More From Forbes

Five components of a successful strategic communications plan.

Forbes Communications Council

  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Linkedin

Director of Marketing at  I help fix large revenue retention & growth issues.

Communication is a critical part of any organization's success. Once, I was working closely with the senior leadership to create an email that addressed late deliveries. I remember that when we first started, there were so many ideas swirling in our heads about how to approach this project and what tone of voice would be best for our company. I wished I had someone with a communications strategy plan who could tell me the "best" way to approach this project in order to be successful.

I started reading and researching, looking for what I felt was a good strategy to communicate with our target audience. Luckily, after some research and conversations with others who had more experience than myself on the topic at hand, what finally developed was a communications strategy plan that we used over and over again for all of our marketing and communication efforts.

What Is A Communications Strategy Plan?

A communications strategy is a plan for communicating with your target audience. It includes who you are talking to, why you are talking to them, how and when you will talk to them, what form of communication the content should take and what channels you should use to share it.

1. What Is The Purpose Of Your Communications Plan?

A clear purpose helps keep everyone on board. Make sure the right people hear your message when they are ready and in a way that you want them to hear it. Your communication objectives should be to answer these questions: Who do I need to reach? Why do I need to reach them? What will my communications say? How will I deliver this message at the time that will have the best impact on my audience (and for me)? And what channels am I using or can I use for delivery?

Best Travel Insurance Companies

Best covid-19 travel insurance plans.

2. Who Are You Communicating With (Or Who Is Your Target Audience) And What Message Do They Need To Hear?

Target audiences can vary from one time to another and may include your customers, employees or the media. Define who needs to hear what is happening in your organization. Every communications plan is different, but they should never be one-size-fits-all. It's a good idea to create an audience map that identifies key audiences and the messages they need to hear about your organization or cause in order for them to take action.

3. How Will This Message Be Communicated?

Your communications strategy provides the framework for the company's outreach activities, including what needs to get out there through communication channels like social media, email marketing, blog posts, video content on YouTube or Vimeo and so on. In my experience, the more specific you are with your messaging (and visuals) — even if it seems repetitive — the better your chances of getting people engaged and taking action are.

4. When Should This Communication Happen — Right Now Or Later On?

Organizations have to use their communications wisely and strategically in order to be successful with them. But the importance of timing is also important for communicating effectively. Your communications strategy should specify when the message should be communicated, including whether that's right now or later on. Your communications team should take these considerations into account as they develop your messaging and timing plan. In addition, I recommend developing two equally effective strategies: one for "now" and another that can be deployed in anticipation of events that might happen later down the road. A crisis communication plan helps cushion against unexpected turns of events, no matter what happens.

5. Who Will Be Responsible For The Communication?

Communications professionals should be the ones responsible for communicating with external audiences, and they should do so often during a crisis. However, human resources departments may also need to communicate internally about any changes that may affect employees. Define key messages, and then decide who will deliver them. Define the audience and focus on what they need to know about this change. Be sure to provide information in a timely way, but also keep the message concise so that employees can digest it easily.

Bottom Line

A strategic communications plan can help you communicate your message to the right people at the most opportune time. By considering these five components, you can put together a solid strategy that could drive more success for your business and bring about your desired results in less time. 

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Haseeb Tariq

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.

Related resources

strategic communication action plan

The best project planning software of 2023

strategic communication action plan

7 steps to crafting a winning event proposal (with template)

strategic communication action plan

4 steps of the PEST analysis process

strategic communication action plan

6 techniques for accurate project estimation

Oh no! We couldn't find anything like that.

Try another search, and we'll give it our best shot.

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?

woman writing a communication 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.

hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(53, 'd446120e-377e-425b-8225-931f288e9803', {"useNewLoader":"true","region":"na1"});

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.

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

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.

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):

(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, or use 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

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

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 communication plan example

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.

crisis communication

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

How to Write an Effective Communications Plan [+ Template]

Should You Pay a PR Firm? [+PR Tactics You Can Manage In-House]

15 of the Best Public Relations Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

15 of the Best Public Relations Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

Bad Press Releases: 14 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

Bad Press Releases: 14 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

Social Media PR: 6 Tactics to Improve Your Social Public Relations

Social Media PR: 6 Tactics to Improve Your Social Public Relations

How to Do PR: The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations in 2023

How to Do PR: The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations in 2023

How to Write a Press Release [Free Press Release Template + Examples]

How to Write a Press Release [Free Press Release Template + Examples]

Press Release Distribution: Top 11 Services + 4 Mistakes to Avoid

Press Release Distribution: Top 11 Services + 4 Mistakes to Avoid

What is Public Relations? The Definition of PR in 100 Words or Less

What is Public Relations? The Definition of PR in 100 Words or Less

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2021

Manage, plan for, and communicate during a corporate crisis.

Four steps to streamline strategic planning   Take the Assessment

ClearPoint Strategy

Quick Links

  • Support Center
  • API Documentation
  • Demo ClearPoint
  • Strategic Planning
  • Strategy Reporting
  • Project Management
  • Local Government
  • Reporting Assessment
  • Integrations
  • Dashboard Gallery
  • ClearPoint Community


Why & how to build a strategic action plan, learn why you need a strategic action plan, how to create one, and see real-world examples in this article..

' src=

Marisa Sailus

Why & How To Build A Strategic Action Plan


After months (or more) of planning and collaborating, you have a solid strategy in place to guide your organization into a bright future. All too often though, even the best strategic plans end up gathering dust on a shelf. A strategic action plan is your guard against this happening—so not only can you say you have the best strategy, you can prove it.

What is a strategic action plan?

Let’s start by differentiating between a strategic plan and a strategic  action  plan. In short,  strategic planning  is the process by which you plot out, step by step, how your organization will get where it wants to be. We won’t go into detail about the process here, but you can read more  in this article .

strategic action plan definition

By extension, a  strategic action plan  explains how you’re going to make your strategy a reality. It takes the purpose and goals you’ve outlined and adds the details needed to turn thought into action. One action plan example would be defining who has ownership over an initiative, when it’s expected to be completed, what resources are needed, etc. This is your detailed road map of the journey you’ll take to reach your goals.

