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How to Communicate Your Company’s Strategy Effectively

  • David Lancefield

business plan communication strategy

Ditch the lofty purpose statements and lengthy slide decks.

For too long, communicating strategy has been an afterthought. Executives have shared long, bombastic documents or withheld critical information and expected people to just “get it.” And it hasn’t worked. Greater external uncertainty, collaboration, employee anxiety, and organizational openness demands a change of approach. The author presents five actions that will improve the clarity and quality of communication, enabling stakeholders to make a more substantive and meaningful contribution to the strategy.

Most people can’t recall the strategy of the organization they work for. Even the executives and managers responsible for strategy struggle, with one study reporting that only 28% of them could list three strategic priorities.

business plan communication strategy

  • David Lancefield is a  catalyst, strategist, and coach  for leaders. He’s advised more than 40 CEOs and hundreds of executives, was a senior partner at Strategy&, and is a guest lecturer at the London Business School. Find him on LinkedIn (@davidclancefield) or at , where you can sign up for his free “Mastering Big Moments”  workbook .

Partner Center

How to Write an Effective Communications Plan [+ Template]

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: January 05, 2023

Remember the " Tide Pod Challenge ?" That horrendous time at the beginning of 2018 when adolescents filmed themselves ingesting laundry detergent?

service leader creating a communications plan

While it was a funny (albeit dangerous) start to the new year, this small boost of infamy was a PR mess for the detergent brand in question, Tide , whose crisis communication team had to figure out how to respond to America's teens swallowing their toxic product. Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble, was swift in their response, thanks in large part to their communication plan .

In this post, you'll learn how to create an effective communication plan that prepares you and your company for any situation.

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What is a communications plan.

A communications plan enables you to effectively deliver information to appropriate stakeholders. The plan will identify the messages you need to promote, to whom you're targeting those messages, and on which channel(s). Communications plans can be used in times of crises, but they are also used when pitching new initiatives or launching new products.

Communication plans can help you clarify the purpose of a product launch or new initiative and officially determine the messages you want to deliver to your intended audience(s).

Additionally, a communication plan can help your business during a time of crisis if a previous marketing message or business decision damages your reputation with internal stakeholders or customers.

If companies don't have a communication plan , they'll be unprepared when disaster strikes. It may be unlikely that your company will find teenagers eating your product for internet fame, but not so unlikely that you'll never find yourself needing a procedure to effectively handle difficult situations.

Need a free, easy-to-use communication plan template? HubSpot has 12. Check out this toolkit for everything you need to build your own.

This is part of a template offered in the toolkit. For this particular template, the organization is separated into phases, a description of that phase, and who needs to complete that action.

free editable Communication Plan Template

Download These Templates for Free

Now that we've gone over how a communication plan can be helpful, let's learn how to write one that will be effective.

How to Write a Communications Plan

  • Conduct an audit of your current communications materials.
  • Set SMART goals for your communications plan based on the results from your audit.
  • Identify the audience to whom you plan to deliver your communications plan.
  • Outline and write your plan, keeping your audiences in-mind.
  • Determine the channel(s) on which you need to deliver your messages.
  • Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message.
  • Estimate a timeline for how long each step should take.
  • Measure the results of your plan after presenting to stakeholders, and determine successes and areas for improvement.

1. Conduct an audit of your current communications materials.

Before sitting down to get rollin' on your plan, you need to first decide where it'll fit into your business. So it's important you complete a "state of the union," or an audit of the current climate of communications within your company. This can help you identify any problem areas.

For instance, let's say you need to create a communications plan for a new product launch. To create your plan, you'll first need to perform an audit to identify gaps in your current marketing approach.

After performing the audit, you might find there is a major gap in your marketing materials in which you rarely discuss a topic that aligns well with your new product. You'll want to ensure this topic makes it into your communications plan.

business plan communication strategy

Crisis Communication and Management Kit

Manage, plan for, and communicate during your corporate crises with these crisis management plan templates.

  • Free Crisis Management Plan Template
  • 12 Crisis Communication Templates
  • Post-Crisis Performance Grading Template
  • Additional Crisis Best Management Practices

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Free Communication Plan Template

Fill out the form to access the template..

To conduct an audit, you'll need to carefully gather and interpret data on your current marketing plan performance and build a path forward based on those results. Additionally, you might consider hosting focus groups or sending surveys to your audience to find gaps in your current communications materials.

Of course, you'll want to have the goal of your communications plan in-mind when conducting an audit. In the example above, noticing you're lacking material on a certain subject only matters if your goal is to drive leads and conversions to a product that aligns with that subject.

For instance, if you're launching a new email marketing tool and you notice you're lacking content on Google Ads, this might not be relevant information for your communications plan. However, if you're missing content on email marketing best practices, that's important information you can use to tailor your communications plan appropriately.

2. Set SMART goals for your communications plan based on the results from your audit.

After your audit, you'll want to lay out a few goals based on the data from the results. What do you want to achieve with this plan?

When in doubt, remember that your goals should be SMART : Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

For instance, if a small agency is writing a communications plan for its client, they might write a goal along these lines: "We plan to increase employment applications for our client by 25% over the course of one quarter."

Alternatively, perhaps your HR team needs to write a communications plan to pitch designing a new growth matrix for individual contributors who don't want to become managers.

If that's the case, your HR team will need to identify specific goals they hope to achieve as a result of their plan, even if the results are less quantifiable — for instance, their goal might be to "increase employee retention rates by 10% over the next year" or even "increase employee satisfaction, as indicated by their next NPS scores." They'll need to pitch these goals to stakeholders to get leadership on-board.

SMART goals calculator

Download Your Free SMART Goal Template

3. Identify the audience to whom you plan to deliver your communications plan.

Good communication starts with knowing and understanding your listener. In this case, if a crisis communication plan is for stakeholders, which one(s) are you writing for? Stakeholder examples include employees, investors, customers, local government officials, or media outlets.

If you're writing for media outlets, a press release detailing your goals is a good idea for that audience. There should be a process for who will speak to the media outlets, an outline of what they will say, and an action plan put in place moving forward.

Alternatively, if your audience is your employees, you might want to create an up-to-date internal document for employees to refer to, as well as the contact information for the internal DRI if they have follow-up questions.

4. Outline and write your plan, keeping your audiences in-mind.

When you're ready to outline and write your plan, it's likely easiest if you start with a table or chart to identify the messages you need to promote, to whom you're targeting those messages, and on which channel(s).

Once you've created a general outline, here's how you'll want to structure your communications plan (feel free to copy these sections into a Table of Contents for your own plan):

  • Purpose (what is this communications plan for)
  • Escalation Framework (including 'first line of defense' and 'greater response team')
  • Roles and responsibilities of each employee
  • Do's and Don'ts
  • How to maintain an effective response plan

(If you need help writing a communications plan, download our free, ready-to-use communications plan templates .)

When writing your communication plan, work with groups or representatives from your stakeholders to improve accuracy. Strategies should solve for goals or potential risks.

For instance, if you work for an agency aiming to promote a client's product, a risk might be spending money on paid ads without a guaranteed ROI. To solve for that risk, the agency should detail different steps to ensure the ads are effective before going public.

5. Determine the channel(s) on which you need to deliver your messages.

The channels you choose to communicate with your audience depends on your message, and to whom you want to deliver that message. For instance, if you're creating a communications plan for internal employees, you might send out your communications plan in a company-wide email, use a team communication app , or in-person team meetings to deliver your message.

Alternatively, if you're communicating with customers, you might determine it's best to communicate via an email newsletter, or via a press release.

Of course, the channel(s) you choose will depend on your goals, but it's important as you're writing your communication plan that you keep your distribution methods in-mind.

6. Decide which team members are responsible for delivering the message.

Once you determine your audience and channel(s) on which you'll deliver your communications plan, figure out the DRI for delivering the message.

For instance, if your HR team is pitching a new growth matrix to leadership, you might ask your Director of HR to deliver the initial pitch in the first meeting. Once leadership is on-board, you might ask each HR representative to deliver one training session for each internal team to ensure every employee understands what's changing internally, and why.

7. Estimate a timeline for how long each step should take.

You should have a ballpark estimate of how much time each step in executing your strategy will take. For instance, if your plan needs to go from the higher-ups down to the employees, it's good to take into account how long going through the chain of command will take. It's also smart to infer how long a media cycle will last.

For instance, for a minor slip-up on an ad campaign, the advertising agency might estimate the cycle for controlling the issue will take a month — including meeting with the client, stakeholders, and employees to discuss steps moving forward.

8. Measure the results of your plan after presenting to stakeholders, and determine successes and areas for improvement.

There's always room for improvement. Measure the results of the plan after presenting it to stakeholders, and determine aspects that went well, and areas for improvement next time.

For instance, the ad agency might not have met its goal of increasing prospective applications by 25% within a quarter. They might rework their goals to give themselves more time or pivot their quarterly focus to fit those goals.

Alternatively, if you notice certain language in your communications plan evokes a level of stress or fear with internal stakeholders, consider how you can re-word next time to ensure your communications plan feels helpful, beneficial, and positive.

Some aspects of building a communication plan can be a "choose your own adventure" journey. The key is choosing aspects that best reflect what your business needs in times when effective communication is key. What do your stakeholders need to know, and how are you going to best communicate that?

Communication Plan Examples

  • Strategic Communication Plan
  • Project Communication Plan
  • Marketing Communication Plan
  • Corporate Communication Plan
  • Crisis Communication Plan

Communication plans can get tricky, but writing an effective one will prove itself with its longevity. The following communication plans include analysis for stakeholders you'd respond to and the procedures for what to include in those communications.

1. Strategic Communication Plan

Bright Hub Project Management's communication plan explains how, when, and why communication happens within its organization.

This example is great because it details how communication managers write crisis plans and acknowledges that sometimes the busy marketer or project manager takes on this responsibility.

Strategic Communications Plan

Image Source

2. Project Communication Plan

Here's an example of a Billing Upgrade Project from Simplicable . This communication plan maps out all the important meetings and documents needed for the project. As you can see, it also includes necessary sections including audience, goals, format, and DRI.

project communication plan example

3. Marketing Communication Plan

A marketing communication plan is essential for communicating to your target market, especially when launching new products or initiatives. This example from Smartsheet allows you to plan marketing communications strategies for customers, sales prospects, media partners, internal stakeholders, and events.

Marketing Communications Plan Grid Template

4. Corporate Communication Plan

Corporate communication plans outline how organizations communicate internally and externally. This example from Smartsheet is a nine-step roadmap that includes space for a mission statement, executive summary, situation analysis, key messages, and more.

corporate communication plan example

5. Crisis Communication Plan

This communication checklist below, by Prezly , gives a great overview of the details of a crisis plan from beginning to end. It can be used as an effective guide when drafting a crisis management strategy.


Communication Planning Tips

Communication planning can be tricky, so here are some extra tips to keep in mind to help your plan shine: when describing procedures for handling crises, include who the situation involves. This lets stakeholders envision decision-making processes.

Additionally, if you're part of a larger company with a broad stakeholder list, it's okay to split up target audiences for your plan.

For instance, maybe your audience is more than just "consumers." Split stakeholder groups for easier comprehension and more distinct solutions.

Ultimately, your communications plan needs to clearly and succinctly provide necessary information to everyone involved in the business decision, product launch, or PR crises. Use the strategy mentioned above, as well as our communication plan templates , to ensure yours is as effective as possible.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Article • 8 min read

The Communication Strategy Framework

Planning how to communicate clearly.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

business plan communication strategy

Nowadays, we communicate with others in many different ways.

For example, we can get our message across face to face, over the phone, by email or IM, or by video call or VoIP. We can also communicate with written reports, workshops, webinars, advertisements, presentations, and speeches.

However, to get the best results from our communications, we need to plan them effectively. Without careful thought and consideration, we can easily confuse our audience or fail to get our message across. This can undermine our credibility and effectiveness.

In this article, we'll look at the Communication Strategy Framework, a simple tool that you can use to organize your messages, remove possible communication barriers, and get the results that you want.

About the Model

Michael and Sandra Rouse developed the Communication Strategy Framework, and published it in their 2001 book, " Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach ." [1]

The framework guides you through the process of planning and organizing your messages, so that you can avoid communication barriers, increase understanding, and get the response that you want from your audience.

The Communication Strategy Framework consists of four elements that you should consider carefully as you organize and craft your message:

  • Communicator strategy.
  • Audience strategy.
  • Channel strategy.
  • Message strategy.

From "Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach" (pages 76-77) by Michael J. Rouse and Sandra Rouse. © 2001. Used with permission of Cengage Learning EMEA Ltd.

You can use the framework to plan many different types of communications, such as phone calls, reports, emails, and presentations.

Using the Framework

To use the Communication Strategy Framework, think carefully about each of the elements below. You can also download our worksheet to help with your planning.

1. Communicator Strategy

First, you need to think about yourself as the "communicator," or the sender of the message. Consider these questions:

  • Why are you communicating this message?
  • What results do you want to achieve?
  • What is your reputation with your audience members, and how much credibility do you have? How should you adjust your message to take account of this?
  • Does your audience trust you? If not, how could you build trust in your message?
  • Do you share the same culture and background as your audience? (If not, brush up on your cross-cultural communication skills , and think about how you can ensure that others understand you easily.)

Consider the objective of your communication carefully, as this will determine the best approach to take with the next three elements of the framework. Write a simple but straightforward statement that defines the objective or purpose of your communication. (If you are delivering a training session, see our article on the ABCD Learning Objectives Model – this will help you to refine your objectives statement even further.)

2. Audience Strategy

Next, think about your audience. When you consider the wants, needs, education, and skill levels of your audience members, you can craft a message that matches their interests, expectations, and understanding.

Consider these questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • Are there identifiable sub-groups within it, with differing needs?
  • What do you know about this person or group?
  • What do they know about you?
  • What do they know about this subject?
  • How will you motivate them?

In some cases, you'll be very familiar with your audience: for example, when you write an email to your boss or colleagues. In other cases, you might not know your audience, such as when you give a presentation to a large group of prospective clients. Write down what you do know about them, and then think about how you can find out more.

Next, think about the different groups within your audience. Use our article on market segmentation to think about how you can address their differing needs.

Consider what your audience members need from you, and how they will benefit from your communication.

3. Message Strategy

Here, you need to think about the style, tone, and structure of your message. Consider these questions:

  • Is your purpose to persuade, entertain, consult, or inform? What style and tone will best fit your purpose?
  • Does your message need to be formal or informal, or a subtle mix of both? Consider your audience carefully to answer this question.

When you think about your message, you also need to consider your audience's likely reaction. Do you think your audience will agree with what you say? And are your audience members busy? If so, you might want to take a direct approach. To do this, communicate your main idea upfront, and back it up with supporting arguments or evidence.

Are your audience members likely to disagree with what you have to say? And do they have time to listen to, or read, a longer communication? If so, you might want to take a less direct approach with your message. Include your supporting arguments first, followed by your main point or purpose.

As you craft your message, think about how you can let your audience members know why they should keep listening, and make sure that you finish with a clear, motivating call to action.

If you need to influence your audience in some way, use Yukl and Tracey's positive influencers to choose the best approach to use. Monroe's motivated sequence can also help you to craft an effective message. If you want to draft a written communication, brush up on your writing skills . And, when you need to give a presentation, consider using business storytelling to inspire and motivate your audience.

4. Channel Strategy

In the final element of the framework, you focus on choosing the most effective communication channel to get your message across.

  • What channel is most appropriate to use for your audience and message?
  • Do you need to have a record of this communication? (If so, an email can be a better choice than a phone call.)
  • Is cost or time a consideration?
  • Is culture a factor in this situation? Remember that people in some cultures prefer face-to-face communication, while others will favor using email.

Keep in mind that the channel you choose can directly affect how well your audience understands your message. If your message is complex, or if others might misunderstand it, choose a channel that allows you to see whether people have grasped the message, and, if necessary, take corrective action.

Our articles on writing effective emails , delivering great presentations , and holding effective meetings have specific strategies that you can follow to make best use of these communication channels.

