication strategy answers these questions the rest of your communication plan will fall naturally in place.

Here are the 10 key steps for developing a great communication strategy for your organisation:

  1. Identify issues and priorities for your organisation
  2. Map stakeholder audiences to ensure you effectively reach all of them within your communications strategy
  3. Conduct research and create a situation analysis that feeds into your overall strategy
  4. Define communication goals and objectives for your strategy
  5. Define messages and positioning that link with your strategy
  6. Segment communication channels to ensure that you’re reaching out to all of your stakeholders through the channels that they use
  7. Design tools, tactics and campaigns that are right for your organisation and realistic to implement with the resources that you have available
  8. Set budgets and assign resources
  9. Create a detailed action plan so everyone one the team knows what needs to be done and there’s KPIs set against it. There’s nothing worse than having a strategy sit in a drawer and not be used
  10. Execute, evaluate and update – always review and revise your strategy so it can be easily implemented

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This article draws on the knowledge base from ISOC courses on communication strategy.