A company’s communication is fundamental to guarantee its good development. It is common to think of a communication plan as a marketing and advertising strategy. Still, the truth is that a communication plan encompasses all the audiences with which your company relates. It is much more important than you think.
That is why, this week in Rambox, we explain a communication plan, its vital importance for your business, and how to create it.
- What is a communication plan?
- What is a communication plan for?
- Internal communication plan
- External communication plan
What is a communication plan?
A communication plan is a document that shows how the company will communicate with its different audiences and when it will do so. In short, a communication plan clearly and concisely sets out the objectives the company wants to achieve and the communication strategy, along with the specific tactics and actions that will be taken to meet the goals.
Specifically, there are two different types of communication plans. Depending on your company’s target audience, it will be an internal or external communication plan.
What is a communication plan for?
Regardless of the target audience, all your company’s messages must be consistent and in line with your mission, vision, and values. In this way, you can unify your message, and your employees, stakeholders, and target audience will know your personality, avoiding misunderstandings and confusion on both sides.
Another important point about communication plans is that they allow you to plan resources, both material and human, in a strategic and orderly way to achieve greater effectiveness.
With this resource planning, you will also get an overview of your company and the tangible actions that your organization can take.
Your audience will define your company and brand based on your messages. These messages will represent you as a brand and therefore determine the direction of your company.
Carrying out a good communication plan is crucial for your business’s future.
Internal communication plan
An internal communication plan is based on defining the strategy, and messages addressed to your company’s employees. It is a set of actions that the company carries out to promote the flow of information and increase employees’ knowledge of the business. As a general rule, the main objective of internal communication plans is to improve the work environment and the relationship between the company and the employee.
How to carry out an internal communication plan
Any communication plan must be strategic; for this, it is necessary to follow an order of creation. The internal communication plan must have the following points:
- Company context: in most occasions, the reason for making an internal communication plan is that the proposed objectives are not being achieved. It is necessary to evaluate the company’s current state and carry out an audit to find a solution.
- The best option is to hire someone externally with an unbiased vision that provides an objective view of what works and what does not work to establish the communication plan’s objectives. Another option, if fewer resources are available, is to conduct an anonymous employee survey to determine how they feel about the current communication and information flow model.
- Set objectives: once you have identified what needs to be improved, set short, medium, and long-term objectives. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result-oriented, and time-bound). Once you have set objectives, you can develop the strategy to achieve them, and they will allow you to evaluate the results.
- Strategy and actions: once the objectives have been defined, it is time to establish how they will be achieved. A communication strategy will be followed to achieve the goals, and specific actions will be carried out in accordance with the strategic plan. You should inform your employees about the process and their responsibilities. For example, if a weekly meeting will be necessary, if they need to make reports or if they need to maintain contact between different work teams.
- Implement the plan and evaluate the results: to ensure that the communication plan is working well, it is necessary to consider it regularly. As soon as there is enough information to evaluate the short, medium, and long-term objectives, evaluate them periodically. It is necessary to determine whether the purposes proposed when drawing up the plan are measurable and whether they are relevant to the business objectives. Finally, take the opportunity to ask for feedback from your employees so that they feel appropriate and identify potential problems.
- Make the necessary changes: if when evaluating the results and asking for feedback from your employees you determine that some objectives are not being met or you identify any problems, make the necessary changes to achieve them and solve problems.
Benefits of having an excellent internal communication plan
First, having good corporate communication in your company will make your employees feel part of the organization. It creates a feeling of trust in them. They believe they have a responsibility and build a community. This increases productivity and efficiency.
In addition, a good relationship between the company and the employees generates loyalty in them, so they will want to continue working in your company, and you will avoid the loss of talent in your staff.
On the other hand, internal communication also favors the flow of information. Each employee will be aware of new developments and changes. This improvement in employee information will increase efficiency, as they will feel more connected to each other and will work better individually and as a team. Keep in mind that the flow of information today is done virtually. You must provide your employees with the best corporate communication tools.
Finally, improving the flow of information will help you receive feedback from your employees so you will get more points of view on the company’s management. Listen to them. They will give you their ideas on what can be improved.
External communication plan
External communication plans are aimed at the company’s general public, not at its employees, and are intended to improve the brand’s image. Keep in mind that everything has a relationship. The internal communication plan indirectly favors the achievement of internal communication objectives. Remember that your employees are the best prescribers of your brand.
Two types of external communication plans are differentiated by the communication channel that follows the strategy. We can distinguish between:
- Online communication plan: the strategy is based on the Internet to be carried out.
- Offline communication plan: the strategy is based on traditional media to be carried out.
Both plans can (and should) be complementary.
How to carry out an external communication plan
Just like the internal communication plan, it must follow an order and be developed strategically. However, in this type of communication plan, there are more points to establish:
- Company context: as in the internal communication plan, it is essential to know your company, its environment, and its competitors. Developing a SWOT analysis using internal information, studies, and statistical data is necessary. This analysis will allow you to establish communication objectives and plan a future communication strategy.
- Set objectives: once you have identified what needs to be improved, set short, medium, and long-term objectives. Objectives should be SMART. They should be communication objectives, such as reaching an advertising audience of 30,000 people in one month, increasing the number of followers on social networks by 10% in two weeks, or achieving an engagement rate of 0.5% in the first three months.
- Define the target audience: knowing who you want to address the communication plan to is fundamental to developing the communication strategy and the message. Collect data on those you want to address, where they are, how old they are, what hobbies they have, and what communication channels they use… The most effective way is to create two or three different profiles within the same target audience. In this way, you will find their similarities and differences to know how to differentiate messages and communication channels.
- Define the strategy and messages: the objectives and target audience will help you develop the communication strategy once you are clear about what you want to communicate and how to establish the message. The keys to creating a good message must be clear, concise, and direct. It must have a language and tone appropriate to the target audience and content according to their needs and interests.
- Budget: it is necessary to know in detail the resources available to your company to establish an adequate budget for communication actions. The budget should cover the required human resources and the ways of obtaining the resources to carry out the communication plan.
- Communication channels: you must identify the most appropriate channels for your message to reach your target audience. You can differentiate between online and offline channels.
- Calendar of actions: the actions must be planned in day and time in advance to be able to keep order in the communication and to evaluate the results later on. It is necessary to define what will be done and when it will be carried out.
- Evaluate the results: it is necessary to evaluate the results periodically to identify if the communication objectives are being met and to identify possible problems and solve them. Success is born from experience, do not worry if you place a problem that you cannot solve at the moment. The next you carry out a communication plan, you will have identified what works best for your company.
Benefits of having an excellent external communication plan
The added value of a brand increases the better and stronger its image is, so you will be able to increase your revenues. A strong brand image will allow you to increase the prices of your products and services because you are selling a feeling of belonging in addition to the physical product or experience.
Establishing an external communication plan will allow you to know the necessary resources to carry out different actions, reducing your company’s costs and locating the possible mistakes being made. This will allow you to reorient your brand strategy to achieve what you set out to do.
Setting up external communication plans from time to time will allow you, when carrying out actions, to know in advance what works and what does not. This will help you to have a guide and improve the strategy’s effectiveness, making changes for better performance.
The visibility of your brand will be higher. Whatever the objective of the communication plan, the investment of resources guarantees greater brand awareness by the target audience. In this way, you increase your chances of sales and reinforce your brand image, which increases the added value and, therefore, your revenues.
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