Use the 7 Cs of Communication to ensure that your message is clear, concise, well-constructed, and error-free.

Michael and Sandra Rouse developed the Communication Strategy Framework and published it in their 2001 book, "Business Communications: A Cultural and Strategic Approach." The framework guides you through the process of planning and organizing your communications, so that you can prepare clear and effective letters, emails, presentations, and speeches.

The framework consists of four elements:

To use the framework, consider each element carefully as you plan your message.

Download Worksheet

[1] Rouse, M. and Rouse, S. (2001). ' Business Communications .' United States: South-Western.

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Ultimate Tool Kit: Free Communication Strategy Templates, Examples, and Expert Tips

By Joe Weller | June 29, 2017 (updated July 21, 2021)

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Developing a communication strategy and formalizing it into a written plan is challenging, but it’s worth every bit of the time and energy investment it takes. A well-executed, tailored strategy and resulting message platform will get everyone inside your organization on the same page about how to communicate your company’s mission statement, and why and how you do what you do. 

In this article, you’ll find tips and examples from two PR CEOs, a step-by-step guide to putting together your own plan, and templates galore -- including a nine-step strategic communications plan template and crisis communication planning template -- and additional resources to help you craft a communication strategy to navigate a more successful future.

What Is Communications Strategy and Planning?

A communications strategy clearly identifies the objectives and processes of your organization's outreach activities. It covers what the organization needs to share and whom to share with to meet goals. Formalized as a written plan, it’s an important part of daily operations. It frames media activities, including both external and internal communications, defines priorities, time frames, target audiences, staff assignments, and resources.

Developing a communications strategy is a complex undertaking with lots of moving parts. PR pros like John Raffetto and Dianna Booher understand best practices and exactly what goes into creating and executing an effective communications strategy.

John Raffetto

John Raffetto is CEO and Co-founder of RH Strategic, a PR firm based in Seattle and Washington, D.C. specializing in technology, security, healthcare, and public sector markets. John got his start in PR by way of the U.S. Senate, where he served as a press secretary and communications director. In 2000, he began consulting with technology companies, and moved to Seattle in 2004 with Infotech Strategies to open a west coast office. He started RH Strategic in 2007 with David Herman.

Dianna Booher

Dianna Booher , CEO of Booher Research, is a bestselling author of 47 books, including her latest: Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done . She works with organizations to help them communicate clearly and with leaders to expand their influence by fostering a strong executive presence. Good Morning America, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily , Bloomberg,, Fast Company, FOX, CNN, NPR, Success, and Entrepreneur routinely interview her for opinions on critical workplace communication issues.

We asked Raffetto how he begins his planning process. “At RH Strategic we begin all strategic planning with the question, ‘Where do you see your company in five years?’ This reveals the highest level objectives and helps us layer in a communications plan that is 100 percent aligned with where the leadership is taking the company,” says Raffetto. “We then develop three or four communications plan objectives, and then we align every tactic -- whether it is a speaker placement, an event, a media campaign or an influencer engagement initiative -- with one or more of these objectives.”

Meanwhile, Booher has an eight-step process she uses to develop a communications strategy plan for a client, company, or specific event:

Step 1: Interview all the primary stakeholders to get their perspective on the problem and the goal. Step 2: Analyze the data to see where there’s agreement. Step 3: Decide if it’s necessary to collect more data to further investigate the misalignment. Step 4: Interview other stakeholders (second-tier people) to understand how they see the problem and the goal. Step 5: Reconfirm the goal with the primary stakeholders. Step 6: Design an implementation plan, along with measurements of success. Step 7: Execute the plan. Step 8: Measure success

Types of Communications Strategy Plans

There’s no single way to create a plan since, as Raffetto notes, you must customize it to your organization, goals, environment and situation, and there are different types of communications strategy plan. 

Booher concurs, and says, “Every situation differs. So I don’t routinely use any particular template all the time. But I do have templates that I use when I identify similar problems.”

Here are three general types of plans that any non- or for-profit organization may create to meet either long-term or short-term goals:

  • Overall Communication Strategy for Organization: A communication strategy is both subservient and complementary to the overall marketing strategy, which takes its direction from the organization’s overall business strategy. The business strategy is general and pinpoints the desired bottom-line financial outcome. The marketing strategy supports those goals with strategies that incite target audiences to take what you’ve determined to be the desired action, whether it’s buying a product or service, making a donation if you’re a non-profit, or signing up for an online class if you’re a web-based university. The marketing strategy assembles all the other strategies, one of which is communications. The organization’s communication strategy plan is in fact more closely tied to tactics, as we’ll see as we move through the steps to creating your plan.

If you haven’t completed a marketing communication strategy, you’ll need to do that before you begin your communication strategy plan. This free annual marketing plan template can help you get started. Simply download the template and you can adjust it to reflect the necessary components of your individual marketing plan. It includes campaign type, project goals, target audience, response rates broken down into sections for national and local efforts, content marketing, online marketing, media relations, public relations, trade shows and events, sales campaigns, and branding efforts. Objectives are clearly identified along with total costs and target markets. At the top of the template, you can define monthly sales goals and at the lower section of the template you’ll find a place to record marketing effectiveness metrics.

Marketing Plan Template

Download Marketing Plan Template

Excel | Smartsheet

  • Event or Product/Service Launch Communications Strategy: In addition to the overarching organizational communication plan, there is often a need to create ‘sub plans’ that support time-constrained events like product or service launches or a fundraiser. Event specific communications should still tie into the overall communication, marketing, and business strategies. Plan components (targets, budgets, and messaging) are the same as your overall plan, and you can use the same templates to work on the details.

Booher adds, “If delegating responsibilities is a problem, I use this 15-item delegation checklist to help the manager handle the what, why, when, and how productively.

15 Item Delegation Checklist by Dianna Booher

Download the 15-Item Delegation Checklist by Dianna Booher

  • Crisis Communication Strategy: Another situation that requires a time-constrained strategy and plan is crisis communications, which deals with unexpected or disruptive events that threatens the organization, stakeholders, or sometimes even proposes harm to the general public. Usually, these events garner negative media attention that you’ll want to preempt or have a response plan for. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately, and confidently during an emergency. While you can’t anticipate a particular crisis, you can have a structure and process in place, and then quickly ‘fill in the blanks’ in a written document when it’s necessary. Examples are theft, legal disputes, or manmade disasters blamed on your organization. Conversely, your company could also deal with the repercussions of not reacting to these types of situations in the appropriate manner. You’ll find more information on crisis communication and templates to help manage these situations later in this article.

What Problems that Communications Strategy Plans Solve

There are multiple benefits to having a formal, written communications strategy plan for any organization (government agencies, consumer brands, charities, and universities) and the teams within it. Here are some:

  • Form Consensus: Getting involved in the process and integrating participants’ opinions brings a sense of ownership. A written plan means that everyone is following the same playbook and working toward a clear, common goal.
  • Realistic Timelines: Planning in advance and creating work-back schedules helps organize how to execute individual tactics and the overall plan.
  • Identify Needed Resources: With timelines in place, it is easier to identify if you need to add outside help to the team, if you need to reassign existing team members, and how to budget based on the strategy.
  • Assign Responsibilities: A plan will help manage people understand their contributions to the company and their responsibilities
  • Channel Planning: There are many different ways to spread your message. Identifying which channels to use for what type of communication will help you focus your attention so that you aren’t continuously pulled in different directions.
  • Identify Risks: Having team reviews at set intervals will help you determine what’s working and what needs to change, and will strengthen your strategy and plan.
  • Success Metrics: Goals should be part of your strategy and serve as guideposts for plan evaluation and to highlight areas that should be improved in both current and future efforts.

The Benefits of a Communications Strategy in Action: Three Case Studies

How do strategic communication plans work in practical reality? Raffetto provides a client case study: 

RH Strategic has a client that has developed a game-like technology to help kids learn math. It’s incredibly powerful in that it ‘learns the learner’ and personalizes lessons to each student’s learning style. As a result, it closes the gap in math achievement. Teachers and students love it, but not everyone in education is aware of it or understands the opportunities it offers.  

RH Strategic was retained to build a PR strategy to change that. We spent a full day with various executives and a whiteboard to map out the company’s future and to develop top communications objectives.The top two were to grow brand awareness among school district buyers and selection in the market, and to leverage top executive’s thought leadership to change conventional thinking in the market. Knowing this, we then built a plan that mixed intense, month-to-month media outreach and media coverage with speaker placements and social media tie-ins to drive toward both objectives.  

Most recently, the CEO was featured in the New York Times Corner Office column as a thought leader – an article that not only reached millions directly, but was also shared repeatedly on social media and spawned many other media and speaking requests. In parallel, our team was also busy promoting the brand and the product to the education trade press and local media. As part of our original communications strategy, we developed a customer award program that drove a tremendous amount of local press coverage for the brand, which tended to get neighboring school districts’ attention and motivated them to investigate whether they should be customers as well. Prior to this effort the company got very little visibility in the local press. 

Each quarter we took a snapshot of the progress and were pleased to discover that the quantity and quality of results tied to each strategic objective expanded dramatically from one quarter to the next. That is a classic case of ‘success breeds success’ and demonstrates how a strategic communications program can take a company’s visibility to the next level.

Booher provided a case study that exemplifies how to strategize a communications plan to change the perception of internal stakeholders:

An executive vice president of a large utility company called me with this problem: “I’m concerned that the organization may be considering outsourcing the work that my division of about 2,000 employees now does. They continue to cut our budget and have capped headcount. Yet we provide essential services — IT, records management, HR functions. I feel as though I’m always on the defense to justify our existence.”   Rather than justifying budget and headcount, I suggested a strategy of education. The VP and his three direct reports admitted that the typical employee in the 50,000+ organization did not even know what function the ‘Administration’ division played. So why would they possibly fight to keep these services internal rather than outsourced? Answer: They wouldn’t.   Consequently, all the senior executives agreed on a strategy to educate the entire employee population about what back-office services the division actually provided to garner support to keep these services inhouse.   The tactical plan followed. A five-page communication plan containing a bulleted list of action items to implement the strategy. For example:

  • Modify the email signature blocks to add an educational tagline.
  • Train department representatives to take on a customer service attitude toward internal customers they serve.
  • Have system analysts send follow-up emails after providing IT services, for example, to make sure a newly installed software package is running smoothly.
  • Ensure that the Records Storage department regularly sends out a reminder of the archiving schedule.  

Result: The “Administration” division became visible to the entire organization, and 2,000 people kept their jobs.

In an altogether different situation, Booher developed another plan for her client to improve internal and external communication:

The goal was to improve communication flow across department lines and to improve communication with clients. Here’s how I handled it in brief:

The strategy:  Identify the roadblocks and improve the written communication (since almost all communication was in writing).   The tactical:

  • Review their templates to see what they were using.
  • Review sample correspondence.
  • Interview department managers to get their perspective on the problem.
  • Train their group of writers whose main role it was to communicate with customers.
  • Rewrite/improve all their boilerplate documents so that they are starting with appropriate models.
  • Change the physical layout of the office so that they have verbal interaction on a daily basis.
  • Coach their senior executive on using more up-to-date methods of approvals/signatures and eliminating antiquated phrasing in his own correspondence.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Strategic Communications Plan

Like a well-built engine, a strategic communications plan has many specifically engineered parts to accomplish your goal. While every communications plan should be thoroughly customized, there are common, time-tested components that go into a high-performance plan. 

RH Strategic  uses proprietary templates to track communications strategy. “The RH Strategic team has developed its own templates over the years,” says Raffetto. They all include research and discovery where we assess the client’s market landscape and their strategic objectives; various programs to achieve those objectives; and measurement initiatives so that all parties can assess at any time the progress of the strategy and make adjustments. It’s a pretty simple and logical template, and it’s designed to be useful not just to the communications team but the entire executive suite and even the boardroom.”

Next, you’ll find descriptions of all the component pieces and templates you can use to develop your own plan.

Begin With Your Mission Statement

The mission statement defines the reason your organization exists and serves as a framework to evaluate current and prospective activities. Include your mission statement at the very beginning of the communications plan to show that the initiative doesn’t just come from the communications department or consultant. Your mission statement should also inform your key messages, which should be brief, non-jargony benefit statements.

Here’s an example of messaging that comes directly from defining a mission. Highfive, a video conferencing company, has a brief mission statement: Our mission is to make every conversation face-to-face . Their three key value-driven messages are:

  • Highfive is beautifully simple video conferencing that you can initiate or join with a single click
  • Twenty conference rooms for the price of one Cisco or Polycom system 
  • Built for businesses, not social networking 

The messages support the mission statement, clearly states the benefits, and the copy is easy to use in all types of formats. Before you begin creating your own messages, there are other steps to take, beginning with research.

Do Your Research

To develop an effective strategy, you need to take a deep dive into understanding your operating environment, strengths and weaknesses, competitors, audiences, and how to message based on goals. An important element to explore is what communication platforms and channels you’ll use to spread your message, and finally the metrics you’ll use to ensure the effectiveness of your efforts. Here are some types of analysis you can perform to help you identify how to move forward:

PEST Analysis: PEST (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) analysis is the first step an organization can use to begin their overall business planning. It’s a tool to help you understand your business position, and market growth or decline, and scan your environment. By understanding these factors, you can determine overall opportunities and threats to your organization. 

PEST Diagram

Once you’ve completed your PEST analysis, you can move on to look at your direct competitors in the marketplace. 

SWOT Analysis  SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is an analysis framework that identifies and examines the internal and external environmental factors that can impact project, product, place, or person viability. Originally developed for Fortune 500 companies, organizations of all kinds have embraced SWOT as a decision-making aid. SWOT analyzes four areas:

  • Strengths: Internal attributes and resources that provide advantages.
  • Weaknesses: Internal attributes and resources that are a disadvantage to the organization when compared to others.
  • Opportunities: External factors that a company can exploit to gain an advantage.
  • Threats: External factors that could result in jeopardy.

This environmental scan is a means to help decision makers ascertain if the project or goal is worthwhile and what’s needed to make it successful. The next step is to match resources to meet the identified challenges and opportunities. Below you’ll find some templates you can download to help with your research.

SWOT Analysis Strategy Template for Excel

SWOT Analysis Strategic Template

Use this template to examine the relationships between external and internal drivers, and determine what strategies you can employ to address different threats, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. You can find more SWOT templates here in a variety of formats.

‌ Download the SWOT Analysis Strategy Template  

Competitor Analysis Template for Excel

business plan communication strategy

Use this template to perform a competitive evaluation of your organization and to inform your communication strategy based on product categories. A detailed multi-layered template for each product category will help you analyze major attributes and channels, pricing, credibility, promotional offers, and relevant research findings. It also enables the identification of opportunities and potential partners. 

‌Download Competitive Analysis Template

Create S.M.A.R.T. Objective(s)

To provide structure, guidance, and to better identify what you want to accomplish for your communication strategy plan, S.M.A.R.T. goals are especially effective. They are:

  • Specific: A mission statement for your goal that clarifies what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable: Think about meaningful metrics that will create a tangible way to measure progress 
  • Achievable: You and your team agree on what’s attainable
  • Relevant: Focus on what makes sense within broader business goals and realistic resources 
  • Time Bound: Target timing, along with interim schedules, for deliverables  

To learn more, read The Essential Guide to Writing Smart Goals . You can also use the following template to get started writing your S.M.A.R.T goals.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Template

S.M.A.R.T Goals Template

This template helps clarify the five classic S.M.A.R.T. steps for your communications strategy or any other project. Once you complete the questionnaire, the answers will help fine-tune your strategy into attainable goals. You can use it as a tool for the whole team to make sure your goals are realistic, and to form consensus before moving on to the next steps in your strategic communication planning process.

‌ Download the S.M.A.R.T. Goals Template - WORD

Identify Audiences and Influencers

Knowing who influences you and who you influence will clarify the impact of the actions you take and the messages you create. Whether you’re carrying out a full communication strategy for your organization or developing a new campaign, it’s important to identify and understand the full range of stakeholders (internal, external, more remote influencers, or societal) you’ll need to consider. Once you identify your stakeholders, learn how to manage those relationships by reading The Definitive Guide to Stakeholder Management .

