Checklist: Building Communication Plans That Engage and Inspire

Cheever Griffin

Now, more than ever, effective communication with your target audience is critical. Whether you’re transitioning a live event to virtual, conducting an engagement campaign to unite your team or launching a new product or path forward, putting a strategic communication plan against these efforts is what will truly make an impact. When done right, thoughtful communication plans align and inspire, drive action and strengthen community. The following checklist outlines seven steps that will help you build a best-in-class communication campaign that truly drives results.

Know Your Purpose and Your People

At the start of any communication campaign, it’s imperative that you identify your desired goals and objectives. These will drive your strategies and tactics and serve as a gut check all along the way – ensuring that all your actions are in support of your overall vision.

It’s also equally important at the start to know your audience: Understand their mindset, their needs, what they already know, what their beliefs are and what will best connect with them. This too will be key to guiding the strategies and initiatives you put into place to achieve the greatest impact.

Audit Your Process

Another key step is assessing your current communications–your process, tools and execution–to determine what’s working well and what needs improving. Look at performance metrics to identify which tactics and platforms have delivered the best results and which ones  have shown little to no return. Tap into qualitative data feedback from your audience, whether through one-on-one conversations or surveys.

Map Out Your Strategic Pillars

Armed with your mission and insights, the next step is to develop your communication plan, starting with the strategic pillars. Identify who the right messengers are – which voices do you want throughout the campaign to drive the greatest impact and ensure audience connection and trust? Establish what the right messages are and their cadence, and be ready to pull those messages through the entirety of the campaign. Create message maps for leaders to ensure maximum alignment and continuity and emphasize opportunities for storytelling.

Last but not least, choose the right vehicles for how you will deliver content. Whether new or existing platforms, tap into innovative and unexpected ways to maximize audience engagement.

Take a Holistic, Integrated Approach

Focus on building a true 360 plan in which all of your tactics and initiatives build off each other and work together in a coordinated, integrated way. Look for ways to tie the campaign together under an overarching theme or idea, supported by recognizable branding that can help build recognition and attachment.

Lay Out Your Plan and Go

Build an editorial calendar that lays out all of the campaign initiatives, identifying appropriate platforms and the timing for each tactic. Creating an editorial calendar enables you to visualize how all the initiatives work together and flow over the course of the campaign. Make appropriate alterations as you execute the plan to ensure you are delivering the right engagements at the right time and establishing a sustained cadence of messaging to maximize audience engagement and retention.

Maintain Engagement

Stay focused on maintaining energy and engagement throughout the campaign with interactive and innovative communications. Incorporate as many opportunities as possible for dialogue and two-way connections to enhance audience involvement and use unexpected, non-traditional methods to immerse the audience in the message.

Assess for Success

Using qualitative and quantitative methods, regularly measure efforts to confirm your communication strategy is aligned and optimized to meet stakeholder needs. Plan dedicated measurement touchpoints to establish benchmarks, analyze current performance against KPIs, distinguish between short-term and long-term metrics and identify potential changes to enhance your efforts.

Ready to map out a communication plan that will help support your virtual strategy and engage your audience in unique ways? Send us a note.