Why do you need a strategic action plan?

Creating an action plan gives you a clear guide to success. It helps prioritize goals, maximize resources, and make better decisions, increasing your organization’s efficiency and effectiveness as you execute on your strategy.

It can also help boost internal morale and public confidence. Employees will know exactly what they need to do to achieve the organization’s strategy, day by day and task by task. External stakeholders will have confidence that efforts are coordinated and purposeful, which builds credibility and transparency. And everyone can track results and monitor progress toward goals.

Now that you understand why a strategic action plan is vital to your strategy, how do you build that roadmap?  There are various strategic action plan templates out there. Here is a high level view of one that includes the organization's objectives, action items they have planned, and a description, owner, dates and percent complete of each action.

Strategic Action Plan for Upward Airlines

7 Steps Of A Strategic Action Plan

1. create a strategic plan..

As we mentioned in the previous section, strategic planning is the first step to a concrete action plan. This is where you state your mission and vision, and clearly outline your organization’s goals and target objectives.

Not sure where to begin? Here are 10 free  strategic planning templates  to get you started.

2. Determine how to accomplish your strategy.

Create concrete  SMART  goals that align with your strategic plan. Your goals should include the actions you must take to reach them. Describe each action item so everyone can understand what needs to be done.

This is where you can get down to specifics. For example, a local government strategy could be to increase citizen engagement. Your action plan would be to launch a marketing campaign, form a citizen task force, and collect feedback from citizen surveys and focus groups.

3. Name names.

Next, you must assign ownership and define who is responsible for what. This ensures someone is accountable for each initiative or measure, so nothing falls to the wayside.

Ownership and accountability are key to achieving your goals. This includes who is responsible for executing, reporting, or simply overseeing a task. You should also indicate which parties should be informed about updates or changes.

4. Draft timelines.

Set deadlines for each measure or initiative. Deadlines should offer a smooth, logical workflow that is realistic—plan on what’s possible, not what you wish were true. By providing target start and end times, a timeline ensures continuous, trackable progress.

You may choose to incorporate individual initiatives and milestones into your timeline as well. Think of these as mini-goals that can help ensure you are on the right path.

5. Allocate resources.

Every strategy has multiple interdependencies and you’ll need to figure out what (and who) is needed to reach your goals. A big part of equipping employees for success is allocating the proper resources for all tasks.

6. Implement it.

It’s called a strategic action plan for a reason. Just like with a strategic plan, creating an action plan only means something if you take the steps to implement it.

You can and should ask for status updates—accountability is key. Your strategy should remain a focus of the organization and team members should be able to explain how their roles contribute to the strategy, if they aren’t actually reporting on progress each week.

A solution like  ClearPoint can help . It can automatically send email reminders and visual status reports to team members. Gantt charts also offer a simple overview at a glance, with flexible properties that update with a single click.

strategic communication action plan

7. Celebrate wins.

Once your strategy is in play, keep people engaged by celebrating both big wins and small milestones. Learning how to create an action plan and then actually doing it takes a lot of hard work, which should be recognized and appreciated.

How do you know when you’ve had a big win (or near miss)? Use this guide to create an internal reporting process that shows strategic action plan results.

Strategic action plan examples.

It can be hard to tie the concept of a strategic action plan to the reality, so we’ve gathered a few examples of how your organization can manifest these plans. Use these as inspiration and general guides versus action plan samples that need to be copied exactly.

Town Of Morrisville, NC

Morrisville  uses a clean, easily navigable format to outline its strategic action plan. The Initiatives tab in particular explains what actions the city is taking to reach its goals, including statues, milestones, and percent complete.

strategic communication action plan

City Of Cambridge, ON

In their summary report,  Cambridge  clearly links strategic actions to initiatives. Each initiative has a status indicator to show progress at a glance. This ensures both city employees and citizens know what’s being done to reach goals and how the city is progressing.

strategic communication action plan

City Of Germantown, TN

Germantown  does an excellent job of describing why City Services and Finance is a key performance area for its strategy. Then, they use a neat grid to outline action plans—including concise bullets to provide additional detail on the plans—with timelines and status indicators for KPIs.

strategic communication action plan

In Conclusion

A good strategic action plan is clear, current, and detailed. That means that even people who missed the company strategy meeting should be able to read it and know exactly what to do, how, and when. It is also specific, measurable, and relevant. It sets a straight path toward your target destination and does not deviate.

There is a saying: “People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan.” Make your strategic planning a success with an action plan. To learn more about how to write an action plan for your strategy,  contact us .

Why & How To Build A Strategic Action Plan

Strategic Planning — 8 min read

How To Use PESTEL To Identify External Factors That Threaten Your Business’ Strategic Plan

How To Use PESTEL To Identify External Factors That Threaten Your Business’ Strategic Plan

Strategic planning — 4 min read.

Business Strategy: A Complete Guide

Business Strategy: A Complete Guide

Kpis and metrics — 17 min read.

56 Examples Of Strategic Objectives (& How To Make Them Your Own)

56 Examples Of Strategic Objectives (& How To Make Them Your Own)

SOC-2 Certified

By continuing, you agree to our use of cookies to optimize and personalize your experience on our site. Review our Privacy Policy to learn more. Got it!

  • Manage Profiles
  • Generate Captions (AI)
  • Customize Posts
  • Schedule Posts
  • Publish Posts
  • Analyze Growth

Ranked #1 in G2’s “Top 20 Likely to Be Recommended Social Media Management Tool”.

  • Pricing Standard Plans Best for Solopreneurs and Small Businesses Agency Plans Best for Agencies and Social Media Managers

December Demo Webinar

Monthly Webinars

See all upcoming webinars here→

Learn how to use SocialBee, while getting better at social media marketing.

  • Book a Demo

How to Write a Strategic Communication Plan Template

  • May 1, 2022
  • Read More Blog Posts
  • What Is SocialBee?



We know why you are here, and we are prepared with both a communications plan template and a guide that will help you every step of the way.

Communication plans are great strategies that will not only take your branding objectives to the next level ,  but will also help you manage PR crises without damaging your image.