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Template

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Template

Track which stakeholders are likely to have the most or least interest and influence in your communications strategy based on your research. This is a useful template for strategizing and creating an effective plan of action for stakeholder management. Visualizing stakeholders in this way makes it easy to understand which audience needs greater focus and which need less monitoring. 

Download Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Template

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Internal and External Stakeholder Communication Plan Template

Internal and External Stakeholder Communication Plan Template

Don’t forget your internal stakeholders. As we saw from Booher’s case study above, it’s critical to engage with internal stakeholders. You need to align employees and other internal agents to your messages and actions, and clarify who acts as important conduits of information to the outside world. This simple communications template clarifies stakeholder interest and power, type and frequency of communication for each stakeholder, and provides a space for  comments.  ‌ ‌ Download Internal and External Stakeholder Communication Plan Template - WORD

Check In with Colleagues

Take some time to learn what your colleagues know and the strengths they can bring to your communications efforts. Then use the RACI model (Responsible Accountable Consulted Informed) to help team members understand their roles and responsibilities to ensure collaboration and project success. This activity is especially important when team sizes are large, when team members are in different geographic areas, or if you need to rely on staff from multiple departments.          Roles and Responsibilities Template for Excel

raci matrix smartsheet template

      Use this template to keep tasks organized by team members, save time or eliminate the need for extended status meetings, and ensure that communication strategy plan goals are tracked and met.

‌  Create the Roles and Responsibilities Template in Smartsheet  

Define Your Key Messages

Now that you’ve identified your key stakeholders and target audiences, you need to determine what you want them to know, think, and do as a result of your communication strategy and tactics? You should be able to refine your message to three key points, and if necessary to adjust those statements slightly for specific target audiences. 

Key Messaging Tips

  • Keep it Concise: Limit key messages to three and keep them brief. A good test is to see if they take 30 seconds or less to read out loud. 
  • Think Strategically: Define, differentiate, and address your benefits/value proposition.
  • Be Relevant: Consider what your audiences need to know as you balance what you must communicate.
  • Compelling: Stimulate action with meaningful information that incites a response.
  • Keep it Simple: Avoid jargon and acronyms, and use easy-to-understand language.
  • Memorable: Avoid run-on sentences, and make the messages easy to remember and repeat.
  • Be Active: Avoid the passive voice. Get your message across briefly, but don’t use tricky advertising style slogans.
  • Be Specific: Tailor communication to different target audiences.

Theme Development

Do some team brainstorming and develop a list of topics for your website, social media, and email marketing strategy. The themes should be relevant to all your target audiences and contribute to your organization’s positioning. 

It’s a good idea to roll out themes weekly to maintain momentum and keep building interest in the next messaging installment, whether it’s email, direct mail, or social media. You also need to consider key dates for your organization like anniversaries, conferences, or seasonal activities, and build messaging around those.

All of this legwork should also inform upcoming campaigns to support product rollouts or other key events. Once you line up your themes and campaigns, you can put them into your planning documents and templates.

Tips for Selecting Strategic Communication Channels and Platforms

A major part of the channel and platform selection process relies on the target audience and stakeholder research. For internal audiences, you’ll be able to simply use text, emails, and internal newsletters for your ‘captive’ audience. When it comes to external audiences and stakeholders, if you’re number one audience is teenagers your channel selection will likely be different than if you’re trying to reach CEOs. You can use purchased data or your own research to determine the media your individual audiences use most. 

Try some testing to get to the most appropriate communication channel mix to promote and encourage the specific behavior or outcome you want. If your budget allows, hire a professional PR, advertising, or media firm to help you determine the most streamlined way to get to the right media mix. If outside resources aren’t in your budget, here are some tips on how to strategically choose your marketing channels and platforms. These ideas apply to both internal and external communications channel planning:

  • Know Your Audience: Do your research on current stakeholder behaviors in multiple channels and determine what media outlets they use and which are most influential.
  • Experiment: Add channels into the mix slowly, to reach specific audiences and check response rates.
  • Automate: Use a tool like Hootsuite to add communications based on your schedule. Add and use different channels more frequently as they become more popular. 
  • Listen: With social channels, it’s important that you continue to "listen" and respond in real-time. It’s the only way to gain and keep mindshare. 
  • Evaluate: Use data and your own metrics to see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your plan accordingly.

Another consideration is to use marketing resource management (MRM) software. It’s software that helps users manage marketing processes so companies can be more agile in planning, management, and execution on marketing programs and campaigns, all while consistently maintaining your brand image across communication and marketing channels. MRMs usually provide planning, budgeting, and tracking capabilities, as well as the means for managing digital brand assets, workflows, and approval processes. You can find extensive coverage on this topic in this Marketing Resource Management article . 

Setting and Measuring Metrics

As mentioned earlier, you need to set clear, measurable goals to ensure that your communication strategy plan is effective -- or to determine if you need to make some changes to reach those goals. That means you need to not only set metrics, but also measure them over time, and at the conclusion of campaigns. 

As you develop your communications strategy plan, build-in quantitative measures not just for a final evaluation, but also at interim dates. That way you can assess if your communications efforts are progressing at the right pace. For example, are you amassing more Twitter followers or requests for more information, and meeting business objectives like total sales. As you write your plan, include:

  • Starting Point Metrics: Identify where you are in your current efforts by the numbers.
  • Midpoint Metrics: Determine how far you’ve progressed to your goal.
  • Final Assessment Metrics: Iterate the ultimate objective for your company, campaign, or crisis plan.
  • Platform Metrics: Set goals for each communications platform. Use web analytics and track your progress to benchmarks.
  • Budget Metrics: Check results against your total budget regularly (weekly is best) to make sure you’re tracking to your allocated spend.

Raffetto is emphatic about the use of metrics in his plans. “Metrics are a must in communications. Anyone can feel that the program is winning or having an impact, and often that is the case, but at the end of the quarter or year all executives and even board members want hard evidence that the investment in PR and communications made an impact on the top strategic objectives of the company,” says Raffetto. “The only way to show that is with credible metrics. We use a heavy dose of quantitative measures – everything from media impact to video views to domain authority to UTM link tag analytics – and then we also look at more qualitative measures such as Are reporters now reaching out to us for a perspective on breaking news? or Does the CEO get invited to speak at key industry events? These are measurable as well and are built into the metrics in the planning phase.”

Social Media Considerations in a Strategic Communication Plan

The power of the social media ecosystem in reaching consumers and other audiences continues to grow, notes Raffetto. “Social media is indeed important, and is extremely powerful when it’s closely integrated with other communications programs like media campaigns or events. For this reason we do not treat it as a separate program, but rather we layer it into all other programs. So for example, if we are doing a speaker program for a top executive, we will build in a social media component to that,” explains Raffetto. “The tactics will include channel selection, content development, audience identification and engagement, and measurement. Measurement is fairly easy now with all of the analytics tools available. It is fun to see a client's social media program and engagement get supercharged by PR wins like a huge media hit or a keynote address.” 

Booher advises, “Far too many people and organizations spray paint on social media. They have no strategy. Therefore, they spend a little time here and a little time there on the various platforms, staying virtually invisible on all of them. Social media experts advise that you formulate a strategy to master one or at most two platforms. Decide where you’ll find your audience and go there. Then master that platform. Use those one or two platforms to drive traffic to your own website — the one place where you actually have control of the traffic and what they see. The tactics on social media are all the magnets you use to put buyers into your funnel on this platform and gradually lead them to your website. Finally, know what you want them to do when they get to your site: Read a blog? Buy a product? Sign up for an ezine? Register for a free webinar? Attend a paid event? The more specific the action you want them to take, the easier to measure your results. Give them a vague action, and you’ll likely have a vague notion of whether you’re succeeding.  

Social Media Audit Template

Social Media Audit Template

‌ Auditing your metrics monthly and comparing them to the previous month and year helps you understand if your objectives are being met and what you may want to change to accomplish goals. Edit this simple spreadsheet to include all of the social channels and metrics you want to track, and update it when you make any shifts in your social media strategy.

‌ Download Social Media Audit Template

Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Social Media Marketing Plan

This social media marketing plan template and calendar makes the complex planning involved in multiple channels easier. You can gather intelligence about how target audiences respond to content and which sites are sending you the most referrals. Use the data you gather to understand which outlets are most effective, and which days and times to post work best.

Download Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Overall Work and Activity Planning

Putting all the work and necessary activities in a calendar with key communications tasks, budget, and resources goes a long way in delivery on strategy. Highlight specific projects, events or publications that you know need to happen in a particular timeframe.

Communications Strategy Planning Calendar Template

Communications Strategy Planning Calendar Template

This detailed calendar template provides a way to track annual plans or in a single month snapshot, and helps you work back from upcoming deadlines. Call out metrics at the top of the template, while there is a space to note marketing effectiveness data at the bottom of the spreadsheet. This comprehensive template offers sections for social media, online content, press releases, email, advertising, and more. Adapt the fields to make them appropriate for your organization to more effectively track your weekly and monthly progress.

‌ Download Communications Strategy Planning Calendar Template

Crisis Communication Planning

There are crisis that come out of the blue and some that you can anticipate based on past history or what you know may be coming up in your organization such as a move, a merger, or layoffs. By creating a plan in advance you can do a lot to prepare so your team is ready to handle a completely unforeseen or foreseeable crisis when it happens with a process that’s already in place. The crisis communication template can make sure you’re in control when the (inevitable) crisis occurs.

Crisis Communication Strategy Template

Crisis Communication Strategy Template

This Crisis Communication Strategy Template will help you identify the crisis communication team, set up responsibilities, identify and train spokespersons, determine the potential crisis, and set up a process and response plan, establish systems, and more. 

Download the Crisis Communication Strategy Template

Putting Your Strategic Communications Plan Together

All of the material reviewed so far can seem overwhelming, but like most things, if you take them one step at a time and enlist the help of the right people and technology, you’ll be successful. How do you put all these different aspects together?

The strategic communications plan provided here is a template that you can use to guide your process. There are steps along the way where you should include some of the downloadable templates in this article to lighten the load, and keep communications transparent to team members and management. It will be a living document, like the templates, that change as you learn and assess the process. 

9-Step Strategic Communications Plan Template for Word  

9 Step Communication Strategy Template

This template sets the stage for your full strategic communications plan in nine sections: 

  • Identify your mission 
  • Write an executive strategy 
  • Set out your situation analysis 
  • Determine stakeholder and target audience 
  • Create key messages 
  • Select tools and tactics
  • Set budget 
  • Develop project plans and schedules 

 Use the template to build your own custom plan.   Download the 9-Step Strategic Communications Plan Template

Excel  | WORD | PDF

Marketing Plan Template for Excel

business plan communication strategy

This marketing plan template holds the component pieces that go into your overall strategic communications plans. It has sections for media relations, online marketing, trade shows and events, sales campaigns, and branding efforts. Overall objectives are identified along with costs, target market, and you can schedule activities by the week. Adjust the template to include whichever elements are essential to your communications strategy.

Communications and Marketing Budget Plan Template

business plan communication strategy

Use this communications and marketing plan template to display itemized categories by type and channel, the estimated costs, subtotals, and grand totals for each item and a space for additional notations. It’s designed to be easy to understand, so everyone from team members to the C-suite can track where money is going. This template can be used for campaigns or for annual plans.

Download Communications and Marketing Budget Plan Template

Additional Communication Strategy Planning Tools & Resources

Find more templates, books, and professional organizations to start or improve your planning process here.

More Helpful Templates You can always make tasks easier for yourself and your team with easy-to-use templates like these:

To Do List & Progress Monitor Template

to do list progress template smartsheet

Get your team on the same page with a consolidated view of responsibilities across multiple projects and priorities with this comprehensive action tool. Use the template to create transparency as it tracks task progress with Harvey ball symbols, and also flags high-priority items.

‌ Create a To Do List & Progress Monitor Template in Smartsheet

Check out more templates in this 15 Free Task List Templates article.

Project Budget Template

Project Budgeting Template

Creating and tracking an accurate budget is the make-or-break factor of managing successful communication plans. Stay on top of budgets with this template, that helps you track labor, material, and fixed costs. You can also monitor the difference between your actual and budgeted amounts for each task.

Download Project Budget Template

Find more useful budget templates for download at Top Excel Budget Templates .

Tactical Marketing Management and Project Team Template for Excel

Tactical Marketing Plan Template

As you implement your marketing strategy, track tactics that you need to complete to keep your plan and team on schedule and assess progress. This template lets you list your project team, monitor who’s responsible for which tasks, dates, expenses, action, and status every step of the way.

Download Tactical Marketing Plan Template

Find more templates to download in this Free Marketing Plan Templates for Excel article .

Risk Assessment Template

Risk Assessment Matrix Template

     Particularly helpful for crisis communication planning, this template gauges and captures essential information your organization needs to assess potential risk. List and categorize each risk, rate its relative likelihood and severity, and chart all the risks in an aggregated view. Risk can be color-coded to denote risk rankings for a prioritized, at-a-glance view to enable readiness.

Download Risk Assessment Matrix Template Below Excel  | Word  | PDF  | Smartsheet

Find more risk assessment templates here: All The Risk Assessment Matrix Templates You Need .

Glossary of Marketing, PR, and Communication Terms

For those who are new to communications strategy and planning, terminology may be hard to understand. Here are some free, easy to use guides to marketing, PR, and communication terms for you to download and refer to as you develop your communications strategy and plans. 

  • Dictionary of Media and Communications by Marcel Danesi: A comprehensive, 349-page reference to terminology that covers every aspect of media and communications terms.
  • IUCN Commission on Education and Communication Glossary edited by Frits Hesselink: A handy international guide to terms used in effective communication. 
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication by Daniel Chandler and Rod Munday for Oxford University Press: Over 2,200 entries on terms used in communications arranged with A to Z tabs for easy access.

Professional Marketing Organizations

Keep up to date with the latest best practices in communications strategy with information from these professional organizations that cater to communications and marketing professionals:

  • American Marketing Association (AMA): The AMA provides thought-leadership, research, webinars, technology, and other resources for marketers and academics. 
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA): The PRSA provides articles, publications, research, and other resources to communications professionals and students in every industry sector. 
  • Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI): The SMEI is a global association that provides online forums, webinars, courses, and certification for sales and marketing professionals.
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC): The IABC is an international network of communication professionals whose goal is to improve organizational effectiveness through strategic communication and provides articles, podcasts, videos, and more to its members. 
  • The Data and Marketing Association (DMA): Formerly known as the Direct Marketing Association, this organization champions deeper consumer engagement and business value through the innovative and responsible use of data-driven marketing. They provide coursework, information about regulatory impacts, and other resources to members.
  • Business Marketing Association (BMA): The BMA is geared to B-to-B marketers. They offer training, career development, online resources, research, and more to its membership.

Strategic Communication Planning Books

Some current, in-depth books that detail every aspect of strategy and strategic communications planning: 

  • Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era , by Antony Young. A guide to planning in today’s more sophisticated media landscape. 
  • Crisis Communications: The Definitive Guide to Managing the Message by Steven Fink.  A complete toolkit to create communications and business success in the face of crisis.
  • Crisis Communication: Practical PR Strategies for Reputation Management and Company Survival , edited by Peter Anthonissen. Proactive crisis communication and proper planning guidance.
  • Simply Communicate: A Business Guide to Strategic Communication by Kristel Keys Running. Steps businesses and managers through the details of communication strategy. After reading the book and following the steps, readers will have a customized and solid organizational communications strategy.
  • Strategy Builder: How to Create and Communicate More Effective Strategies by Stephen Cummings and Duncan Angwin. An interactive, visual guide that uses practical tips and real world examples to build your optimal communication plan. 
  • Strategy-In-Action: Marrying Planning, People and Performance (The Global Leader Series Book 4) by Thomas D. Zweifel. A holistic approach to the design and execution of strategic process for organizational leaders.
  • Strategic Public Relations Management: Planning and Managing Effective Communication Campaigns (Routledge Communication Series) . An evidence-based, applied approach to strategic public relations management -- this is an instructional textbook.

