PR and Communication must be strategic to be effective here’s an easy 8 Step Plan.
In a 2016 article Roger Jabaly defined strategic communication management as “The systematic planning and realization of information flow, communication, media development and image care in a long-term horizon. It conveys deliberate message(s) through the most suitable media to the designated audience(s) at the appropriate time to contribute to and achieve the desired long-term effect. Communication management is process creation. It has to bring three factors into balance: the message(s), the media channel(s) and the audience(s)” (Bockstette & Carsten, 2008).
Jabaly further suggests that writing a communication strategy should include identifying the different aspects that need to be planned for. He offers eight steps that would lead into a well-rounded strategy, fulfilling the aspirations of most organizations.
1) Statement of Purpose: Why are you developing a communication strategy in the first place and what needs to be achieved with it.
2) Current Situation: To understand your organization’s current situation it is highly recommended to use tools such as: SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats), PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, and Competitor analysis).
3) Set Objectives: It is crucial to align both Organizational and Communication objectives and present a communication strategy that delivers on your organization’s overall vision, and objectives.
4) Identifying stakeholders: Know your audience. Whether internal or external, communicators should be able to give a comprehensive description of their audiences.
5) Messages: Craft your messages to be simple, relevant and appealing to your different audience. Avoid using one size fits all approach.
6) Key Communication Channels: Ask yourself what are the most appropriate channels to use in transmitting your messages? Understand all the available media channels and their level of engagement each offers your audience, especially social media.
7) Playbook: With your audiences and communication methods identified, it is time to highlight your key communications activities, budget and allocated resources. Your work plan will allow you to measure steps toward your goals.
For a truly well-rounded communications strategy, communicators need to incorporate detailed plans for Media/PR, Digital, and Crisis Communication.
8) Auditing and Evaluating: What are your key performance indicators, what would strategy success look like, how would you evaluate, measure and audit your communication strategy performance?
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