In this material, we will walk you through the benefits of a communication plan template and we will show you what are the steps you need to take in order to build your very own communication strategy. Are you ready?

Free Communications Plan Template!

Download this example of a communication strategy so you can put together a communication plan for your business faster and easier than ever.

SocialBee communication plan template

Table of Contents

What is a communications plan.

Communications plans are documents that outline the messages a business promotes, the  audience  meant for those messages, and the channels of communication. 

A strategic communications plan is a way to organize all your company’s messages in one place, define your goals , and ensure you maintain a consistent and positive image.

Moreover, it works as a foundation that will help with managing certain crises your company might face, pitching new ideas to your stakeholders, creating an effective communication strategy for a product launch, and more.

The Benefits of a Communication Plan

Before we get into how to write a strategic communication plan, let’s see how such a document can benefit your business.

Here are the advantages of a communications strategy plan:

  • It improves client and stakeholder management
  • It defines the communication process
  • It creates a positive brand image

1. It Improves Client and Stakeholder Management

A well-written communication plan will help you improve the level of communication with both internal stakeholders and external audicences, as you will be able to convey your message through multiple channels.

2. It Defines the Communication Process

By having a communication plan, you will also be able to set communication objectives for your company and assess progress.

Writing a clear communication plan will help you identify:

  • What  you need to communicate
  • How  you should share your message
  • Who  is the recipient
  • Which  channels are best for sharing certain messages

Also, this way, you will discover the unique characteristics of your intended audience. Consequently, you will understand their point of view better than ever before, and communicate with them more effectively.

3. It Creates a Positive Brand Image

An effective communication plan has a positive impact on your company’s image because it makes sure that every message you share with the public is correct, on-brand, and consistent on every communication platform.

Additionally, with the help of a communication plan, you can handle crises much more effectively. In fact, big brands have a designated crisis communication team ready to go in case of a social media controversy.

Having a crisis communication plan and planning ahead of time for emergency situations will allow you to manage the public perception better. Also, rushing your response in critical situations without clearly thinking it through will allow other mistakes to slip through and make the situation worse. 

How to Write a Communications Plan

Now that you know what a communication plan is and how it can benefit your business, let’s get into the real reason why you are here — learning how to write an effective communications plan.

These are the steps you need to take to write a marketing communications plan:

  • Audit Your Current Communications Strategy
  • Set Communication Goals
  • Define Your Target Audience
  • Develop Your USP and Mission Statement
  • Find the Best Communication Channels for Your Marketing Efforts
  • Assign Roles to Your Team Members
  • Identify Your Key Stakeholders
  • Write Down Key Dates for Your Communication Strategies
  • Craft Key Messages for Your Audience
  • Outline Your Communication Methods and Campaigns
  • Put Your Communication Plan in Action
  • Monitor and Adjust Your Communication Strategy

1. Audit Your Current Communications Strategy

Before you create your communication plan, you need to run a situational analysis of your current communication strategy.

Here is what you need to evaluate when it comes to your marketing communication strategy:

  • Communication channels – List all the different channels you communicate on both online and offline with your audiences (partners, clients, project stakeholders, customers, etc.).
  • Communication materials – Make an inventory of all your marketing materials. Include anything from flyers to social media graphics, as well as your permanent branding guidelines (color scheme, fonts, logos, etc.).
  • Tone of voice and communication style – How would you describe your communication style? You can use several adjectives to define it. 
  • Results and performance – Which messages and communication platforms had the best/worst results. Add screenshots and links to understand the situation better.

To gather all this relevant information, you can go to the analytics you have for each communication channel, send surveys to your customers, partners, and stakeholders, and hold in-person meetings with your project team.

In addition, you can perform a SWOT analysis and discover both internal and external advantages and disadvantages:

👍 Strengths – Define what you do well, your best resources, and the aspects that give you an advantage over your competitors.

👎 Weaknesses – Focus on the critics you receive from others, the resources you lack compared to your competitors, and the areas that need improvement.

📈 Opportunities – Identify the opportunities and market trends that will allow you to transform your strengths into growth opportunities.

❌ Threats – Discover the external factors that can prevent your business from growing.

2. Set Communication Goals

Turn your business goals into specific communication goals. This way, your business needs will guide the way you think and write your communication goals. As a result, your chances of staying on track and enhancing your company’s performance will increase. 

Your communication goals need to provide perspective and direction for you and your team. So, make sure you offer them all the details they might need. 

When in doubt, respect the SMART goals structure:

  • S pecific – State what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do it.
  • M easurable – Mention how you plan to measure your progress.
  • A chievable – Be realistic, and set goals that are achievable based on your company’s resources.
  • R elevant – Write communication goals that align with your business needs.
  • T ime-bound – Keep your team accountable by setting a clear deadline for your goals.

Here is an example of a SMART communication goal:

“Improve customer satisfaction in the next 6 months by replying to every review, comment, email, and message within 24 hours.” 

To measure success, you will have to check the reviews and feedback you receive as a result of your new initiative.

3. Define Your Target Audience

In order to write effective key messages, you first need to understand your target audiences . This doesn’t only include your customers but also your employees, partners, investors, government officials, media outlets, and more.

As a result of your research, you will be able to craft perfectly tailored messages while also discovering their preferred communication channel. Feel free to ask for feedback and suggestions that will improve their experience as well as your collaboration. Also, keep an eye on the way they communicate and try to match their approach.

When it comes to customers, you can generate multiple demographic details straight from your SocialBee dashboard. Based on the information you gather, you can create detailed buyer personas — fictional characters with the traits of different segments of your target market.

SocialBee Analytics - demographic data fans

Get information about your audience from a single dashboard.

Start your 14-day free SocialBee trial now!

In this way, you structure all the audience data and make it easier for you and your team to remember. 

Here is what a buyer persona should contain:

  • Demographic information
  • Behavioral traits
  • Pain points
  • Buying habits

The goal is to reach the right people with customized messages that will resonate with them.

4. Develop Your USP and Mission Statement

Not all businesses are built the same. And this is a good thing.