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6-Step Guide to Crafting the Perfect Communication Plan


A communication plan is a key to developing an effective and consistent messaging strategy.

It helps guide the process of setting measurable goals for your strategy, profiling your target audience and creating and successfully delivering your message.

What is a Communication Plan

Components of a Communication Plan

Steps to communication planning, step 1 – perform a situation analysis, swot analysis, pest analysis, perceptual map, step 2 – identify and define objectives / goals, step 3 – understand and profile your key audience, step 4 – decide the media channels and create a strategy, step 5 – create a timetable for publishing, step 6 – monitor and evaluate the results, common mistakes to avoid when creating communications plans, faqs about communication plans, what’s your approach to writing a communication plan, what is a communication plan.

A communication plan outlines how teams can communicate important information to key stakeholders. It highlights what information should be shared, when, to which audience and via which channels.

Having a solid communication plan in place will help ensure that the communication objectives of your organization are met and that all assets that you send out are aligned with the core communications strategy of the company.

In marketing and public relations, communication plans are used to plan how important information about products and services will be communicated to target audiences, including customers, clients, media and the general public. Companies also use communication plans to maintain consistent and effective internal communications within the organization. These may include internal newsletters, intranet updates and team Wikis. In project management, communication plans are used to highlight how information will be communicated within teams and relevant stakeholders, throughout the lifecycle of the project. Overall, communications plans offer a structured approach to plan, implement and evaluate communication efforts to optimize the effectiveness of communications.

Use this communication plan template to develop your strategy and deploy it.

Communications Plan Template

Why is a Communication Plan Essential?

Clear communication is the backbone of any successful initiative. A communication plan ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the risk of confusion, missed deadlines, and unmet expectations. It fosters trust, ensures transparency, and can be the difference between project success and failure.

Who Should Use a Communication Plan?

A communication plan isn’t just for large corporations or project managers. It’s for anyone aiming to streamline interactions, whether you’re a small business owner, a team leader, or an individual looking to improve personal projects. Understanding your audience and tailoring your communication strategy to them is the first step.

When Should You Implement a Communication Plan?

The best time to implement a communication plan is at the onset of a project or initiative. However, it’s never too late. Whether you’re starting a new project, revamping an old one, or looking to improve ongoing communications, a well-structured plan can make a difference.

Where Does a Communication Plan Apply?

While often associated with business projects, communication plans apply everywhere: from community events, educational programs, to personal projects. Any scenario that requires organized communication can benefit.

Your communications plan should include the following key elements.

1. Target Audience

Who is Your Target Audience? All strategic communications should be directed at a specific audience. Accordingly, the message you send out should be tailored to their level of knowledge, understanding and trust in your brand or organization.

What is the Context of Your Message? The next step is to define the context of your message. Identify key events that may be significant to the audience that you are aiming to reach. The context defines what should be included in the message and how your audience will relate and respond to it.

3. Outcomes

What Do You Aim to Achieve with Your Message? The outcome of your message is the ‘call to action’. Define what people need to know, believe and do after receiving the message. Create a ‘message pyramid’ with an attention grabbing headline, followed by ‘reasons why’ and proof points. This helps the audience understand your core message and then consider the proof points which are relevant to their context, and there by act based on your call-to-action.

Which Media Channels Will You Use? Media are the channels through which your message is communicated. These may vary depending on the content, context and audience of the message. For instance, if you want to reach a younger tech-savvy audience, you may choose a social media platform that may be popular among them.

5. Messengers

How Will You Choose Your Messengers? The primary messenger may not always be the most ‘effective’ messenger. The messenger’s ethos should resonate credibility, status and power, expertise and relationship.

Why do most companies get their CEOs or members of the senior management to conduct new product launches or convey important product information? It is because audiences tend to have confidence in people with big titles who have an influence in the organization. They are also experts in their subject area and have a strong relationship with the company.

6. Measurement

How Will You Measure Success? It is important to cultivate strategies to measure the effectiveness of your communications. Include KPIs for your communication activities and document the results. This also helps build a repository of information which will be useful when planning future communications activities.

Whether you are creating a marketing communication plan or a strategic communication plan, the following steps will help guide you.

Situation analysis helps assess the capabilities of and health of things in an organization. It’s the ideal way to understand the current status of your organization’s communication.

You can gather as much information as needed from conducting an audit .

To gather relevant information from situation analysis, you can consult departmental heads, process owners and other internal staff members.

In a situation analysis, you need to examine both the internal and external environments. To do so, you can use the following tools

You can use a SWOT analysis to examine the strengths and weaknesses within your organization, and opportunities and threats that you can find in your external environment.

SWOT Analysis for Situation Analysis

With a PEST analysis , you can examine political, environmental, social and technological factors, all of which exist in the external environment of your organization, but can have a significant impact on the way things run in your business.

PEST Analysis for Situation Analysis

One good competitor analysis technique is the perceptual map. It helps you make sense of how your customers perceive the brands of your competitors in the market compared to yours.

Perceptual Map for Situation Analysis

Once you know where you stand, you can find your direction. The next step is to define your goals.

Think of what outcomes/results you want to achieve from your communication plan. These will become your goal/s as you develop your communication plan.

Make sure that the goals you select are SMART :

SMART Goals Analysis

Who are you creating this communication plan for? Understanding your audience and their requirements, characteristics etc. is key to creating an effective message and delivering it successfully.

Your key audience could be within your organization or your customers. Either way, you should gather information on them and create simple audience personas.

These personas could include a variety of data that ranges from their age and gender to the challenges they face.

Audience Profile for Communications Plan

As you conduct research on your target audience you would get to know that their requirements and preferences are diverse.

It’s clear that you won’t be able to reach all of them through one media channel or retain their attention with one type of content.

Consider the most effective channels you can think of when creating your media channel strategy. Make sure to select the ideal channel when you are targeting different audience segments.

Media Channel Strategy for Communication Plan

When do you want your audience to hear your message and how often? Have a content calendar or create a Gantt chart outlining a timeframe for your publishing strategy.

Gantt Chart for Communication Plan

You may also need to take the resources available to you into consideration. If you have one content writer, publishing quality blog posts on a daily basis would be ineffective.

Constantly monitor and track your results in order to understand whether you are any closer to achieving your goals. If you have failed, proceed to mark it down so you can make necessary improvements next time.

Creating a communication plan for your non profit organization? Check out this resource for some great tips.

Overcomplicating the Plan

Trying to include too many channels or too much information may complicate the plan. This can lead to confusion and dilute the effectiveness of your messaging. Stick only to key messaging and channels that are most effective in reaching and engaging the target audience.

Not Considering the Timing

Timing is crucial in communication planning. It is important to consider the timing of the messaging and ensure that they are aligned with key events or milestones. Don’t send out important communications during periods of high volume or noise, such as during holidays or major news events.

Not Adapting to Changes

Communication plans should be adaptable and flexible to changes in environment or audience. It is important to regularly review and update plans to keep up with emerging trends (to make sure that your plan stays relevant and effective). Failing to adapt to changes may cause missed opportunities and ineffective messaging.

How often should a communications plan be updated?

A communications plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in the organization’s goals, priorities, audiences, or external environment. The frequency of updates will depend on the pace of change in the organization and the industry. A good rule of thumb is to review the communications plan annually and update it as needed. However, if there are major changes in the organization, such as a merger, acquisition, or crisis, the communications plan should be updated immediately to ensure that communication is timely, accurate, and effective.

How can an organization measure the effectiveness of its communications plan?

An organization can measure the effectiveness of its communications plan by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to its communication goals and objectives. These KPIs may include website traffic, social media engagement, email open rates, media coverage, customer satisfaction surveys, or sales figures. By tracking these KPIs over time, the organization can assess whether its communication activities are achieving the desired results and make adjustments as needed. It’s important to set realistic goals and benchmarks for each KPI and to ensure that the data is collected consistently and accurately. Additionally, feedback from stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and investors, can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the organization’s communication activities.

A successful communication plan will get your message delivered across to your audience effectively while ensuring that you are on track to accomplishing your business objectives.

Follow the simple steps above to create a winning communication plan. If you have any other tips, do share them with us in the comment section below.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

More Related Articles

What is an Action Plan? Learn with Templates and Examples

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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  • Why a clear communication plan is more ...

Why a clear communication plan is more important than you think

Julia Martins contributor headshot

More often than not, clear communication can make or break successful projects. Clear communication in project management isn’t just about where you should be communicating—it’s also about which team members should be receiving which types of messages.

The good news is, creating an effective communication plan isn’t difficult. All you need to do is define your communication channels and align on when team members should use each. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up a communication plan and show you a template so you can create your own.

What is a communication plan?

Sharing a communication plan can give your team clarity about which tools to use when and who to contact with each of those tools. Without a communication plan, you might have one team member trying to ask questions about work in a tool that another team member rarely checks. Rather than being able to clearly communicate and move forward with work, each team member would end up frustrated, confused, and disconnected from the work that matters. Then, if they don’t have clear insight into who is responsible for each channel, they might end up reaching out to an executive stakeholder with questions that person can’t answer. What started out as a simple miscommunication has spiraled into three frustrated team members—and all the while, work isn’t moving forward.

What should a communication plan include?

Your communication plan is your one-stop-shop for your project communication strategy. Team members should be able to use the communication plan to answer project questions like:

What communication channels are we using? What is each channel used for?

When should we communicate in person vs. asynchronously?

What are the project roles? Who is the project manager ? Who is on the project team? Who are the project stakeholders ?

How are important project details, like project status updates, going to be communicated? How frequently will these be shared?

What shouldn’t be included in a communication plan?

A communication plan will help you clarify how you’re going to communicate with your project team and project stakeholders—whether these are internal team members that work at your company, or external stakeholders like customers or contractors.

A communication plan in project management is not a PR plan. This plan will not help you align on your social media strategy, identify a target audience, or establish key messages for different demographics. If you need to build out those plans, consider creating a  social media content calendar  or a  business strategy plan .

The benefits of a communication plan

Obviously  clear communication in the workplace  is a good thing. But do you really need a written communication plan to do that?

In a word: yes. A good communication plan can help you communicate the right information to the right project stakeholders. Executive stakeholders don’t need to be notified about every project detail—similarly, every project team member might not need to be on a conference call with your external partners. By clarifying where and how you’ll be communicating, you can reduce the guessing game and unblock your team.

Less app switching

We recently interviewed  over 13,000 global knowledge workers  and found that the average knowledge worker switches between 10 apps up to 25 times per day. Instead of focusing on high-impact work or even collaborating effectively with their team members, knowledge workers are sinking hours into simply trying to figure out where they should be communicating.

A communication plan can eliminate this guessing game. For example, if your team knows that you only communicate about work in a  work management tool , they can search for key information there—instead of digging through document folders, Slack messages, and multiple email chains. Similarly, when you know that a team member is only tangentially working on the project—and is only being looped in during high-level status reports—you won’t bother them with a question about when the next  project deliverable  is due.

quotation mark

We have created communication guidelines around what software or what tools are best for what. Asana is for action, Slack is for quick responses or answers to things that are floating around. Email is more official and mostly external facing. By doing that, and creating the proper communications guidance, it really helps reduce the noise.”

Increased collaboration

Team collaboration isn’t an effortless process that happens by itself—it’s a skill that you and your team have to build. One part of creating effective  team collaboration  is clarifying your team’s communication conventions. That’s because a big barrier to effective collaboration is feeling comfortable communicating—especially if you work on a  remote or distributed team . If your team feels unsure because they’re still trying to figure out how or where to communicate, they won’t be fully comfortable talking to one another.

Your communication plan is a chance to clarify where team members should be communicating. Depending on the level of detail, you can also include when team members should be communicating—and clarify team conventions towards setting “Do not disturb” mode or snoozing notifications.

By providing these guidelines, you’re effectively removing one of the biggest barriers to easy communication and collaboration between team members. When team members know where to communicate—and just as importantly, where not to communicate—they can be confident they’re sending the right message at the right time.

Less duplicative work

Currently, knowledge workers spend  60% of their time on work about work  like searching for documents, chasing approvals, switching between apps, following up on the status of work, and generally doing things that take time away from impactful work. Part of this work about work is not knowing where things should be communicated.

If team members don’t have a clear sense of where information is shared—things like your  project plan  or  project timeline —then they’ll have to dig through multiple tools or ask several team members just to find the right information. As a result, team members who are unclear about where they should be communicating about work also have a harder time simply finding existing work.

Work about work leads to more manual, duplicative work and less clarity overall. In fact, according to the  Anatomy of Work Index , we spend 13% of our time—236 hours per year—on work that’s already been completed. By sharing your communication plan, you can give your team clarity into exactly where work lives, so they don’t have to spend all that time finding it themselves.

How to write a communication plan

A communication plan is a powerful tool—but it’s also relatively easy to create. You can create a communication plan in four steps.

1. Establish your communication methods

The first step to creating a communication plan is to decide where your team will communicate—and about what. This includes when to use which tools and when to communicate live vs. asynchronously. Live, synchronous communication is communication that happens in real time. Conversely, asynchronous communication is when you send a message without expecting someone to reply right away. We all use asynchronous communication every day without realizing it—most notably, every time we send an email.

As you define your communication plan, identify what to use each tool for. For example, you might decide to use:

Email to communicate with any external stakeholders.

Slack for synchronous communication about day-to-day updates and quick questions.

Asana to communicate asynchronously about work, like task details, project status updates , or key project documents.

Zoom or Google Meet for any team meetings, like project brainstorms or your project post mortem.

2. Align on communication cadence

Now that you know where you’ll be communicating, you also have to identify how frequently you’ll be communicating. Your communication cadence is your action plan for updating different stakeholders about different project details.

For example, you might decide to schedule:

Weekly project status updates posted in Asana to all project stakeholders and sponsors.

Monthly project team meetings to unblock any work or brainstorm next steps.

Asynchronous project milestone updates in Asana as needed.

3. Add a plan for stakeholder management

Running a successful project often depends on getting stakeholder support and buy-in. At the beginning of the project, you’ll do this during the  project kickoff meeting —but it’s also critical to maintain stakeholder support throughout your project.

Take some time as you’re drafting your communication plan to detail when to communicate with each project stakeholder, and about what. Some people, like your key project team members, will be communicating about this project regularly—maybe even daily. Other project stakeholders may only need to be looped in during project status updates or maybe just at the final readout.

By listing out how you’ll be managing communication with stakeholders, you can ensure they’re being contacted at the right time about the right things. The communication they recieve should answer questions at their level of detail and with a focus on business results and overall, high-level impact.

4. Share your communication plan and update it as needed

Once you’ve created your communication plan, it’s time to share it with your project team. Make sure your communication plan is accessible in your central source of truth for all project information. We recommend using  Asana  to track all project communication and work, so you can talk about work where you’re working.

If any changes impact your project communication plan, make sure you update it and communicate those changes. That way, team members always have access to the most up to date information.

Example communication plan

[inline illustration] Communication plan for brand campaign in Asana (example)

Communication plan template

Description of communication.

What type of communication is it?

How often will you be communicating?

Which tool will you be using? Is this synchronous or asynchronous communication?

Who is receiving this communication?

Who is in charge of sending out this communication?

Good communication starts with a communication plan

Clear communication can help you send the right message at the right time. Empower effortless collaboration while also ensuring every team member is being looped in at the right times. That way, your team can spend less time communicating about work and more time on high-impact work.

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Blog / Guest / How to Develop a Strong Business Communication Strategy

How to Develop a Strong Business Communication Strategy

  • By Stacey Wonder
  • September 30, 2021
  • 7 minute read
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Business communication is a vital part of any company’s plans for the future. A clear strategy can put you in complete control of your message and ensure that your business is always putting its best foot forward. However, this is not as easy as it sounds as you have to remember that communications go beyond just social media. But how can you do this well and keep your communication on track?  

Here are 6 steps to develop a strong business communication strategy: 

Create a suitable mission statement

Look at your target audience(s), use the right language, consider the goals to work towards, look at the key events and months in the year, review your progress and make changes if needed.

