How To Write a Communication Plan (With Template and Sample)
Updated August 1, 2023
A man and a woman sitting with their laptops. There is a list titled "Communication Strategy Template" with a list of strategies:
• Establish a schedule for communication activities
• Select strategic communication channels
• Identify the organization's stakeholders
• Conduct a communication audit
• Define SMART communication goals
• Write your communication strategy
In many companies, marketing departments create communication plans to deliver cohesive messages to target audiences. You can use these strategies both internally and externally to ensure you're sharing clear, accurate information with employees and clients. Knowing how to develop and implement a communication strategy can help you deliver consistent messaging that aligns with an organization's brand and mission.
In this article, we discuss communication plans and how to write one, and we provide a communication strategy template and example you can use as a guide.
What is a communication plan?
A communication plan, also known as a communication strategy, is a tool to help marketing or public relations teams align their communications and produce cohesive messaging. The strategy typically outlines the plan for delivering a message to a target audience while describing the purpose, tasks and desired business outcomes of the message. Communication plans may focus on internal or external communications, or they may specify the communication strategy for a particular project. Often, they serve as a foundational aspect of an organization's overall marketing strategy.
Implementing a communication plan can have various benefits, which include:
Clarity: Having a communication plan may help an organization increase clarity regarding how to communicate with each other or with clients. Increased clarity may help employees interact with clients and customers more effectively since they have a well-developed understanding of key messages and communication goals.
Guided communications: You can use this strategy as a guide for marketing communications, such as when launching a new product. The strategy can outline the specific audience, key messages and other important details that contribute to a successful marketing campaign.
Consistency: Communication strategies can help maintain consistency across an organization for both internal and external communications. It ensures both types of communication have consistent, cohesive messages.
How to write a communication plan
Here are the steps you can follow to write an effective communication plan:
1. Evaluate current communications
Before writing a communication plan, evaluate the organization's current marketing and communications materials. These materials may include press releases, email newsletters, social media graphics, brochures or direct mail, among others. Consider the tone and style of each marketing material and evaluate how well they work together to create a branded message. You may also review marketing metrics to help evaluate your current communication strategy. Some metrics to consider include:
Social media engagement
2. Establish goals
It's important to establish goals to guide the process of writing a communication plan. Well-defined goals can help you understand the results you hope to achieve. Use the SMART method to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely objectives for the communication plan. Depending on the type of plan you're creating, you may work directly with other stakeholders to establish goals. For example, if you're creating a communication strategy for sales representatives to pitch new clients, you may work with the sales manager to define specific goals.
3. Summarize the strategy
Once you know the goals of the communication plan, write a brief statement to summarize the purpose of the strategy. In one or two sentences, define the type of communication strategy your plan details. Describe the message you want to communicate and explain the goals of the strategy. A concise description outlining the scope of the communication strategy can help you present the plan to company leaders or stakeholders.
4. Define the target audience
It's important to define the target audience so you know how to craft appropriate messaging. Consider the stakeholders you want to reach with the communication plan. Stakeholders may include customers, clients, employees, investors or media. Research the target audience to understand their demographics and the types of content they prefer. You may include information about the language and tone you can use to connect with the target audience. These details help provide a clear understanding of the audience and how to best appeal to them.
5. Write the key messages
Create a list of key messages for the communication plan. This list outlines the information you want the target audience to understand. For example, if the company sells home goods, a key message may be that the company helps transform houses into homes where families can thrive. Including key messages in your communication strategy can help others understand how to share information. It can also help teams develop new ways to convey the key message in engaging ways.
6. Describe tactics
Decide how you plan to communicate your key messages to the target audience. These tactics may include details about what employees deliver messages and the specific tasks they can complete. You may also define how often to share key messages with the target audience. This description may vary for different plans, but including tactics can help ensure employees follow the strategy carefully and implement it effectively.
7. Select communication channels
Select the channels you plan to use to convey your communication plan to the target audience. The channels you select may depend on the type of plan you're implementing. For example, if you're developing an internal communication plan for employees, you may use a company newsletter as the channel for your message. Some other types of communication channels may include:
Internal communication platforms
8. Monitor results
After you've created and implemented the communication strategy, monitor the results by using the metrics you defined to establish goals. Review those metrics to determine whether you've achieved the objectives. Create reports for the marketing team and other stakeholders to measure the success of the communication strategy. If necessary, identify areas where you can make adjustments to continue working toward your goal.
Communication strategy template
Here's a communication strategy template you can use to create your own:
[Company name or department name]
[Type of communication strategy]
Target audience: [Brief description of your target audience(s), such as their demographics, preferred content or how they view the organization.]
[List of important messages you want to convey to your target audience.]
[Describe or list the tactics to implement this communication strategy.]
[Describe or list the communication channels to convey your messages to the target audience effectively.]
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Communication strategy example
Review this example of a communication plan to help you develop and implement your own strategy:
Lifetime Audio Systems
Oct. 1, 2023
Internal communication strategy
Share brand messaging with the organization's 125 employees
Provide an internal document employees can use to guide communications with customers
Empower employees to speak confidently about brand messaging to improve the company's reputation
Target audience: The target audience includes all 125 Lifetime Audio Systems employees, with a focus on the sales and customer service departments. These employees have a comprehensive understanding of the organization's products and customers.
Lifetime Audio Systems strives to ensure 100% customer satisfaction by providing high-quality products.
The company promises to respond to customers' questions, requests or issues within 24 hours.
The company offers various payment plan options to help customers find affordable options to make purchases.
Each month, the marketing department plans to create an internal newsletter for employees. The newsletter may include information about upcoming sales or new products that employees can share with customers.
The marketing department plans to send the newsletter via email on the first day of each month. In addition, the team plans to print a one-page flyer highlighting key information from the newsletter in the company break room.
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