Your unique selling proposition is very important for your communication plan, especially when it comes to your promotional content. Why?  Because you have to rely on that unique quality to differentiate your business from the competition and give your customers a reason to purchase from you.

To develop your USP, you first need to answer the following questions:

  • What do you provide that your competition doesn’t?
  • What customer issue do you solve through your business?
  • Why should your customers choose you and not your competitors?

Furthermore, while your USP works as a way to make your brand stand out from the crowd, your mission statement provides meaning and purpose to your company.

A great mission statement reflects your customers’ values and provides an additional reason to invest in your products.

Hellofresh mission statement

Image source

Let’s say you sell sweets. Your USP is that you don’t use sugar in your products. So, in your mission statement, you could state that through your business, you aim to provide healthy and delicious dessert alternatives and improve your customers’ lifestyles without compromising the taste of your sweets.

5. Find the Best Communication Channels for Your Marketing Efforts

It’s not only essential to know how to communicate with your audience, but also to discover the channel that you should use to reach them. Moreover, for better results, you need to keep your communication separate. 

For instance, with your stakeholders, you can plan online or in-person meetings and provide project reports regularly. Whereas, with media outlets, you can move your communication to email. All you need is to have the contact information of several relevant journalists and nurture your media relationships on this channel.

The same goes for the rest of your audience segments. The more you customize your communication to fit your audience’s needs, the more success you will have.

However, when it comes to your customers, you have more options. You can get creative with your communication when promoting your business. 

These are the main communication channels you can use to connect with your customers:

  • Content marketing
  • Search enginge optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

A. Content Marketing

Your communication plan wouldn’t be complete without including your content marketing strategy.

In fact, did you know that 70% of customers would rather learn about a business from an article or blog post than from advertisements? So, it’s safe to assume that content marketing is quite a big deal.

This marketing strategy is used to attract, engage, and maintain customers by creating and distributing relevant content (articles, videos, social media posts). 

Apart from this, content marketing helps businesses establish themselves as credible and authoritative sources of information, build brand awareness and stay top-of-mind.

So, make sure you include your social media platforms, your blog, and other content creation platforms (Youtube, Udemy, etc.) and give details about your communication strategy on all of them.

Don’t forget that with SocialBee you can create, edit, schedule, and share content on all your social media platforms from one user-friendly dashboard. 

Audience analytics

Connect all your social media profiles with SocialBee to share content faster and easier than ever before.

Besides, SocialBee can generate automatic social media posts whenever you publish a new article, making the most out of your content marketing strategy.

Don’t miss out on a 14-day free SocialBee trial !

Post on Social Media with SocialBee!


B. Search Engine Optimization

To optimize your communication plan and make sure your customers see your content, you must perform search engine optimization.  Statistics show that 68% of website traffic is generated by search engines, a great insight for businesses.

A good practice is to make a list of all the keywords your audience may use to search your products and services and add them to your communication plan. As a result, you will have them ready to use whenever you create content for Google.

Make sure to use keywords and key phrases that match your customers’ search intent, and combine both short-tail and long-tail keywords into your strategy.

Google searches

Moreover, add them to your titles, headings, meta descriptions, image alt text, and body text.

C. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to not only generate new leads, but also nurture your relationship with your existing customers. You should also know that email marketing has an average ROI of $36 for every dollar spent.

It’s an essential part of your communication plan, so ensure you create a messaging strategy that will gain you more website traffic and keep your audience in the loop regarding company news, promotions, and newly posted blog articles.

D. Influencer Marketing

Amplify your messaging strategy with influencer marketing .

This marketing practice is used to generate brand awareness, gain trust, and improve sales.

The key is to find relevant influencers from your industry that your audience looks up to. 

Aside from that, you need to pick people that fit your image and share the same values if you want influencer collaborations to work. As a result, you will have a partnership that seems genuine and addresses the right audience.

Influencer marketing

Make a list of online personalities that you could collaborate with, and add them to your communication plan in the timeframes when you assume you will need a boost in visibility and sales.

E. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another practice you can use to share your message with a larger audience. It involves paying other bloggers to promote your business on their website through link insertions, product/service reviews, and articles.

Besides, it’s an affordable way to generate traffic, boost sales and brand awareness, and build authority within your industry. 

6. Assign Roles to Your Team Members

You know your audience, and you picked the communication channels you will use, so it’s time to assign some roles to your internal communications team members.

For example, when it comes to communicating with media channels, you will need to assign a team member to prepare press releases and keep in touch with journalists.

Make sure you add your key team members along with their roles in the communication plan. This is useful for everyone on the team because:

  • They know what their responsibilities are ahead of time.
  • They know who to go to in case they need help or information.

7. Identify Your Key Stakeholders

As a business, you will have to run and manage multiple projects. And for some of them, you need the support of your stakeholders for your communication method to be successful. 

As you can imagine, this means that you need to maintain a fruitful and transparent relationship with your stakeholders. 

This is why you should add them to your communication plan. You should also include all your project deliverables, stakeholder information, and the main ways you plan to keep in contact.

8. Write Down Key Dates for Your Communication Strategies

Every business has peak moments throughout the year when their sales increase and the demand for their product rises, like flower shops during Valentine’s Day.

Some of them are obvious, while others require a little more digging through the data. So, start looking at your sales history from the past year and identify your most profitable intervals.

With this information, you can adjust your communication planning and improve the way you communicate with your customers. Plan some promotions, create new email campaigns, run ads , and basically do anything that can increase the visibility of your business.

Furthermore, you should also research holidays or international celebrations you can use to promote your brand.

holiday calendar

9. Craft Key Messages for Your Audience

For this step, you have to keep your audience in mind at all times. It’s essential that you create key messages that fit the needs and desires of your customers.

To customize your messages accordingly, you need to answer the next questions:

  • What should your audience know about your company?
  • What language and communication style would your audience prefer?
  • What are the main benefits you should highlight?
  • What values resonate with your customers?

Make separate sections for each segment of your audience and add your key messages into your communication plan.

We advise you to create a messaging matrix in order to define your communication strategy for each. This requires you to separate your audience into segments and create categories of key messages and channels you will use for that group.

