With 2013 wrapping up, now is the perfect time to look ahead and map out your communication goals for 2014 and build a solid plan to get you there!
The process of setting goals, strategies, tactics, evaluation methods and budgets for your PR, Social Media, Advertising, and Marketing activities for an entire year may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be.
A great starting point is to have a look at 2013’s communications plan and evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what improvements you can make for 2014.
After evaluating your old communications plan, here are some tips to help you craft an integrated communications plan for 2014:
- Set SMART goals: The core of any business or communications plan is centered around SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) goals. In order to measure success, your goals need to be as clearly defined as possible; make sure to align your communication goals with your business goals – your communication goals are there to support your broader business goals so make sure to keep this in mind.
- Get as detailed as possible: Once your communication goals are set, define your objectives, audiences, strategies, and tactics for each goal. Make sure to be as detailed as possible, after all, communication planning is all about the details! Make sure you outline strategies and tactics that are targeted to each specific audience or target market in support of your overall goals and objectives.
- Set a timeline: Creating a timeline and setting milestones sets a clear path for your communication activities that will keep you on track throughout the year. It’s always better to create small milestones for your big goals – breaking big goals down into smaller goals makes them less overwhelming and more manageable.
- Create a budget: Anticipate costs for each campaign/program/activity broken down by each month –your timeline will be a big help here in determining how much you will need to allocate for each month. And always remember to put aside a reserve for unanticipated costs that will be sure to arise throughout the year.
- Identify your evaluation methods: One of the most important, and often overlooked, component of any effective communications plan is specifying how you will evaluate your efforts. Set evaluation methods and metrics for all of your communication activities – measuring the effectiveness of your PR, Social Media, Advertising, and Marketing activities allows you to assess and plan future strategies according to what worked and what didn’t.
Follow these tips and you will be able to produce a strategic communications plan that will be your road map to success in 2014! And remember, your plan isn’t set in stone, revisit it throughout the year and adjust your strategies along the way as needed.
Cheers to a great 2014!