Communications Plan Template
Communicate a clear, effective message to your audience.
About the Communications Plan template
What is a Communications Plan?
A communications plan is an end-to-end strategy for delivering a message to your audience. At every stage of your business, you will need to command the message, control the narrative, and compel your audience. Whether you’ve secured funding, hired a CEO, hit a revenue goal, or suffered a data breach, a clear communications plan is vital to your business’s success. Regardless of your company’s size, vertical, or stage of growth, you need a communications plan.
How to use the Communications Plan template
You’ve heard the saying: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Quite simply, if your business hits a milestone, and you don’t have a communications plan, it will not make a sound.
But it’s cumbersome and unscalable to draft a communications plan every time you want to reach your audience. Use the Communications Plan template to simplify the process, streamline your messaging, and grow with your business.
Who should use a Communications Plan?
1. Marketing teams. From startups to enterprise businesses, every marketing team should have a communications plan.
2. Non-profits. In the fast-paced world of nonprofits, some things never change: namely, the need to communicate. Since non-profits rely on the public to stay afloat, it’s important to craft effective messaging.
3. Agencies. Both agencies and their clients should draft communications plans to stay ahead of the game.
4. Leadership. CEOs, VPs, spokespeople, and public figures should each have a communications plan, regardless of whether they’re sending a weekly company email or presenting to a board of investors.
How do I use the template to create a Communications Plan?
Step 1: Develop a brand statement. Before you can begin working on your communications plan, you need to figure out who you are as a brand. Your brand statement will shape the tone, voice, and structure of your plan.
Think of the brand statement as your charter, or your promise. Think about the audience you want to reach and the purpose your organization seeks to serve. Here’s a popular guideline:
Our organization exists to provide [benefit] [benefit], and [benefit] to [audience] through [product or service].
Step 2: Figure out your unique selling proposition (USP). Your brand exists to fill a niche that no other brand can fill. So, what is it? What problems do you solve? What needs do you address? What can you do that your competitors cannot? What do you do better? These core questions will inform your communications plan, so it’s important to get them right.
Step 3: Define success. Think about what objectives your company must achieve to be successful. Every team in the organization is working toward these objectives.
Step 4: Map out your audience personas. Imagine you’re giving a speech about the importance of making art. Your personaes are the people who you would expect to sit in the audience. Think about who your company is trying to reach so you can create messages that resonate with them.
The Communications Plan template helps you map out personas step-by-step. Begin by contacting your customers to learn more about them. Use a survey tool to poll them on their demographics, their perceptions of your brand, their wants, and their needs. If you have content on your site, use analytic tools to see who is consuming it. If you have social media accounts, check out your followers and see if you can identify any trends.
Once you’ve gathered this data, you can start to craft the personas themselves. Specify exactly who the personas are. Returning to our speech about making art: one key persona might be a 25-year-old MFA grad. If you’re a business that sells environmentally-friendly tee shirts, a persona might be a 30-year-old, college-educated male with disposable income.
Step 5: Craft your narrative. This is the story you want to tell. What makes your brand unique? How did you get started? What do you hope to do? And relatedly, what misperceptions do you want to dispel about your type of organization? Remember, you’re wading into a dense competitive landscape. It’s important to set yourself apart by distinguishing your brand from those that came before you.
Step 6: Choose your communications channels. How are you going to get the word out there? Your channels might change depending on the size of your company, the resources you have, and the audience you hope to reach. Many companies use a blog, downloadable assets, and social media channels to tell their story, but you might also invest in online ads, commercials, or mailers, or you might give interviews or conference presentations.
Step 7: Set goals. These goals should tie into the objectives you established earlier. For example, if your objective is to raise funds, then you could aim to send marketing emails to 30 investors this quarter. Make sure your goals are reasonable and measurable.
Step 8: Schedule out your communications. If you have a blog, create an editorial calendar. If you’re sending out social media posts, write up a social media plan that corresponds with your product launches or other major initiatives. The bottom line: stay organized, focused, and on task -- and pace yourself.
Step 9: Take stock of your success. Delve into the data to see what went right and what you can do better.
Why make a Communications Plan?
Crafting a communications plan puts you ahead of your competition. It ensures that your brand is always putting your best foot forward. A robust communications plan allows you to tell your story to your audience in a way that is compelling, focused, and streamlined. It sells your product, wins customers, and earns investors.
When to use the Communications Plan template
Use the communications template any time you need a strategy to communicate to your audience. You may find this especially beneficial when you know a big event such as a new product release is about to occur.
3 Horizons of Growth
Featured in The Alchemy of Growth, this model gives ambitious companies a way to balance the present and the future—in other words, what’s working in the existing business and what emerging, possibly-profitable growth opportunities lie ahead. Then teams across the organization can make sure that their projects map to and support the organization’s goals. The 3 Horizons of Growth model is also a powerful way to foster a culture of innovation—one that values and depends on experimentation and iteration—and to identify opportunities for new business.
Whether you’re planning a product launch, fully remote conference, or milestone event, the Event Planning Template will act as a visual checklist and map for all the details you need to consider before the big day. The Event Planning Template is an adaptable way to make sure the creative and strategic vision of your event doesn’t get lost in the details. By mapping out different sections - from the marketing plan, to the agenda, to snacks and swag for guests — you and your team can focus on the details most important to your functions, and collaborate as needed when overlaps occur.
Managing stakeholders is integral to completing a project on time and meeting expectations, so here’s how to use a stakeholder analysis to help. A stakeholder analysis empowers you to meet expectations and complete projects on time by identifying individuals, groups, and organizations with a vested interest in a program or process. In a typical stakeholder analysis, you’ll prioritize stakeholders based on their influence on a project and seek to understand how best to interface with them throughout the course of the project.
Communicate your team’s goals clearly and measure your progress accurately. Nothing to it, right? Actually, it’s a fundamental challenge for many companies. A Balanced Scorecard is here to help. It puts a series of Strategy Maps on one screen—in one source of truth—which lays out team member tasks and sets them up to succeed. If you put your Balanced Scorecard to work the right way (and Miro makes that easy), you’ll improve in three key areas: strategic planning, strategic communication, and performance reporting.
So you just completed a sprint. Teams busted their humps and emotions ran high. Now take a clear-eyed look back and grade the sprint honestly—what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved. This approach (4Ls stand for liked, learned, lacked, and longed for) is an invaluable way to remove the emotion and look at the process critically. That’s how you can build trust, improve morale, and increase engagement—as well as make adjustments to be more productive and successful in the future.
Features and capabilities — they make or break a product, which is why companies spend so much time and effort focusing on them. Sound like you? Try it with an Opportunity Canvas. This streamlined one-pager gives you and your team the power to improve your product by exploring the use cases, potential setbacks, strategies, challenges, and metrics. An Opportunity Canvas is ideal if you’ve already built a product, because you don’t need to consider the operational or revenue model.