For instance, let’s say you sell skincare products and your two main target audiences are young girls between 14 and 20 and women between 30 and 45. The girls encounter problems like acne and dry skin, while the women see signs of aging such as wrinkles and depigmentation.

So you decide to address their issues and promote products that will provide a solution. With the girls, you can communicate on Instagram and TikTok, while with the women you can go for platforms like Facebook. 

10. Outline Your Communication Methods and Campaigns

Your action plan is the meat of your communication strategy.

In order to establish the main activities of your communication plan, you first have to follow these three steps:

  • Align your communication plan with your marketing calendar
  • Create communication campaigns
  • Plan activities to achieve your communication goals

A. Align Your Communication Plan With Your Marketing Calendar 

Take a look at your marketing calendar , and find out what your marketing team has planned to improve your company’s performance. Then create your customer communication strategy to increase the results of those marketing initiatives.

Free Social Media Calendar Template

Get access to our template and create your own social media content calendar the right way in half the time. 

holiday calendar

B. Create Communication Campaigns 

To organize all your marketing activities and keep track of your progress, you must plan different communication campaigns throughout the year.

This is what you need to establish when creating communication campaigns: 

  • A theme or a goal that provides purpose and direction.
  • Strategic activities that will help you achieve your goals.
  • Clear dates for the beginning and the end of your campaigns.

C. Plan Activities to Achieve Your Communication Goals 

The activities you include in your communications plan should be aligned with your internal and external communication goals. After all, you want to accomplish them in a certain time frame.

That being said, your communication tactics should deal with the following aspects:

  • Where will you share your message
  • How will you communicate it
  • When/how often will you communicate

11. Put Your Communication Plan in Action

Now that you included all the necessary elements in your communication plan, it’s time for action.

It’s a good idea to share your plan with your team and go over it together to ensure that everybody is on the same page before you implement it.

12. Monitor and Adjust Your Communication Strategy 

Your communication plan is a work in progress, it’s not a finished product. So, establish a few monitoring tactics that will allow you to track your success and identify mistakes that affect your business’ growth.

Gather all your analytics, create reports, and hold meetings with your team to gain feedback and find solutions for potential issues. You should also use the communication goals you previously set to find out if you are on the right track.

Communication Plan Examples

To give you a better idea about how you should structure your strategy, we prepared three examples you can take inspiration from:

  • A project management communication plan from VENNGAGE
  • A strategic communication plan from Lean Methods Group
  • A communication plan example from TemplateLAB

First, we have a project management communication plan from VENNGAGE . You can see that it has a deadline, an assigned project manager, business objectives, tools, audience information, and messaging frequency. Also, the nice colorful design is a plus.

project communication plan

The next communication plan template is from Lean Methods Group , and it provides details about:

  • Media or vehicle
  • Assigned team member
  • Feedback mechanism

communications plan template example

This last example is a communications plan template from TemplateLAB that contains information about audience segments, key messages, means of communication, and deadlines for each initiative.

communication plan example

Although these are great documents you can use in your communication plan creation process, we have an alternative that will save you hours of work.

So, make sure you access our free template below, make a copy, and add your magical touch.

Make the Most Out of Your Communication Plans

Now that we went through what a communication plan is, its benefits, and the necessary creation process, we reached the end of this article. However, it’s only the beginning of your work.

But don’t worry, our template is waiting for you, ready to aid in your business strategies and give you a head start on the competition. Just access it below and let us know if you enjoyed our communication plan example!

Download the template so you can put together a communication plan for your business faster and easier than ever.

Manage all your social media accounts from one single place: SocialBee!


14-day free trial, no credit card required

Voted Momentum Leader In The Social Media Management Category on G2


client management

10 Client Management Strategies for Long-Term Success

social media quizzes

How to Create Social Media Quizzes: Methods, Tips, & Examples

client reporting

Client Reporting: Best Practices for Effective Communication with Clients

Small Businesses Love SocialBee!

Small businesses like yours use SocialBee to share content across multiple social media platforms from one place.

SocialBee Dashboard

+200 Social Media Content Ideas

Get access to hundreds of social media content ideas, along with tips to start planning your posting calendar today.


  • EXPLORE Coupons Tech Help Pro Random Article About Us Quizzes Contribute Train Your Brain Game Improve Your English Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • HELP US Support wikiHow Community Dashboard Write an Article Request a New Article More Ideas...
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • PRO Courses New Tech Help Pro New Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Coupons Quizzes Upgrade Sign In
  • Browse Articles
  • Quizzes New
  • Train Your Brain New
  • Improve Your English New
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Easy Ways to Help
  • Approve Questions
  • Fix Spelling
  • More Things to Try...
  • H&M Coupons
  • Hotwire Promo Codes
  • StubHub Discount Codes
  • Ashley Furniture Coupons
  • Blue Nile Promo Codes
  • NordVPN Coupons
  • Samsung Promo Codes
  • Chewy Promo Codes
  • Ulta Coupons
  • Vistaprint Promo Codes
  • Shutterfly Promo Codes
  • DoorDash Promo Codes
  • Office Depot Coupons
  • adidas Promo Codes
  • Home Depot Coupons
  • DSW Coupons
  • Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons
  • Lowe's Coupons
  • Surfshark Coupons
  • Nordstrom Coupons
  • Walmart Promo Codes
  • Dick's Sporting Goods Coupons
  • Fanatics Coupons
  • Edible Arrangements Coupons
  • eBay Coupons
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Finance and Business
  • Business Skills
  • Business Writing

How to Write a Strategic Communications Plan

Last Updated: February 17, 2022 References Approved

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 11 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 123,717 times. Learn more...

Having a solid strategic communication plan helps an organization share a clearly defined message with everyone involved with that organization -- internally and externally. To write an effective strategic communications plan, you need to define your target audience and the goals and objectives you want to communicate. Our guide will cover the components of a strategic communications plan and how you can tailor them to keep your staff and customers informed and engaged.