How to develop a strong business communication strategy .001

Your business mission statement is where you concisely explain what the company is all about and what it provides. It should clearly explain the reason the business exists in a single sentence that anyone can quickly understand.

Having a strong mission statement will allow everyone that works in the company to have the same goals, as this phrase lets them see what is most important to the business and why they do the things that they do. In terms of communication, it is the foundation for your strategy, as it lets everyone see the image that you want to present to the world.

If you don’t yet have a mission statement, then this is the perfect time to choose one. Take a look at the phrases used by the world’s biggest companies to inspire you for your own, as they have usually spent a lot of time and money crafting and honing a message that gets their ideas across effectively.

According to Shopify , Ikea, Amazon, and Tesla are among the brands that have the most powerful mission statements. In the best cases, this phrase can become synonymous with the company even when it really applies to the entire industry, helping them to stand out as a market leader.

When your company has an existing mission statement, this is a good moment to consider whether it is still relevant or needs to be updated. If it is still suitable, you should be able to fit it into your communication strategy fairly easily. Otherwise, this could be a sign that it is time to create a new phrase that is right for the new approach you have in mind.     

Always consider your target audience in your communication strategy. For a start, you may need to look at both internal and external communication methods. Then there is the issue of the different people you deal with, such as customers, suppliers and do so on.

Each type of audience may require a unique approach, which should be included in your overall strategy. You might need to create a separate section for each one, or at least make it clear that there are a variety of audiences.

They may each need to be approached using a different method of communication or with a different tone of voice. This is something that it can be easy for team members to overlook if it isn’t clearly stated, especially if they speak to a lot of people each day.

Ideally, you will quickly identify the various types of audience that you have in order to communicate effectively to them. This may require you to consider whether you need to add in new categories such as VIP or a loyalty status that staff can see at a glance.     

The language that you use in your communication strategy will set the tone for the way your team communicates with people, making it vital that you get this aspect right. This is what lets them see what kind of personality the business has, and it will greatly influence how they view you.

Are you going for a strictly professional tone, or does your industry give you leeway to introduce a friendlier or more playful approach? If in doubt, take a look at what your closest competitors do. They might have one type of language for social media and another on their corporate site, for example.

Having a good grasp of the right type of business English is a key first step here, as that gives you the basis for getting the message right, avoiding any errors, and leading a business phone conversation . 

If you are going to communicate in other languages, a strategy for this needs to be in place too. Rather than simply translating your content word for word from English, you will want to fully localize it so that it makes sense and is attractive for people in the country you are targeting.

There are different types of goals that your communication strategy could work towards. These include:

  • Establishing the brand at the front of the market
  • Attracting new customers
  • Taking advantage of new marketing tools 

Try to use figures to create tangible, trackable goals. Some examples include:

  • Number of people searching for you on Google
  • Number of new customers that sign up
  • Ratings in your customer satisfaction surveys

That’s not to say that every aspect of your communication can be quantified so easily. There are also plenty of intangible goals such as improving your online reputation.  

Certain industries need to start each year with certain dates in mind. Whether it is a huge conference where you can speak directly to consumers or a busy period when you need to ramp up your social media efforts, you need to have this built into your strategy.

What this means is that you need to look at the upcoming calendar for each year and decide which dates or months need to be specifically mentioned in your communication year. If it is a recurring event, such as a summer holiday sale or Christmas, you could mention it in general terms. However, if it is something that changes each year then you may need to update the guide annually.

This focus on certain times of year doesn’t take away from the need to have a solid communication strategy at all other times. It simply means that you recognize the occasions when something extra is needed.

Once you are happy with your strategy, it is time to put it into action and then review your progress. By looking at what you wanted to achieve and what the results have been, it should be fairly easy to see whether the communication strategy has been effective.

Could it have been done better? The answer is that it almost certainly could have been. Most of the biggest and most successful companies regularly refine their communication strategy and make it a better fit for the current market while taking into account new technology and techniques.

By carrying out these steps well, you will have a solid business communication strategy in place. This is one of the most important components of your future success, so it is well worth taking the time to consider all of your options and to get it right.

Business communication strategy FAQs

What is a business communication strategy .

A business communication strategy is a plan for conveying your message about a brand, product, or service to a specific audience. Establishing a strategy can help any business tailor its communications to reach maximum effectiveness and add value.

Why do I need a business communication strategy?

A business communication strategy will enable you to be more informed about your company’s reputation, respond swiftly and effectively to comments, reviews, or press, and plan ahead.

How can I develop a strong business communication strategy? 

Here are 6 steps to develop a strong business communication strategy: create a suitable mission statement, look at your target audience(s), use the right language, consider the goals to work towards, look at the key events and months in the year, and review your progress and make changes if needed.

Tags: Business Reputation Marketing , Business Reputation Repair , Reputation Marketing .

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10 communication plan templates—and how to write your own

business plan communication strategy

There's a warning on the box my steam iron came in that says, "Do not iron clothes while wearing them."

This gave me pause for a few minutes, but it got me thinking about the kind of lawsuit that prompted lawyers to include an otherwise obvious warning on the box and the kind of crisis communication plan that came to exist in the aftermath.

Add that to the "pudding will get hot when heated" warning and the trademark "shower cap fits only one head" disclaimer, and you've got yourself an era in which communication plans are not only a helpful organizational tool but a very necessary one.

Successfully running a company requires clear communication across the board: with employees, customers, investors, and any other stakeholders. Any gap in communication can lead to difficulties that range from minor project blips to absolute disaster. And while they're necessary for crisis management, communication plans have plenty of other uses beyond ensuring your consumer doesn't give themselves third-degree burns.

Table of contents:

Communication plan templates 

How to write a communication plan

Communication plan essentials, what is a communication plan.

A communication plan is your blueprint for delivering key information to appropriate stakeholders. It outlines the information that needs to be communicated, who it's meant for, the channel it's delivered through, and the folks in charge of it to ensure clear, consistent, and purposeful communication.

This document can look different depending on what it's used for. Here are some examples to give you an idea:

If I were creating a crisis communication plan for the unlikely event that someone irons their shirt while wearing it, I'd consider all the steps we'd have to take to avoid scrutiny and legal issues, like seeking medical attention, designating a spokesperson to represent our company, or press release strategies to address the issue. (I'd also consider whether the box should come with a logical analysis puzzle the user needs to solve before they can open it, but that's just me trying to fix the world one steam iron at a time.)

A marketing communication plan plays a different role. It's designed to outline responsibilities and initiatives within the grand scope of the marketing strategy to keep teams aligned and informed. One initiative I'd underline twice for our steam iron product would be to produce marketing imagery that clearly demonstrates how to iron a shirt—i.e., on an ironing board, not a body.

A product launch communication plan helps keep everyone on the same page regarding brand messaging, intended effects, and progress throughout the launch. Let's take Apple as an example. They're known for their meticulously planned and executed product launches. Their communication strategy involves creating anticipation through teaser campaigns, leveraging secrecy to build excitement, and hosting live events to unveil new products.

Bottom line: communication plans run the gamut. When it comes to format, some plans may be in a table format, outlining talking points and deadlines. Others may contain more of a narrative, meant to inform and update the reader on how a situation is being handled.

You can use a communication plan for both external and internal communication. An employee communication plan, for example, is only meant for your team's eyes. On the other hand, public relations communication plans can be used internally and can also be shared with relevant third parties for outreach and marketing purposes.

Communication plan templates

A communication plan is that one bookmark every employee clicks at the beginning of their day until they associate its main page with the smell of coffee.

Knowing what it is and why it matters is one thing, but understanding the different ways you can use a communication plan is another. Since there are so many different types of plans, I've put together a few templates to highlight the differences. Pick your (well-labeled) poison.

1. Marketing communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's marketing communication plan template showing the person or team in charge of the project, tasks, timeline, communication channels, audience, and notes in a dark orange bar the top for each target audience on the left side

This communication plan outlines your marketing initiatives for each audience. It tracks relevant information, including the person or team in charge of the project, tasks, timeline, communication channels, audience, and notes.

It also organizes this information based on each aspect of your marketing strategy, whether it's targeting existing clients, potential leads, investors, events, or any PR third parties. 

2. Crisis communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's crisis communication plan template with places to fill in information about the crisis management team and a summary of the predefined crisis communication strategy

No organization is immune to unexpected and challenging situations that can potentially harm its reputation and operations. This communication plan outlines a systematic approach to addressing crises, including key team members, their responsibilities, communication channels, and the predefined strategy.

It should include clear guidelines for rapid response, methods for updating stakeholders, and ways to mitigate potential damage to the organization's image. The plan should always outline the key crisis management team, their roles and responsibilities, procedures for identifying the crisis, and how to work with media outlets and external entities.

3. Internal communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's internal communication plan template with places to fill in a summary of the plan, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan is designed to ensure employees receive timely and relevant information, have clear visibility of organizational goals, and stay informed about key developments within the organization.

It includes details on communication channels, such as newsletters, meetings, and virtual seminars. Typically, it outlines how the leadership team communicates with employees, how frequently they can expect updates, and methods for gathering feedback to enhance internal communication across the board.

4. Social media communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's social media communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

A social media communication plan guides a company's strategy in utilizing social media platforms for its communication goals. It's important for building a strong online presence, engaging with your target audience, and managing your company's reputation in the digital world.

This plan includes an overview of your social media content strategy , detailing the type of content you intend to share, how often you should publish posts, and the voice of the message. 

To make the most of your social media communication plan, define the target audience on each platform, outline KPIs for measuring success, and establish helpful guidelines that can tie into your crisis communication plan and leverage social media in case of an emergency.

5. Change management communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's change management communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

If your company goes through grand-scale change such as mergers, rebranding, restructuring, or process optimization , a change management plan is crucial for ensuring your team is informed, engaged, and supportive of the changes. 

The team's going to need an explanation and a plan of action now that Janice is walking down the office toward the door marked "manager" with a big smile on her face.

Its goal is to facilitate a smooth transition and should always include clear messaging regarding the reasons for the change, the anticipated benefits, and how this could affect employees. It outlines the timeline for the change, strategies for addressing concerns, available communication channels, and any feedback regarding the process.

6. Non-profit communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's nonprofit communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

Non-profits operate differently from other organizations, and their communication plans reflect that. The document effectively conveys the non-profit's cause, engages stakeholders, and develops support. 

Since it's designed to build awareness, foster donor relationships, and maintain a level of transparency about the organization's impact, a non-profit communication plan should include well-crafted messaging that aligns with the org's values, outlines the strategy for reaching and mobilizing donors, and plans how to make the most of communication channels such as social media, newsletters, and events.

For a unique touch that sets your non-profit communication plan apart, emphasize storytelling to humanize your cause and connect with your audience on an emotional level. For example, you might include an initiative that triggers an automatic email when a donor registers or makes a contribution—something that reflects their impact on the cause.

7. Product launch communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's product launch communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and product details

Developing a new product is a stressful and tedious process on its own. Introducing it to the world can be its own hassle, but a good communication plan can help simplify the process by creating anticipation, generating excitement, and breaking down the approach for a successful product launch.

Your plan should include key features and details about the product, the target audience, and market positioning . To nurture and engage that anticipation, you should also include a timeline for communication activities and strategies that cover the channels you intend to use, like social media, email marketing, and press releases.

To take it a step further, include messaging that addresses potential challenges and opens up the opportunity to receive feedback and gauge your customers' response to the launch.

8. Public relations communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's PR communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan is ideal for organizations that want to manage their brand reputation and build relationships with the public. Your brand image is an important aspect of business that can affect operations on every level, and nurturing it requires strategic communication, especially with media and public inquiries. You want the public eye to see you in your nice, freshly-ironed shirt.

A public relations communication plan includes key messaging, a media relations strategy, and a calendar of planned PR initiatives, as well as goals, target audiences, and metrics for monitoring the success of your PR efforts.

9. Employee communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's employee communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and internal communication objectives

Any organization with a team bigger than six people can face major communication challenges, to say nothing of companies that employ staff in the hundreds and thousands. Company news, updates, policies, and initiatives that employees need to be aware of can be difficult to disseminate properly.

Sure, you can take your chances on a company-wide email, but it'll likely end up buried unopened somewhere in everyone's inbox, and you'll be standing there with the corporate equivalent of eating mango-scented shampoo.

An employee communication plan helps foster organizational transparency and workplace alignment within your team. It'll contribute to your company culture and enhance your employees' sense of belonging and connection to company goals.

This plan includes channels for internal communication as well as a content strategy that touches on employees' needs and concerns. While an internal communication plan focuses on the company's business goals, an employee communication plan addresses the company's internal development initiatives. 

10. Event communication plan

Screenshot of Zapier's event communication plan template with places to fill in information about the plan summary, key contacts, and communication objectives

This communication plan guides your organization's efforts surrounding an event, ensuring effective promotion, coordination, and engagement. It's useful for managing the flow of information before, during, and after an event.

The plan includes key messaging, the timeline for the event's communication activities, strategies for putting channels like social media and email marketing to use, and how to properly approach inquiries and feedback from event attendees.

Each type of communication plan contains a different set of elements, but the process of putting a communication plan together, regardless of its purpose, remains the same. 

1. Set communication goals

I hate sounding like every therapist ever, but communication goals are very important. If your roommate doesn't understand that your scream of pain from the other room means you might have accidentally ironed a shirt while wearing it, help isn't coming, and your room will smell like barbeque. 

Your goals can range from increasing brand awareness and engagement to notifying stakeholders about a new product launch or managing an emergency. Setting these goals beforehand lays the foundation for the entire plan and defines communication channels, messaging strategies, and evaluation metrics. Focus on setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) business objectives .

If I were ironing a shirt, I'd outline my goal for a smooth, freshly-ironed shirt free of wrinkles, and I'd prepare for that by neatly placing the shirt, being conscious of those pesky corners, and keeping it nice and aligned before getting started. In the same vein, If I were writing a communication plan that focuses on brand awareness, I'd outline goals for social media campaigns and content marketing strategies. I'd aim to increase user engagement on each social media platform by a certain percentage, increasing visibility, ad clicks, and interaction with my brand.  

Clear communication goals give your organization a sense of direction and allow your team to accurately measure success, making adjustments based on tangible results.

2. Identify the audience

Each audience you're trying to reach through your communication plan will have its own unique expectations and concerns. The plan and the message within need to align with the audience's values and interests.

If you're writing for investors, the plan needs to outline your communication goals for them specifically, touching on relevant topics and important points. It would also designate how the information will be conveyed, by whom, and how to move forward if any variables were to shift. 

Conduct thorough market research , and collect relevant insight into your target audience's demographics, behaviors, and preferences. What data are you sharing with your investors? What kind of information would be both relevant and important to share with them? How can you best phrase that communication so it has a positive impact?

Who's telling the board that a customer ironed their shirt while wearing it?

A good practice is to segment your audience and create detailed personas to ensure your message is not only read but understood and embraced.

3. Outline key messages

The key information you're distributing through your communication plan is a delicate balance between the organization's goals and resonance with the audience. 

For example, a product launch communication plan doesn't really need your 25-year company trajectory outlined and explained. The key information here would pertain to the product itself, the process for the launch, steps to take, tasks to perform, and the timeline for the entire project.

Make your messages clear, concise, and compelling to leave a lasting impression. 

4. Choose communication channels

Outline which communication channels are best suited to execute your plan. For example, an employee communication plan should utilize private internal channels like meetings, internal platforms, or emails. Product launch communication plans should leverage external channels as well, like websites, social media, newsletters, and press releases.

Choose communication channels that fit the plan and can be integrated for a cohesive communication strategy that aligns with both your company's goals and the audience's preferences. Ask yourself: 

Who's meant to read this? 

How can I reach them? 

Is this private internal communication or is it meant for public distribution? 

Which channel would have the best visibility for my audience? 

5. Create a timeline

For the plan to be effective on any level, you need to outline its execution in a detailed timeline that sets the start and end dates of each initiative or item on the document.

