The New Year is almost upon us, and if you haven’t started talking about your 2013 communications plan, you’d better get started. Or, maybe you are one of the many organizations who experience annual planning fatigue – and every year’s plan is the same old template – lacking new ideas.
An annual communications plan is an organization’s roadmap for how you will get your message across to your audiences throughout the year. And for many, you try the same ideas year after year, while keeping your fingers crossed for better results. This year, throw that old plan out the window. Here are some ideas to put a fresh twist on your communications efforts:
- Break your communications plan up quarterly or bi-annually. Times are changing fast – and your plan needs to be able to move right along with these changes. Don’t try to plan out the entire year before it even starts. By breaking it up, you will have the ability to evaluate what you’re doing and tweak things as you move forward.
- Revisit your target audiences and the channels you are using to reach them. How often do you poll your users to see what they are reading, watching or listening to? Are there niche social media platforms that they belong to or certain events they attend? The best way to reach your target audience is to find out exactly from them how they want to be communicated with.
- The tactics in your communication plan should help you reach your overall business goals. Time is money, and the time you spend on your tactics to reach your business goals should result in being more profitable. Make sure to ask yourself, how does this tactic help me accomplish business goal A, B or C before you just move forward.
- Forecast industry trends for the year ahead. When you are out networking or meeting with the media, introduce yourself as a thought-leader in your area of expertise. By gaining credibility and staying ‘top-of-mind,” you will get more calls to be a source or be asked for speaking engagements.
- Think outside the box to gather new ideas. Throw the budget out the window if you need to. Talk to everyone from the C-suite down to interns. From your IT department to finance. If you leave new idea generation up to the same people every year, chances are you will have the same ideas. Somehow find a way to get new blood to help brainstorm for the year ahead. Determine a way that everyone in your organization can help be responsible for creating content, a challenge that most organizations face.
- Measure your success. Make sure to have a measurement tool in place to be able to determine if your communication plan was effective or not. This can be everything from gathering editorial or social media coverage, to polling customers or clients about how they heard about your organization. It is crucial in helping to determine ROI (or return on investment) for your communications plan.
Do you have any other must-have ideas for planning the year ahead?