Image titled Write a Strategic Communications Plan Step 1

  • Reinforce a current idea. Help staff members connect with and support your organization's vision and mission statement.
  • Introduce an organizational change. Communicate the problem or challenge and its planned solution.
  • Integrate new leaders into the company by announcing them and creating multiple opportunities for staff and customers to hear from them via one-on-one or departmental meetings.
  • Re-brand your organization. Give customers a new impression of what your company stands for.

Image titled Write a Strategic Communications Plan Step 2

  • Your internal audience involves your staff members. However, you may need to define messages even more specifically for different levels of staff: leaders, middle management, and standard-level employees.
  • External audiences include your clients, business partners, and the general public. Though information may overlap, each audience will need a well-defined message.

Image titled Write a Strategic Communications Plan Step 3

  • Choose communication mediums your audiences will connect with. This might include social media or an online video, both popular with younger generations. It might also involve face-to-face communication, more popular with older crowds.
  • Identify any current communication outlets. These provide a natural outlet to communicate important information.
  • Look at your budget. If you have a smaller budget for your communications plan, consider using cost-effective mediums, like email and social media. If you have a larger budget, you have more opportunities to utilize other options, like radio and television ads, a direct mail campaign, or posters.
  • Consider using multiple outlets for each audience. People tend to remember information better if they receive it in various forms.

Image titled Write a Strategic Communications Plan Step 5

  • Consider how often you want your audiences to hear this message. Repetition helps them understand the message and adopt it as their own.
  • Recognize that change is a slow process. People's beliefs and actions will not change overnight. Be realistic in your time frame and give people enough time to adjust to your message.

Image titled Write a Strategic Communications Plan Step 6

Expert Q&A

  • Have a small group of people work on the communications plan. It is good to have multiple perspectives, as well as different areas of experience. Everyone will have something to add to the discussion. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Format the strategic communications plan in a way that is natural for your organization. You may already have some basic templates to work from. If not, find a template online or just start from scratch. You need to write the plan to fit your corporate culture or a tone your organization is accustomed to, from a very formal format to a more casual, upbeat tone. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

strategic communication action plan

You Might Also Like

Write a Proposal

About This Article

Reader Success Stories

Kwamande Dorcas

Kwamande Dorcas

Dec 16, 2016

Did this article help you?

strategic communication action plan

Ziad Najjar

Aug 11, 2017

Marie Maxberry

Marie Maxberry

Jun 28, 2017

Mohammad Asif Kakar

Mohammad Asif Kakar

Mar 5, 2018

David C.

Oct 5, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Play FIFA 23 Career Mode

Trending Articles

Talk to a Girl in a Group

Watch Articles

Make Homemade Soup

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter

strategic communication action plan

Search form

strategic communication action plan

5. Developing Strategic and Action Plans

This toolkit aids in developing a vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plan for the effort.

Contact Us

Internal Communications Plan: 7-Step Strategy and Template

internal communications plan

One of the biggest lessons organizations learned during the pandemic crisis, and now as we navigate the “Great Resignation,” is the importance of having authenticity, empathy and humanity as we lead and communicate in the workplace. It’s one of the lessons I often try to reinforce with organizations, but there’s nothing like a crisis within an organization – and throughout the world – to drive the point home.

One of the bright spots, especially in the early days of the pandemic and surrounding events of social unrest, was that we saw leaders and communication professionals step up to the plate like never before . We saw the kind of focus and prioritization that most often happens in a crisis – ensuring that communication was timely, focused and clearly addressed the needs and top questions on the minds of employees. Likewise, we saw much more authenticity and humanity from leaders that really resonated with employees.

And while a crisis often forces organizations to adjust their communications plans, it also reinforces the need to have a plan in the first place. That may sound basic but all too often, we find that internal communications departments don’t have clear plans in place.

Now, as we face the new realities of workplaces that will be different and continue to change as well as employees whose expectations for organizations have ratcheted up, trying to navigate without a thoughtful internal communications plan is more ill-advised than ever.

What is a Strategic Internal Communications Plan?

A strategic internal communication plan is a tool for leaders to help drive employee behaviors and actions that create desired business outcomes. It should directly support an organization’s key business outcomes. An internal communication plan should be updated every year to support the business strategy, rather than on an ad hoc basis or as an afterthought. When a plan is truly strategic, it is also given the same priority and resources as an external plan that together then work effectively with one voice for an organization.

Internal Communication Planning Best Practices

Keep in mind that a strong internal communication plan is never just a list of tactics. Instead, the tactics should be part of the overall plan and should reflect what you’re going to do to achieve your business objectives.

There are many ways to achieve a smart internal communications strategy. Our best advice is to pick a format that works for you and always have a plan in place.

Adjustments are fine, but the fundamental goals and vision for communication needs to be weaved into the plan.

As you dive into your internal communications planning, consider the key components of any strong internal communications strategy:

What a Smart Internal Communication Strategy Achieves

When done well, strategic communication plans can help you achieve strong results for your business. As we’ve learned in helping scores of organizations develop plans, here’s what we’ve seen as the most obvious results from a great plan:

Any time you have a lot to say, think about having a communication plan to orchestrate how best to say it with your audience and outcomes in mind.

How to Create an Internal Communication Plan in 7 Steps

Your communications plan doesn’t need to be long – a few pages is fine or even a one-pager works. However, whatever your communication need, these seven steps can serve as a framework as you develop your plan.

Step 1: Summarize the Situation

Provide a situation overview and what’s prompting the need for communications. Mapping the current situation, considering business needs and talking to key stakeholders can help with this process.

For example, is there a shift in organizational priorities because of the marketplace or industry? Low employee engagement scores? New products or services? Are you starting a new employee initiative and you need to keep them informed and engaged in the process?

This section includes research and analysis and addresses what’s currently being done to address the issue.

It’s situations like this that signal when a communication plan is necessary.

Step 2: Determine Your Desired Outcome

We spend a good amount of time talking with our clients and leaders we work with about “desired outcomes” – the first step in planning any kind of communication. When we ask, “What’s the outcome you seek?” we often have people say, “We want to produce an email message, or we’re thinking about a newsletter or video.” We always caution teams when they answer this way because those are just the tactics. What they really need to start with is the answer to this simple question: What do you want to achieve for the business? Once you know that, you can then decide what communication tactic is best suited to achieve that business goal.