Details such as specific dates for key events, launches, and regular updates anchor the plan and facilitate a proactive approach. The timeline is your audience's visual roadmap, and it is handy for allocating resources when you're executing your communication plan. 

6. Allocate resources

Putting the plan into action will require resources like budgets and staffing needs. Even time is a resource that needs to be considered. For example, your budget should account for advertising costs, materials, technology investments, and communication channels.

Allocating resources as soon as the timeline is clear ensures the communication plan runs smoothly and delivers the intended message across all initiatives. 

7. Designate responsibilities

If you run into an unexpected crisis situation while at the helm of an organization, even the most detailed communication plan won't make a difference if no one knows what they're supposed to be doing.

Designate responsibilities and outline who owns which task so that when the plan goes into action, your team can just refer to the document to know who's taking care of each task, who to reach out to, and what their part in the operation is.

This is important even in non-crisis situations. Let's say you're launching a new tech product. Your plan should designate your marketing director as responsible for presenting the new product concept and strategy to the company's executive board. It should also designate your marketing coordinators as responsible for any workshops or seminars for external partners like retailers and distributors. 

8. Create contingency plans

Always prepare for the unlikely. Create contingency plans to deal with challenges that might come up when you're executing your plan. What should the team do in the case of negative public reactions or technical difficulties? Who's taking charge of directing efforts in each aspect? How do you address potential issues should they arise? How do you pivot or proceed if you don't achieve your goals?

Be prepared for gaps in the execution, and outline proactive responses to bring the plan back on track.

9. Set metrics for evaluation

Measurement and evaluation are key for the development of your communication plan. You want to track and gauge how well the efforts outlined in your plan are performing.

You can monitor public perception and sales volume before and after implementing your crisis communication plan, or you can monitor KPIs like audience engagement, reach, and conversion rates when your new marketing plan goes into effect. In the case of internal and employee communication plans, you can monitor the change in processes and how it affects your team's efficiency and comfort levels. 

Leverage your communication channels to identify these metrics and areas for improvement, so you can keep adjusting your plan as you go.

10. Perform testing and gather feedback

While testing and gathering feedback are encouraged throughout the process, this relates more to testing your communication plan before you launch it.

For example, you can test how effective your communication plan is and how well it would be received through focus groups, pilot programs, or even internal experimentation.

Once you have feedback from your target audience, you'll be better positioned to refine your messaging and its presentation, and address pitfalls before you execute the plan.

You don't want your communication plan to be just another document in your arsenal of organizational tools. The goal is to make it a piece of your strategy that actively contributes to better communication and company-wide transparency. In order to write an effective communication plan, here are some essential points to consider:

Establish messaging and branding guidelines: Stick to your organization's tone, style, and visual uniqueness to keep your brand identity alive in all communications.

Monitor and adjust: Keep an eye on the plan's performance. Make efforts to adapt based on emerging trends, feedback, and unforeseen challenges.

Report and review: Set KPIs and review them to gauge the effectiveness of the communication plan and better prepare for future strategies.

Document your plan: Keep your plan detailed and well documented , so all team members are on the same page regarding your strategy.

Consistency and long-term planning: Maintain and encourage consistency in your messaging and plan for the long term. Align initiatives with your long-term communication goals.

You can launch exceptional initiatives with a communication plan template and set a unique process that's invaluable for your company's strategy in marketing, PR, change management, and crisis situations. The right plan can make your operations smoother, a bit like a steam iron would your shirt if you're conscious enough to not turn yourself into an ironing board.

Most importantly, it defines how your organization communicates—both internally and externally. It sets the pace and tone for future initiatives. As you become more accustomed to how they work, you'll be able to customize and create your own document templates for other aspects of your business. As you establish the foundation for business communication, you'll be able to automate every part of your project management flow and communicate those goals seamlessly. Find out how Zapier can help you streamline project management . 

Related reading:

The 6-step client onboarding checklist (with template)

7 meeting minutes templates for more productive meetings

One-pager examples and how to create your own

An exhaustive guide to customer acquisition strategy (with 13 examples)

20 free proposal templates to ace your pitch

How to create a sales plan (and 3 templates that do it for you)

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Hachem Ramki

Hachem is a writer and digital marketer from Montreal. After graduating with a degree in English, Hachem spent seven years traveling around the world before moving to Canada. When he's not writing, he enjoys Basketball, Dungeons and Dragons, and playing music for friends and family.

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Blog Beginner Guides How to Create an Effective Business Communication Strategy

How to Create an Effective Business Communication Strategy

Written by: Ann Smarty May 05, 2022

Business Communication

[Updated 02/21/2023]

Are you struggling with creating an effective business communication strategy within or outside your company?

Or would you like to improve the way information is shared within your organization?

You are not alone.

The overwhelming majority ( 92% ) of people feel the communication within their company needs to be improved. Additionally, the new report from 2022 claims that following the pandemic, over a third of people admit that communication has become more of a challenge.

Business communication is something most companies are continuously struggling with.

So here’s how to set up an effective business communication strategy for your organization:

What is business communication?

The importance of business communication, what are types of business communication, internal business communication, external business communication, how to improve business communication.

Business communication is a broad concept that describes all methods employees are using to share information with one another inside or outside of a company.

Business communication is crucial on many levels. Effective communication in business helps keep your employees motivated and driven to be able to efficiently cope with any kind of crisis.

Amidst the COVID pandemic, companies have found a well-defined business communication flow to be crucial for promptly adjusting strategic direction and implementing tactical decisions.

As year-long lockdowns have proved, improving internal communication and collaboration should become companies’ priority as it helps expedite decision-making and cope with crises.

Related :  10+ Crisis Communication Plan Templates for Leaders + Managers

Technology-driven company communication has also become the only way to cope with isolation after lots of organizations have switched to remote operating. According to a recent survey from McKinsey & Company, companies have been encouraging their employees to communicate more to make up for in-person encounters.

On a large scale, lack of communication within a business causes silos.

What are silos in organizations?

Organizational silos refer to the isolation of one or more teams within a company. This means that instead of working as a whole, this company consists of multiple almost independent (and often efficient) departments.

But if those departments may be efficient, why is silos a problem?

Silos create confusion and make it harder to ensure everyone is on the same page. The average team in the United States wastes about 7 hours per week due to organizational silos caused by poor collaboration and communication.

Return to Table of Contents

On the highest level, there are two types of communication in the workplace:

  • Internal (among the employees)
  • External (with customers, partners, niche influencers, other companies, etc.)

Both of these types are equally important for the well-being of a company and can also be further categorized into subtypes:

  • Written communication (often via email, but also via IM, Slack and even Trello)

Visual communication

  • In-person communication (also referred to as face-to-face communication)
  • Virtual communication (through video chats)

Meetings (in-group communication)

Phone communication.

Related :  17 Communication Tools for Seamless Collaboration and Better Marketing

There’s a lot to discuss here, so let’s take a look at each of these business communication types:

Written communication

Written communication is my favorite form of business communication, whether it is with the client or a co-worker.

  • Written communication is productive (you have to type words, so you are forced to make all of them count)
  • It is easy to keep a record of (most business email clients and providers offer a handy search feature allowing you to bring up old messages)

Apart from email, written communication can be powered by:

  • Private blogs ( here’s how to set them up )
  • Trello (all of the three methods above are perfect for well-organized communication and keeping everyone on the same page)
  • Instant messaging (which is great for quick and urgent exchange)
  • Employee Communication Tool

Written communication can cause delays but it is great for removing barriers and giving voice to the shiest employees.

Visual communication refers to the process of applying visual methods (infographics, charts, etc.) to communicate your message.

The beauty of visual business communication is the ability to make complicated concepts and processes easy to understand and remember.

Adding data visualizations to a financial report, for example, makes it a lot easier to scan and understand the information:

Business Communication


Some common types of visual communications in the workplace include:

  • Process diagrams
  • Flow charts
  • Charts and graphs
  • Visual reports
  • Presentations

Here’s an example of how mind maps can be used for internal business communication. Mind maps are perfect for collaboration: You can build them while brainstorming in a group meeting or during the call. They provide a visual representation of a task, steps or the flow:

Communication Mind Map


In-person / face-to-face communication

In-person and face-to-face communication is almost a thing of the past now that most meetings have become virtual. This is actually a sad trend, considering how psychological studies  show that face-to-face communication is more satisfying and fosters higher-quality interaction.

That being said, when it is safe, business executives should strive to revive face-to-face communication on a regular basis.

Virtual communication

Virtual communication became a preferred business communication method in 2020 when lots of big and small organizations moved to remote working (or introduced virtual operations for some departments).

Meeting virtually has replaced face-to-face meetings for lots of businesses across the world. Tools like Zoom and alternatives became widely popular. When our company moved to remote working, we started using Dialpad Meetings for two reasons:

  • There’s nothing to download and install
  • You can register rooms for the whole company to use when they need them. No need to generate a new code every time you want people to join. You just enter your team’s URL and you are done.

How do you improve your virtual business communication? You can read our blog on the 10 tips for effective remote team communication , or save the infographic below:

Business Communication

Virtual meetings have proved to be better for productivity and less costly, while face-to-face meetings are better for developing friendships and deeper knowledge sharing.

With that in mind, when we finally get back to normal, both virtual and face-to-face communication is important for a company’s well-being.

When it comes to internal company meetings, the problem is lots of the times businesses hold meetings just for the sake of having it without considering how ineffective that can be:

Business meetings

Yes, internal meetings are important for maintaining a friendly environment and getting to know one another. But they can also be extremely time-consuming and unproductive.

That being said, a monthly meeting is always great but replace your weekly and daily meetings with virtual communication, if possible.

While being a helpful way to reach anyone quickly, phone communication can easily ruin a company’s productivity. It is too easy to call someone to ask a quick question and 30 minutes later find yourself discussing your weekend plans with your co-worker.

Phone communication is also not something easily avoidable as mobile phones have made phone calls and text messages an integral part of our lives.

It is important to create strict guidelines to minimize phone calls within a company and encourage employees to use other methods of communication, when possible.

When it comes to written business communication outside of a company, it can take two major forms:

  • Private (email, chat, etc.)
  • Public ( verified social media )

Here’s the golden rule for written communications for just about any company: Your goal is to move public communication into a private environment, especially when it comes to customers.

You never know when your customer may feel annoyed or threatened and go viral with their anger. To keep your reputation more secure, invite your customers to email or call and you should also consider reading books on email marketing .

Your marketing strategy should reflect your written communication policy on many levels, including ad creation , email outreach , PR, SEO and content creation , etc. If you outsource any parts of your marketing, ask questions and make sure your agency knows where you are coming from.

Enhance your customer communication experience by setting up automated reminder messages with tools like Goldie .

business plan communication strategy

Luckily, email is still a preferred method of customer service communication with over 80% of customers choosing an email over any other methods to get in touch with a company. Use an all-in-one communication tool such as any of these Intercom alternatives to reach your customers on their preferred channels.

Visual business communication is widely used in the B2B sales process because visuals are able to illustrate the selling point like no other medium can.

If you’ve ever sat through a sales call or a demo, you may have seen lots of powerful visual communication assets that made you think “I need this!”

This mind map lists the tips for effective B2B communication and negotiation, but you can easily customize it to use for your external visual communication needs:

B2B Communication Mind Map Template

Related :  9 Sales Infographics to Guide Strategy and Increase Sales

Obviously, visual communication is applied on a broader scope than just B2B sales .

Here’s an example of an infographic you can send to your clients to explain a process:

Business Communication


Even posting videos and images on social media may be considered a form of external business communication. This includes communicating through video content, which according to statistics , has been growing exponentially recently.

With visual communication being such an important part of your company’s public image, it is important to maintain a consistent look and feel of your visual assets.

It starts with a domain. Your name needs to match your niche, create positive associations and make it easy to remember your brand. It should also be consistent with your other channels (social media channels, your blog, etc.) and align with your logo. Namify is a handy tool to handle of these aspects:

namify brand

From there you need to keep your visual marketing consistent.

This is where Venngage’s  My Brand Kit  can turn into a lifesaver. It allows you to create, save and share your visual identity within your company for all the teams to create well-branded and consistently looking visual brand assets (like videos, social media graphics, blog images, etc.):


When it comes to external business communication, in-person communication often happens when your company representatives visit conferences, industry shows and summits.

It is very important to develop a clear external communication policy for your employees to know what they can and cannot do when representing your company in in-person meetings. Here’s a solid example from Marvell .

Technology has made companies closer to their customers. These days any brand can directly talk to their customers via social media, and even interact with them using video or voice.

External virtual communication include:

  • Live video (which can also help you establish a stronger brand presence on social media)
  • Clubhouse, in which brands or their representatives can talk to clients or niche influencers
  • Webinars , which can be used to educate and engage your audience

Like with any public business communication, it is important to ensure that your representatives are aware of and follow your external communication policy.

Group meetings are not a very popular type of external business communication unless it’s for market research purposes (a focus group, for example).

Phone communication is an essential form of customer support but it is also very time-consuming. More and more companies are seeking ways to minimize phone communication with customers, especially through call center outsourcing . To make your customer service more productive, consider:

  • Making other external communication methods (email, chat , push notifications , etc.) more obvious on your site
  • Using solutions like UCaaS and Call Centers that make phone communication easier to organize
  • Get a Voip number so they can receive calls on their computer

Phone communication is also widely used in B2B when businesses provide voice coaching or consulting. In these business models, businesses are paid based on how many phone conversations they were able to sell.

There are a few strategic and long-term ways to improve just about any business communication strategy, including:

Build a detailed knowledge base

A knowledge base is a well-organized collection of documentation addressing all kinds of issues, questions and resources that can help in both internal and external communication easier.

The knowledge base can help on many levels, including:

  • Make new employees’ lives easier by eliminating the need to ask their new managers lots of questions
  • Enable customer support team to quickly refer customers to further reading or instructions on any topic
  • Eliminate the need of turning to outside resources, and keep everyone within and outside the company on the same page

An effective knowledge base software organizes all kinds of resources from detailed tutorials on how to perform a task to a concise FAQ covering popular questions.

Business Communication

Creating a knowledge base is an ongoing project, as more and more questions will come up as you start working on it.

A good place to start is to look at niche questions that will turn helpful in organizing your knowledge base. Text Optimizer is a quick and easy way to do that:

Text Optimizer

Create a business dashboard

Another effective way to keep your whole company updated on the key metrics is using a business dashboard. A dashboard aims at aggregating and organizing several data points which are regularly updated. These data points may include:

  • Traffic and conversions
  • ROI goals and predictions
  • Web analytics and ecommerce metrics
  • Customer reviews and online sentiment
  • Key marketing achievements
  • Ad tracking , etc.

Being able to see recent stats and metrics will help each employee part of a whole and give context for transparent business communication.

Cyfe is a good way to put a business dashboard together.


You can also create a custom and self-hosted business dashboard for your company using these dashboard templates .

Create consistent communication policies

I’ve mentioned creating an external communication policy above but it is so important, it deserves a separate section.

Create one single document detailing what people representing your brand can or cannot say in public. This will make your company’s external communication strategy more predictable and safer.

These guidelines should also include your brand’s ambassadors, affiliates, and contributors. Your communication policies should also include how to recruit software developers or PR professionals , your communication needs to remain consistent.

It is a good idea to set up a business assessment survey to regularly check if the whole company is on the same page.

Lots of companies are reluctant to make organizational changes because they are worried that those changes may reduce productivity.

In fact, “the less we talk, the better we work” concept is not completely wrong.

The problem occurs when no team or single person knows what is going on with the company.

To create an effective business communication flow, try several methods before you know which ones work better. Encourage your employees to share knowledge and data with team members as well as to use different communication methods.

Creating a business communication strategy is an ongoing process. Things that seemed to work first may stop working quite quickly. Keep using different methods while working on long-term assets to make communication easier. Good luck!

