Where to start with a communication strategy?
Developing a communication strategy is critical for any organisation that wants to communicate its messages and achieve its communication objectives effectively. While there is often pressure to include all the different aspects of what the organisation is doing, it is essential to focus on the opposite – keeping the strategy as clear and specific as possible. This is the only way to ensure a communication strategy is functional and practical across the organisation.
In general, the purpose of a communication strategy is to define the change that communication needs to drive in an organisation. Formulating a strategy directs all communication activities, thereby helping to avoid wasting resources on irrelevant issues and focus on genuinely practical steps to achieve the organisation’s objectives.
Here are five short suggestions on how to start creating a communication strategy:
1. Clearly define the purpose of the strategy.
Before writing a strategy, it is important to think about what the primary purpose should be. This means understanding what changes the communication needs to bring about in the organisation, whether it is raising awareness, changing attitudes or galvanising action. Having a clear purpose helps to keep the whole process of creating a strategy focused, and the resulting strategy can be used to inform action across the organisation.
2. Analyse the current situation and the change needed.
Conduct a thorough analysis of your organisation’s current communication situation and identify the areas that need to change or improve as a priority. This includes internal and external communications, the effectiveness of existing messages and understanding of target audiences.
3. Map target groups and stakeholders.
Specify who your main target groups and stakeholders are that you want to reach with your communication strategy. Consider which groups are most important to achieve the strategy’s objectives and how to tailor your communication to their needs.
4. Articulate the key messages and tailor them to the needs of target audiences and stakeholders.
Once you have mapped your target and stakeholder groups, clearly articulate the key messages that reflect the objectives of your strategy. Then, tailor these messages to the specific characteristics and preferences of each target group and stakeholder. This will ensure that your messages resonate effectively with different groups, increasing the impact of your communication.
5. Choose the most appropriate channels and methods.
Choose the most effective channels and methods to disseminate your messages based on your objectives and an analysis of your target audience. This could mean using traditional media channels, developing a social media strategy or even direct marketing, depending on what works best for your target audiences.
The worst strategies are the ones that people spend a lot of time and resources on but will never be used. Therefore, avoid being vague and piling up unnecessary policies you don’t have the resources to implement. In the communication strategy, focus only on what is essential for achieving the organisation’s objectives for the next period or where communication plays a key role.