Here’s the two-step process we suggest you walk through to identify your critical outcomes:

Ensure You Use SMART Objectives

Follow this SMART Template to Guide You

To develop SMART objectives, use the SMART Objectives Template and two-page guide by clicking the image below. It covers what SMART objectives are, provides an example and concludes with the template you see here:

New call-to-action

You don’t need to limit yourself to one desired outcome but you should try to cap it at three.

Note: All too often communication plans only focus on communication goals. Remember to take your plan to the next level by linking the communication goals to specific business or organizational goals.

Step 3: Define Your Audience

To help you think through how best to communicate with different groups of employees, it’s important to define who they are. Who are the most relevant groups you need to influence and drive to action?

List different audience groups (sometimes referred to as job families), their mindsets (where they’re coming from on the topic you’re communicating) and consider what you want them to think, feel and do as a result of your communication with them. That will help you focus and, when necessary, adapt your message for different audience segments.

Audience types may be a specific business unit, senior executives, sales teams (national/regional or local) shareholders, employee affiliate groups or people leaders. Depending on your organization and industry, additional audience types may range from physicians and nurses if you’re in the medical field, and call center employees if you have a large customer service department to plant employees if you’re in manufacturing.

Consider using a template like this to outline relevant audience types and what you what them each to think, feel and do as a result of your communications. It’s a great way to stay focused on the key audiences and outcomes you want to achieve.

Note: Don’t confuse the audience(s) with stakeholders. Stakeholders are the people and organizations that have an influence on the desired outcome. Audiences are the receivers of messages.

Step 4: Develop Your Messages

Based on your audiences, next outline the most important messages (or points) you need to communicate to your audiences. Remember to keep it to about three messages (that’s usually all that people can retain!). Then consider supporting points to reinforce those key messages. Are there facts, data, anecdotes and stories that support and bring your points to life?

5 Ws and an H

Want to ensure you don’t forget a critical detail in your communications? Think 5 Ws and an H to ensure you’re not missing an important detail, sharing the all-important context, and making it relevant for your audience.

In communicating your message, the order is important. Adult learners want to know the “what” first and then the “why.” The rest can follow logically.

Free Tool - The 5 Ws and an H - The Grossman Group

Here are some additional tips to make your messages stick:

No matter how you develop your messages, be sure to use a template to keep yourself organized, consistent and concise. For example, we use our award-winning messagemap methodology to get all the most important messages organized and prioritized on one page.

Step 5: Decide What Your Strategy Is and What Channels and Tactics You’ll Use

How you deliver your messages is as important as what you say. Now’s the time to identify your internal communications strategies – in other words, how you’ll approach communicating with your audiences. In this step, you’ll also outline specifically which channels and tactics to use to reach your audience and connect with the key messages.

Very often communicators are asked to jump right into producing materials and delivering tactics first. After you have defined the business need and set out clear objectives to show how communication can meet this need, you first need to outline what internal communication strategies to use and then which tactics are the most likely to be effective to support those strategies.

Note: It helps to strategize potential tactics and channels as a communications team. Organize a session with plenty of post-it notes, flip charts, and pens/markers to generate ideas and stick them on the wall. Vote on the top 6-8 tactics for each objective, repeat, and consolidate.

The channels you choose will depend on what you want to achieve from your communication and the audience you need to reach. The right channels for raising awareness would probably be the wrong ones for gaining ownership and commitment. Similarly, the needs of desk-based employees will be very different to sales force or factory workers.

A well-coordinated use of multiple voices and channels will be needed to ensure maximum impact. How much time you have will often dictate which channels you choose.

It’s also important to draw on any employee communication data and insights that already exist in your organization. Look to engagement surveys, channel feedback, and more to help you determine which channels and tactics to use.

Keep in mind these communication best practices:

Think about how frequently you’ll use different channels. For example, huddles with your team could happen daily, while town hall meetings might be best quarterly.

Click to download the free Communications Channels Guide eBook

Actionable Communication Strategies Make Your Tactics More Impactful

The tactics will help you explain how you plan to make the internal communication strategies happen. Make each tactic relate back to at least one (if not multiple) strategies. Include key deliverables and prepare to monitor execution.

It’ll be helpful to put them all down onto paper to ensure you aren’t missing any.

Then plot key activities into a high-level calendar so you can see how the communications will unfold throughout the year.

In this section, too, add in any considerations that might negatively or positively impact the success of the implementation, for example: employees have noted in engagement surveys that they prefer small-group meetings to receive information from their managers.

Step 6: Measure Your Progress

List how you will measure success. This should connect directly back to your outcomes or SMART Objectives (see Step 2). It’s how you’ll know if your internal communication strategies are working or not.

For example, will it be through improved survey scores? Feedback forms from specific communications events? Increased share value or product sales? Increases in employee sign-ups? Better retention rates?

You can use a combination of measurement techniques, but the main thing is to make sure you measure .

Remember – what gets measured, gets done.

Step 7: Populate Your Communications Calendar

Having a full view of the variety of communications channels and tactics used to implement your plan (and timing to go along with it) will be most effective when you have a project tracker to work from. Look at the year ahead and note which communications will be happening when. That will help ensure you have a consistent cadence of communications, which will contribute to a more informed, engaged workforce.

Use a template like this to map out your action plan (adding as many rows as you need):

Bonus: 8 Internal Communication Best Practices for Remote Workers

One of the most important things we’ve learned now that so many people are working remotely is the importance of communicating predictably. As you develop your communication plan, here’s some key things to keep in mind to achieve better communication, particularly when a good portion of your workforce is remote:

Final Thoughts

An internal communications plan is necessary for many reasons and the necessity has only grown with the changing workplace dynamics and employee demands. Some of the benefits include:

Think of a great internal communications plan like your roadmap for how to take your communications forward so you can move employees to action.

Are you ready to create your own Communication Plan? Download this free Communication Plan Template, which aligns with the content in this post, to guide you.