People also read :

  • 10 Tips for Effective Communication With a Remote Team [Templates]
  • 10+ Crisis Communication Plan Templates for Leaders + Managers
  • 10+ Resources to Manage Nonprofit Communications in a Crisis [Templates]
  • 17 Communication Tools for Seamless Collaboration and Better Marketing

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Communication Strategy Framework And Why It Matters In Business

A communication strategy framework clarifies how businesses should communicate with their employees, investors, customers, and suppliers. Some of the key elements of an effective communication strategy move around purpose, background, objectives, target audience, messaging, and approach.

Table of Contents

Understanding a communication strategy framework

Fundamentally, an investment in a communication strategy framework (CSF) is an investment in success.

This is because success is dependent upon the individuals within a business and how well they communicate with internal and external stakeholders.

To encourage communication conducive to success, strategies formulated for a CSF must facilitate behavioral change.

For example, a business must communicate to its customers that it understands (and can subsequently meet) their needs. Suppliers want a business arrangement that is mutually beneficial.

A business must also satisfy investors with confident communication regarding future profitability.

Importantly, the CSF is a written plan in the form of a company vision . It clarifies what successful communication looks like and inspires stakeholders to work toward ambitious goals and objectives.

Key components of a communication strategy framework

While developing a CSF is more of an art than a science, there are several key components which should not be overlooked:

  • Purpose – a brief statement regarding the communication strategy and how it will be implemented.
  • Background – or a description of the initiative and the ideal outcome to be achieved.
  • Objective(s) – all company communications should be in alignment with company objectives. Note that communication is not an end in itself – it should always guide broader objectives that reinforce a core vision or goals.
  • Target audience – who is the strategy created for? Remember to create a strategy for each target audience.
  • Messaging – to create a robust communication strategy , it’s crucial to understand what the target audience wants to hear and how they want to hear it. Communication should rely on storytelling that incorporates an interesting narrative, compelling imagery, or human interest. Research is crucial in understanding each audience and then crafting a story that is concise and relatable.
  • Approach – how will the strategy be implemented? A business communicating a product recall may place television and newspaper advertisements. A business looking to increase investor confidence and transparency may conduct an external audit of internal operations.

Benefits of developing a communication strategy framework

For businesses undecided about developing a CSF, they should know that there are numerous benefits to doing so:

  • Stronger relationships – customers who enjoy a strong relationship with a business tend to become loyal, repeat buyers. A stronger relationship with suppliers means they are more likely to accommodate a specific business’s needs. Businesses who invest in shareholder relationships get easier and continued access to investment capital.
  • The ability to overcome obstacles – successful communication strategies have the potential to overcome obstacles that hinder growth . For example, a business that communicates well with governmental agencies may no longer be subject to red tape or excessive industry regulation.
  • Increased awareness – businesses that take the time to engage in constructive communication with stakeholders naturally learn more about their specific needs, attitudes, and interests. With this newfound information, they can fine-tune their strategies to maximize effectiveness.

Key takeaways

  • A communication strategy framework is a foundation for all internal and external messaging throughout a business.
  • A communication strategy framework seeks to align company values, goals, and objectives with behaviors that contribute to long term success.
  • Businesses that create communication strategy frameworks enjoy stronger, deeper, and longer-lasting stakeholder relationships. Some can also overcome traditional obstacles to growth such as government or industry regulation.

Key Highlights

  • A communication strategy framework (CSF) outlines how businesses should communicate with various stakeholders.
  • Success in business relies on effective communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Investing in a CSF is an investment in success, as it facilitates effective communication that drives behavioral change.
  • CSF guides stakeholders towards ambitious goals and objectives through a written plan resembling a company vision .
  • Purpose : A concise statement on the communication strategy ’s implementation.
  • Background : Describes the initiative and the desired outcome.
  • Objective(s) : Aligns all communication with company objectives, reinforcing the core vision or goals.
  • Target Audience : Identifies who the strategy is for and may involve separate strategies for different audiences.
  • Messaging : Focuses on understanding the audience’s preferences and crafting concise, relatable storytelling.
  • Approach : Describes the implementation methods, such as advertising or audits.
  • Stronger Relationships : Improved relationships with customers, suppliers, and shareholders lead to loyalty and better access to capital.
  • Overcoming Obstacles : Effective communication can help overcome growth -hindering obstacles like government regulations.
  • Increased Awareness : Constructive communication helps businesses learn more about stakeholders’ needs, enhancing strategy effectiveness.
  • A communication strategy framework guides all internal and external messaging in a business.
  • It aligns values, goals, and objectives with behaviors that contribute to long-term success.
  • Businesses benefit from stronger relationships, overcoming obstacles, and increased awareness when they create communication strategy frameworks.

Applied Communication Strategies

Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model , Linear Model Of Communication .

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How To Write a Business Plan for Communication Strategy in 9 Steps: Checklist

By henry sheykin, resources on communication strategy.

  • Financial Model
  • Business Plan
  • Value Proposition
  • One-Page Business Plan
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Business Model
  • Marketing Plan

Welcome to our blog post on how to write a business plan for communication strategy in 9 simple steps! As the demand for effective communication strategies continues to grow in the US, it's crucial for businesses to have a well-thought-out plan in place. According to recent statistics, the communication strategy industry is experiencing steady growth, with an expected CAGR of 6.5% from 2021 to 2026. Now, let's dive into the essential steps for crafting a successful communication strategy business plan.

Define Your Target Audience

One of the first and most crucial steps in developing a communication strategy for your business is to define your target audience. Clearly defining your target audience will help you understand who your communication efforts should be focused on and enable you to tailor your messaging and tactics accordingly.

Here are some important points to consider when defining your target audience:

  • Demographics: Consider factors such as age, gender, location, income level, and education. Understanding the demographic characteristics of your target audience can help you create messaging that resonates with them.
  • Psychographics: Look beyond the basic demographics and try to understand the motivations, values, interests, and lifestyle choices of your target audience. This will help you craft messaging and positioning that connects with them on a deeper level.
  • Needs and pain points: Identify the specific needs, challenges, and pain points that your target audience faces. This will allow you to develop solutions that address these issues and position your business as a valuable resource.
  • Buying behavior: Understand how your target audience makes purchasing decisions. Are they price-sensitive, value-driven, or brand loyal? Knowing their buying behavior will help you create persuasive messaging and determine the most effective communication channels.
  • Consider conducting surveys or interviews with your existing customers to gather insights about their demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior.
  • Create buyer personas to represent different segments of your target audience. This will help you visualize and empathize with their needs and preferences.
  • Regularly reassess and refine your target audience as your business evolves and market dynamics change.

By clearly defining your target audience, you will be able to develop a communication strategy that effectively reaches and engages the right people, ultimately driving the success of your business.

Conduct Market Research

Market research plays a crucial role in developing a successful communication strategy for your business. It provides valuable insights into your target audience, industry trends, and competitors, enabling you to make informed decisions and create effective communication campaigns. Here are some important steps to conduct market research:

  • Identify your target audience: Understand who your target audience is, their demographics, interests, and needs. This information will help you tailor your communication strategy to effectively reach and engage your audience.
  • Analyze industry trends: Stay updated with the latest trends and developments in your industry. This will help you identify any emerging opportunities or threats that may impact your communication strategy.
  • Study your competitors: Research and analyze your competitors' communication strategies. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, and use this knowledge to differentiate your business and develop a unique value proposition.
  • Explore market demand: Determine the demand for your products or services in the market. This will help you understand the size of your potential customer base and assess the market's receptiveness to your communication efforts.
  • Evaluate customer feedback: Collect and analyze feedback from your existing customers. This feedback will provide valuable insights into their preferences, satisfaction levels, and areas for improvement.

Tips for conducting market research:

  • Use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather a comprehensive understanding of your market.
  • Utilize online surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media listening to gather customer insights.
  • Consider outsourcing market research to specialized agencies or consultants for unbiased analysis and expertise.
  • Regularly revisit and update your market research to stay abreast of evolving trends and changes in customer preferences.

By conducting thorough market research, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and understanding to develop a communication strategy that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from your competitors.

Identify Your Communication Goals And Objectives

When developing a communication strategy for your business, it is crucial to identify and define your goals and objectives. This step will guide the direction and focus of your communication efforts, ensuring that they align with your overall business objectives.

1. Clearly define your overall business goals: Begin by determining the broader goals of your business. These could include increasing brand awareness, improving customer engagement, driving sales, or launching a new product or service. By understanding your larger objectives, you can then develop communication goals that support and contribute to these.

2. Define communication goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART): In order to create effective communication goals, they should meet the SMART criteria. This means that they should be specific, clearly outlining what you want to achieve; measurable, so you can track your progress and determine success; attainable, ensuring that they are realistic and achievable; relevant, aligning with your business objectives; and time-bound, with a clear deadline for completion.

3. Consider the different aspects of communication: Communication goals can span various areas, such as internal communication, external communication, PR and media relations, or digital marketing. Determine which aspects are most important for your business and prioritize them accordingly.

4. Align your goals with your target audience: Your communication goals should be designed to reach and engage your target audience effectively. Consider their needs, preferences, and demographics when defining your objectives. This will ensure that your communication efforts are tailored to resonate with your audience and achieve the desired outcomes.

Tips for identifying communication goals and objectives:

  • Involve stakeholders from different departments to gain diverse perspectives and insights.
  • Perform a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Consider conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups with your target audience to gather valuable insights.
  • Set realistic and achievable goals to maintain motivation and momentum in your communication strategy.
  • Regularly reassess and adjust your goals as needed, taking into account feedback and market changes.

Analyze Competitors And Industry Trends

One of the key factors in developing a successful communication strategy is understanding your competitors and staying up-to-date with industry trends. By analyzing your competitors, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses, and find opportunities to differentiate your business. Similarly, keeping track of industry trends helps you stay ahead of the curve and ensures that your communication strategy remains relevant.

Here are some important steps to include in your analysis:

  • Identify your main competitors: Make a list of your top competitors in the market. Look for businesses that offer similar products or services, target the same audience, or operate in the same industry.
  • Research their communication strategies: Investigate how your competitors are communicating with their target audience. This includes analyzing their website, social media presence, email newsletters, advertising campaigns, and any other channels they use to engage with customers.
  • Evaluate their messaging and positioning: Understand how your competitors position themselves in the market. Assess their unique selling points, value propositions, and overall messaging. This will help you identify areas where you can differentiate your business and stand out.
  • Analyze their strengths and weaknesses: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This can include their brand reputation, customer service, product quality, pricing, or any other factors that give them an advantage or pose a challenge to your business.
  • Stay updated:
  • Monitor industry publications, news websites, and social media platforms to stay informed about the latest trends, innovations, and changes in customer preferences.
  • Utilize competitor analysis tools:
  • Consider using competitor analysis tools, such as SWOT analysis frameworks or online platforms that provide insights into competitor strategies and market trends.
  • Seek customer feedback:
  • Engage with your target audience and gather feedback to understand their perception of your competitors and their communication strategies. This can help you identify opportunities for improvement.

By thoroughly analyzing your competitors and staying updated on industry trends, you can develop an effective communication strategy that sets you apart from the competition and resonates with your target audience.

Develop A Clear Value Proposition

In order to effectively communicate your business's unique value to potential clients, it's essential to develop a clear value proposition. A value proposition is a concise statement that describes the benefits your business offers and why customers should choose you over your competitors.

  • Identify your unique selling points: Start by identifying what sets your business apart from the competition. What unique combination of skills, expertise, or products do you offer that others don't? Understanding your unique selling points will help you craft a value proposition that highlights your distinguishing features.
  • Understand your target audience: To develop a compelling value proposition, you need to understand the needs and desires of your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What problems or challenges do they face? How can your business provide a solution or fulfill their needs? Tailor your value proposition to address these pain points and showcase how your business can help.
  • Focus on benefits, not just features: While it's important to highlight the key features of your product or service, emphasizing the benefits that customers will experience is even more crucial. How will your business make their lives easier, better, or more enjoyable? Clearly communicate the value and positive outcomes that customers can expect when choosing your business.

Tips for developing a strong value proposition:

  • Keep it concise: A value proposition should be short and to the point, capturing the essence of your business in just a few sentences. Avoid excessive jargon or technical language, and strive for clarity and simplicity.
  • Test it with your target audience: Once you have drafted your value proposition, seek feedback from your target audience. Is it compelling? Does it resonate with them? Use their input to refine and improve your messaging.
  • Be customer-focused: Make sure your value proposition is customer-centric rather than solely focusing on your business. Emphasize how your business can solve the customer's problems or fulfill their desires.

A well-crafted value proposition will not only help you attract and engage customers, but also differentiate your business from competitors. It should be consistently incorporated into your overall communication strategy to ensure a clear and compelling message reaches your target audience.

Determine Your Messaging And Positioning Strategy

When it comes to effective communication in business, having a strong messaging and positioning strategy is crucial. This step involves defining the key messages you want to convey to your target audience and determining how you want your brand to be perceived in the market.

Your messaging should be clear, concise, and consistent . It should communicate the unique value proposition of your business and differentiate you from your competitors. Consider what sets your business apart and how you can effectively communicate that to your audience.

To determine your messaging strategy, it is important to understand your audience's pain points, needs, and desires . By aligning your messaging with their concerns, you can position your business as the solution to their problems.

When developing your positioning strategy, consider the competitive landscape . Identify your competitors and analyze their messaging and branding. This will help you determine how you can position your business in a way that stands out and appeals to your target market.

Tips for determining your messaging and positioning strategy:

  • Clearly define your target audience: Understanding who you are communicating with is essential for crafting effective messaging and positioning.
  • Highlight your unique value proposition: What makes your business special or different from your competitors? Emphasize this in your messaging.
  • Use language that resonates with your audience: Tailor your messaging to address your audience's pain points and aspirations.
  • Stay consistent across all communication channels: Ensure that your messaging and positioning are consistent across your website, social media platforms, and other marketing materials.

By determining your messaging and positioning strategy, you can effectively communicate the right messages to the right audience and establish a strong brand presence in the market.

Create A Budget And Allocate Resources

Creating a budget and allocating resources is a crucial step in developing your communication strategy. It ensures that you have the necessary funds and tools to execute your plan effectively. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Evaluate your financial resources: Start by assessing your current financial situation. Determine how much you are willing and able to allocate for your communication strategy. This will help you establish a realistic budget.
  • Prioritize your spending: Identify the key areas where you need to allocate resources. Consider allocating a larger portion of your budget to activities that have a direct impact on achieving your communication goals.
  • Consider outsourcing: Depending on your budget and expertise, you may need to consider outsourcing certain tasks or hiring additional staff. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing versus doing everything in-house, keeping in mind the quality and expertise needed for each task.
  • Research costs: Take the time to research and gather information on the costs associated with different communication channels and tactics. This includes everything from design and production costs to advertising and media placement.
  • Plan for contingencies: It's essential to have a contingency plan in case unforeseen expenses arise or if you need to adjust your strategy in the middle of your campaign. Allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected costs and changes in direction.

Tips for creating a budget and allocating resources:

  • Regularly track and review your budget to ensure you are staying within your allocated amounts.
  • Consider leveraging cost-effective digital communication channels such as social media or email marketing.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate or partner with other organizations to share resources and reduce costs.
  • Allocate resources not only to the execution of your communication strategy but also to monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness.
  • Be flexible and willing to adjust your budget as needed based on the results and outcomes of your communication efforts.

By creating a well-defined budget and strategically allocating resources, you can ensure that your communication strategy is implemented effectively and efficiently, maximizing your chances of success.

Outline Your Communication Channels And Tactics

Once you have defined your target audience, conducted market research, and identified your communication goals and objectives, it is time to outline your communication channels and tactics. This step is crucial in ensuring that your message reaches the right audience through the most effective channels, resulting in a successful communication strategy.

To start, consider the various channels available to you to deliver your messages. Some common communication channels include:

  • Social Media: Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be highly effective in reaching your target audience and engaging with them.
  • Email Marketing: Creating email newsletters or campaigns allows you to directly communicate with your audience and provide them with valuable information on a regular basis.
  • Website and Blog: Maintaining a professional and informative website, as well as publishing regular blog posts, can establish your credibility and attract potential customers.
  • Public Relations: Utilizing press releases, media relations, and other PR tactics can help you garner media coverage and enhance your brand reputation.
  • Advertising: Paid advertising through platforms such as Google Ads or social media ads can help you reach a wider audience and increase brand visibility.

Once you have identified the communication channels that are most suitable for your business, it is important to outline the tactics you will use within each channel to effectively deliver your message. For example, if you choose social media as one of your channels, you may consider tactics such as creating engaging posts, running targeted advertisements, and engaging with your audience through comments and direct messages. Each channel may require different tactics to achieve the desired results.

  • Consider the preferences and habits of your target audience when selecting communication channels. For example, if your target audience consists mainly of professionals in a specific industry, platforms like LinkedIn may be more effective than platforms like Instagram.
  • Don't spread yourself too thin by using too many communication channels. Focus on the ones that align with your target audience and business objectives.
  • Regularly evaluate the performance of your communication channels and make adjustments as needed. Not all channels may deliver the desired results, so it's important to be flexible and adaptable.

By outlining your communication channels and tactics, you are setting a clear roadmap for how you will deliver your messages to your target audience and achieve your communication goals. This step ensures that your efforts are focused and strategic, maximizing the impact of your communication strategy.

Set Measurable Metrics And Key Performance Indicators

Setting measurable metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for evaluating the success of your communication strategy. These metrics and KPIs allow you to assess the effectiveness of your efforts and make data-driven decisions to improve your business's communication performance.

1. Determine your objectives: Before setting metrics and KPIs, clearly define your communication goals and objectives. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or boost conversions? Each objective requires different metrics to measure success.

2. Choose relevant metrics: Select metrics that align with your objectives and provide meaningful insights. For example, if your goal is to increase social media engagement, metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and click-through rates can help you evaluate your performance.

3. Set SMART goals: Ensure your metrics are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). This framework helps you set realistic goals that can be tracked effectively.

  • Consider using tools like Google Analytics or social media analytics platforms to track and measure your chosen metrics.
  • Regularly monitor your metrics and KPIs to identify trends and make necessary adjustments to your communication strategy.
  • Compare your performance against industry benchmarks to gain insights into your relative performance and identify areas for improvement.

4. Establish benchmark data: Before implementing your communication strategy, establish baseline data for each metric. This allows you to track progress and measure the impact of your efforts accurately. Benchmark data also helps in evaluating the effectiveness of future initiatives.

5. Continually review and refine: Regularly review your metrics and KPIs to assess the performance of your communication strategy. Identify areas of strength and weakness, and use the insights gained to refine your tactics and improve results.

6. Communicate results: Share the results of your metrics and KPIs with relevant stakeholders, such as clients or internal teams. This fosters transparency, keeps everyone informed, and allows for informed decision-making.

In conclusion, setting measurable metrics and KPIs is a critical step in creating an effective communication strategy. By aligning your metrics with your objectives, regularly monitoring performance, and making data-driven adjustments, you can enhance your communication efforts and achieve your business goals.

Developing a successful communication strategy is essential for any business looking to effectively engage with its target audience and achieve its goals. By following these nine steps and utilizing a project-based approach, businesses can create a comprehensive plan that encompasses market research, competitor analysis, messaging strategy, and budget allocation. This approach allows for adaptability and customization, ensuring that businesses are equipped to navigate changing trends and meet the unique needs of their clients.

In conclusion, a well-crafted communication strategy can serve as a powerful tool for businesses to build brand awareness, drive engagement, and generate meaningful results. By investing time and effort into developing a robust plan, businesses can effectively convey their value proposition, connect with their target audience, and ultimately achieve their communication goals.

  • Define your target audience.
  • Conduct market research.
  • Identify your communication goals and objectives.
  • Analyze competitors and industry trends.
  • Develop a clear value proposition.
  • Determine your messaging and positioning strategy.
  • Create a budget and allocate resources.
  • Outline your communication channels and tactics.
  • Set measurable metrics and key performance indicators.

By following this checklist, businesses can ensure that their communication strategy is well-structured, targeted, and measurable. With a strong foundation in place, businesses can effectively communicate their message, establish a competitive edge, and ultimately drive success in the ever-evolving landscape of communication.

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The Strategy Story

Communication Strategies: Explained with Types & Examples

business plan communication strategy

A communication strategy is a plan that outlines how an organization or individual will communicate with its target audience. It includes a set of goals and objectives, key messages, communication channels, tactics, and metrics to measure the success of the communication efforts.

A communication strategy is designed to help an organization achieve its communication goals, whether to inform, educate, persuade, or engage its target audience. It can be used for various purposes, such as promoting a new product or service, building brand awareness, managing a crisis, or influencing public opinion.

Effective communication strategies are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience and take into account the broader social, cultural, and political context in which they operate. They also rely on various communication channels, such as social media, email, traditional media, events, and advertising, to reach the intended audience.

How to design a communication strategy

Designing a communication strategy involves several steps that should be followed to ensure the strategy is effective and meets the organization’s objectives. Here are the general steps you can follow:

  • Define your objectives: Start by defining the objectives of your communication strategy. Determine what you want to achieve with the communication strategy. Objectives can include increasing brand awareness, customer engagement, or sales.
  • Identify your target audience: Identify the audience you want to reach with your communication strategy. Consider their demographics, interests, behaviors, and communication preferences.
  • Develop key messages: Develop key messages that will resonate with your target audience. These messages should be clear, concise, and memorable.
  • Determine communication channels: Determine the communication channels you will use to reach your target audience. These include social media, email marketing, website content, print materials, and other channels.
  • Create a content plan: Develop a content plan outlining the content types you will create for each communication channel. Consider the format, tone, and style of each piece of content.
  • Establish a timeline: Develop a timeline for the execution of your communication strategy. This timeline should include key milestones and deadlines.
  • Evaluate and adjust: Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication strategy regularly and adjust as needed. Consider feedback from your target audience and analyze the impact of your communication efforts on your objectives.

Barnlund’s transactional model of communication with Example

Remember, an effective communication strategy is tailored to the needs and preferences of your target audience. Following these steps, you can develop a communication strategy that effectively communicates your message and achieves your objectives.

By the way, to communicate our strategy effectively within the team, we all need a robust collaboration platform. Miro is the leading visual collaboration platform. Build anything together on Miro. It’s free and as easy to use as a whiteboard , but endlessly more powerful. Do use the Miro platform for strong communication within your team.

Examples of communication strategy

Here are some examples of communication strategies:

  • Clear and concise messaging: A communication strategy should focus on creating messages that are easy to understand and convey the intended meaning. This means using simple language, avoiding jargon, and being direct.
  • Targeted communication: A communication strategy should consider the audience and tailor the messages accordingly. For example, if the target audience is teenagers, the communication strategy should use language and visuals that appeal to that age group.
  • Multi-channel communication: A communication strategy should consider multiple channels to reach the audience. This could include social media, email, phone calls, in-person meetings, etc.
  • Consistent branding: A communication strategy should use consistent branding across all channels to create a cohesive and recognizable brand identity. This could include using the same logo, colors, and messaging across all communication channels.
  • Listening and responding: A communication strategy should include a process for listening to feedback and responding to questions or concerns. This could involve monitoring social media channels or creating a customer service team to respond to inquiries.
  • Measuring success: A communication strategy should include measuring the messaging and channels’ success. This could consist of tracking social media engagement rates, customer satisfaction scores, or sales figures.

Internal Communication Strategy & Plan| Examples| Best practices

Types of communication strategies

Several types of communication strategies can be used depending on the specific situation and purpose of communication. Here are some types:

  • Verbal communication includes face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and video conferencing. Verbal communication is an effective way to convey complex ideas and emotions and establish a personal connection.
  • Written Communication: This includes emails, letters, reports, memos, and other written forms of communication. Written communication allows for precise and detailed communication and can serve as a permanent record of the communication.
  • Nonverbal Communication: This includes body language, facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. Nonverbal communication can convey emotions, attitudes, and intentions without using words.
  • Visual Communication: This includes graphs, charts, diagrams, photographs, videos, and other visual aids. Visual communication can simplify complex ideas and data and make communication more engaging.
  • Persuasive Communication: This is used to influence others to take a specific action or adopt a particular viewpoint. Persuasive communication can be achieved through various techniques such as storytelling, emotional appeals, and logical arguments.
  • Crisis Communication: This is used to address and manage communication during a crisis, such as a natural disaster, product recall, or data breach. Crisis communication requires timely and accurate information, empathy, and transparency.
  • Interpersonal Communication: This refers to communication between individuals and is often used in social or professional contexts. Interpersonal communication can include active listening, feedback, and negotiation skills.

Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy  

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business analyst

How to create a business analysis communication plan

Lucid Content

Reading time: about 6 min

Business analysts help companies improve their processes, systems, and operations by analyzing current practices, defining business needs, and proposing solutions. In other words, business analysts (BAs) are in the business of change. 

Once BAs define the problems and the solutions, they help initiate changes through careful communication and planning across the organization. Because business analysis covers the entire organization, BAs must facilitate cross-functional communications that effectively speak to the needs for change and the path forward so stakeholders at every level support the initiative.  

That’s where a strong communication plan comes in.

BAs must be skilled communicators, enabled by a robust communication strategy and plan. Without buy-in from employees and leaders throughout the company, change initiatives will fall flat. 

Below we’ll cover what a business analysis communication plan is, why it’s important, and best practices for developing a BA communication strategy.

Why is it important to have a communication plan?

A formal communication strategy helps business analysts communicate change requirements, project initiatives, and business needs clearly and consistently. This is an important part of the communication strategy because business analysts must be able to communicate clearly across the organization throughout the iterative change management process. 

As projects and requirements evolve and different stakeholders engage in the process (or are impacted by the initiatives), communication acts as the glue that holds everything together and keeps everyone on the same page.

A communication plan provides a roadmap to guide messaging decisions and ensure that information is relayed in the right way to the right people. 

In short, a strong communication plan:

  • Keeps things organized
  • Drives efficiency through a set process
  • Ensures the communications reach the right audience

What is a business analysis communication plan?

Requirements communication is an important part of a BA’s responsibilities. Ongoing, iterative communication helps BAs convey key business requirements, findings, and recommendations throughout the business analysis process. 

Business analysis and requirements communication involve numerous activities including:

  • Managing conflicts
  • Determining the requirements format
  • Creating a requirements package
  • Presenting the analysis and requirements
  • Reviewing requirements
  • Obtaining requirements signoff

To successfully communicate through each of these tasks, BAs need a clear communication plan. 

A business analysis communication plan is a framework that helps BAs document: 

  • What information needs to be shared.
  • Who needs to receive the information.
  • When information should be delivered.
  • How information will be shared (platform and setting).
  • Required stakeholder actions (sign off, review, give feedback).
  • Next steps after stakeholder actions.

A communication plan should outline the purpose of the communication, how those goals will be achieved, the audience, the timeline for delivery, and how results will be measured.

Use visuals to outline your communication plans and keep track of key messaging strategies. Visuals like a communication plan chart or communication matrix can help you get started.

communication matrix

Visualizing your communication plan will keep your framework organized into key categories such as stakeholders, deliverables, task or project owners, priority, and delivery method. Take advantage of visualization solutions that are easily shareable and collaborative to disseminate information efficiently and keep everyone on the same page. 

Best practices for developing communication plans

Creating and implementing a robust communication plan takes work. But the payoff is worth it. Use the following tips and best practices to nail your business communication every step of the way.

1. Determine your communication goals

What is your purpose for the communication? For instance, are you managing conflict, creating a requirements package, or seeking sign-off from stakeholders? Each objective will affect how you communicate with your audience and the tools and strategies you use. 

For example, if you are managing conflict surrounding business requirements and stakeholder expectations, you might have to get everyone in a room together to have a meeting to bridge the gap. Or, you may need to prepare a presentation with additional supporting research to back up your initial requirements analysis. 

2. Consider your audience 

How you communicate information will also depend on who your audience is. Consider what communication format and messaging is most effective for each individual or group you’re communicating with. 

For example, your audience may be most receptive to a formal presentation with follow-up emails. Meet your audience where they are while ensuring all requirements are fully documented throughout the process for reference.

Communication methods could include:

  • Status reports
  • Meeting summaries
  • Presentations
  • Video conferencing
  • Chat or email
  • Shared collaboration tools like interactive visuals

3. Pay attention to frequency

Communication can make or break your company’s engagement. While what you say is important, how often you communicate can play an equally important role in building trust and keeping everyone on the same page throughout the change management process. 

Don’t leave people to guess what is going on in the business or how it might impact them. Bring people into the conversation so you are always working from the most up-to-date information and ensuring no one is left in the dark. 

Paying attention to the frequency and cadence of your communications will improve engagement and buy-in from your stakeholders across the organization.  

4. Use visuals to deliver your communication

Communication must be consistent and clear. Avoid text-heavy, complex plans in favor of easy-to-digest roadmaps. While many BAs outline their plans in spreadsheets or text documents, visuals can help you organize and present your messaging plans and information simply and effectively through every business analysis stage.

The following templates can help you get started:

BPMN process flow diagrams help analysts understand current business processes and identify opportunities to improve them. These are a great addition to your BA toolbelt both for analyzing and documenting as-is processes as part of your analysis, as well as communicating your findings to stakeholders. Use these diagrams to illustrate current processes and pinpoint where and how your recommendations fit in.

BPMN process flow

Current vs. Target Balanced Scorecard

Balanced scorecards help BAs compare current business metrics to strategic goals. These are a great tool for analyzing the gap between where the business is now and where it would like to be. Use balanced scorecards to help communicate gaps in your strategic targets and support your case for recommended requirements.

business analyst

Business Model Canvas

A Business Model Canvas is a one-page document that summarizes your business plans. This is a great asset for BAs because it succinctly communicates strategy, plans, and vision with enough detail to provide context and clear information about process and decision-making. 

Business Model Canvas organizes the following information in one easy-to-digest visual:

  • Value proposition —What problem are you solving
  • Key partners —Who needs to be involved in producing and delivering these solutions
  • Key activities —What needs to be done to achieve your goal
  • Key resources —What you need to deliver these results
  • Customer relationships —How do you talk to your market about these solutions
  • Customer segments —Who needs your solution 
  • Channels —How will you deliver your solution

This visual is a great tool for organizing your plans and communicating the business value of your recommendations to stakeholders at every level.

A successful business analysis isn’t complete without a well-executed communication plan. Use these tips to bring your organization together on key business requirements and make an impact today. 

business plan communication strategy

Create a robust communication plan and strategy to gain employee buy-in and communicate key details with stakeholders in Lucidchart.

About Lucidchart

Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit

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  1. Building Communication Strategy: the Ultimate Guide

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  2. Free Communication Plan Templates

    business plan communication strategy

  3. Make an Exciting Business Communication Plan

    business plan communication strategy

  4. Why Should You Use Communication Plan Templates

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  18. Communication Strategy Framework And Why It Matters In Business

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    According to recent statistics, the communication strategy industry is experiencing steady growth, with an expected CAGR of 6.5% from 2021 to 2026. Now, let's dive into the essential steps for crafting a successful communication strategy business plan. Define Your Target Audience

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  21. How to create a business analysis communication plan

    Paying attention to the frequency and cadence of your communications will improve engagement and buy-in from your stakeholders across the organization. 4. Use visuals to deliver your communication. Communication must be consistent and clear. Avoid text-heavy, complex plans in favor of easy-to-digest roadmaps.

  22. PDF Writing a communications strategy

    A written reference document against which to judge progress. Collaboration between the business/project leader(s) and the communications professional(s) Identifies: clear and measurable communications objectives with evaluation. relevant audiences and available channels. a plan of activities and a timetable.

  23. How To Write a Communication Plan (With Template and Sample)

    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.

  24. Maximize Your Communication: 5 Essential Steps for a Successful Strategy

    The answers to these questions will help inform your communication strategy. EXAMPLE: The business need isn't to add a Consumer Directed Health Plan; that is the solution. The actual business need in this case is to save employees and the company money, and to help employees make smart health care decisions. ... Move 15% of employees to a new ...

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