Click to download the free editable Communication Plan Template

Comments on this post

Other posts you might be interested in, how to measure the impact of internal communication, measuring internal communications: metrics, kpis and examples, weekly round-up: top internal comms trends for 2021, science of changing habits, best 2020 insights, putting good first, how to be a careful communicator, subscribe to the leadercommunicator blog.

Get new blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.

strategic communication action plan

Close log in window

Reuters Events Logo

Reuters Events Logo

Creating a strategic communication plan

Communication can help drive the change needed to leverage corporate behaviour and build a desirable reputation

Strategic planning enables a communicator to achieve goals around CSR objectives involving a specific audience. Simply put, public opinion can be affected in three ways:

Public opinion can be created where none now exists.

Existing public opinion can be reinforced.

Existing public opinion can be changed.

Whether the communication programme succeeds or fails depends on how we impact public opinion.

Further, strategic planning in communication confers five main benefits for an organisation. It:

focuses effort. It ensures that the unnecessary is excluded and makes you work on the right things.

encourages a long-term view and integrates communication in the wider goals and mission of the organisation.

helps demonstrate value for money . Presenting a powerful, forward-looking and realistic programme gives you a point from which to argue your case for financial support.

avoids conflicts . The process of putting together a strategic communication plan helps you confront difficulties before they arise and work them through to.

encourages proactivity . Communication is about deciding what you want to do well before the action – what actions you want to take, and what messages you want to put across. Planning a comprehensive and cohesive programme helps you achieve this and get internal buy-in of your key stakeholders.

Seven steps to better communication and winning stakeholder support

When well-designed and strategically aligned to guide relationships with stakeholders, communication can help build support and drive the change that is needed to leverage the behaviour of the corporation to build the desired reputation.

The process of planning includes many stages, among them setting your goals for communication, defining your audience, and developing a plan for implementation.

Step 1: Communication audit

This step begins with research and analysis to understand and take stock of your current situation. It is this research and analysis that will reveal your strengths and weaknesses, possible opportunities and threats, and the resources you already have. It is also at this stage that you listen to understand your audience’s needs and priorities.

strategic communication action plan

There are many ways of carrying out a communication audit and associated research and analysis to get into the minds of people important to your success – for example, the SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as they relate to your investment and initiatives in CSR.

It establishes the relationship between the organisations and its stakeholders. A communication audit also identifies those audiences that you need to reach, engage with and influence. It investigates the scope of communication to determine whether all existing potential audiences are being covered. It examines their current attitudes and assesses whether or not work is required to crystallise, confirm or adjust those attitudes.

It identifies communication gaps and unexploited opportunities, as well as the information needs of all key stakeholders. It also looks ahead by examining future information requirements and new methods of communication that should be used. In the past, we focused on what we told people. Today, reputation is shaped by how people experience our corporate character and whether and how others advocate on our behalf. The result is a shared belief in which more and more people participate and advocate for the organisation.

Step 2: Define your communication goals and objectives

Once your communication audit is complete, the next step is to align your mission and values with what is actually taking place in the corporation and is the source of the company’s direction. Alignment between mission, actuality and communication is crucial. Clearly these three aspects not being aligned has led, appropriately in some cases, to the suspicion by many that CSR is simply PR. Your goal is your destination – what you want your key audiences and stakeholders to think, believe and do in support of your business or organisational goals.

You then integrate communication as a strategic input to serve as your steering wheel as you connect your audiences, your messages and the channels for delivering these messages. It is a statement of what you want your target audience to know (facts, information), believe (feel) and perhaps do (volunteer, give time, act in a certain way).

Communication objectives should signal desired audience outcomes (e.g. increased awareness or a desired individual behaviour). When a corporation that the author worked with included a call to action as a key message it helped track evaluation efforts of its CSR initiatives.

strategic communication action plan

Step 3: Identify your target audience and stakeholders

There are two types of audience to consider when planning your communication: primary audience and secondary audience. The primary target audience is the people or group of people for whom you want to change the way they think, act or behave in relationship to your CSR initiatives. These may be your employees, members of the community, consumers of your product or services, or government officials. The secondary audience is the people or group of people who have an influence on the primary audience. For example, if your primary audience is school-going children, parents or teachers could be the secondary audience as they have influence on the actions of these children.

strategic communication action plan

This process may also tell you what your audience thinks about your programme or the work your organisation is doing. You may discover that you need to have different messages for different audiences. Based on what you want to achieve, this stage helps you paint a picture of the people you need to reach and engage.

Step 4: Develop key messages and a “big idea”

Having identified your audience(s), you will need to develop the key messages that resonate with each audience group. One company approached this by developing one “big idea” that was encapsulated in a simple, catchy, easily memorised theme and slogan. This serves as the platform that helps you deliver messages that are consistent, coherent and likely to influence the way your target audience thinks and relates to your CSR initiatives.

Step 5: Develop a strategy and implementation plan

Once you know what you want to convey (the key messages), the next step is to develop a strategy for getting these messages out to your audiences. If your goal is your destination, then strategy is the road map to that destination.

The resources available to achieve your goals are usually limited, and having a strategy helps you plan and make decisions on how to allocate those limited resources. The strategy will include the tactics you need to employ for each audience group, with a timeline and key milestones that must be reached for your communication effort to be considered a success.

It may also be necessary to identify and build the support of stakeholders across a wide range of influencers and opinion leaders in business, professional groups, government and civil society who will help amplify your messages.

strategic communication action plan

However, because the modern world is in constant flux and things can and do change, often at a moment’s notice, we believe any communication strategy you put in place is not cast in stone, but must be malleable, designed to change to reflect the mission, vision, goals and objectives of your organisation.

Step 6: Activate and coordinate implementation

The foregoing processes are important steps in your strategic communication plan, but to achieve your end the whole process must be brought to life. The implementation process will include identifying the most effective channels and means of applying the strategy to deliver your key messages in the most efficient and effective ways to your audience(s).

The objective is to bring these key messages to your audience(s) and build the desired knowledge to influence their attitudes, actions and ultimately the reputation of your organisation.

Once the strategy is in place and activated, then work to oversee and coordinate the implementation so that the communication activities are handled coherently and consistently. For instance, in the example of a campaign targeting university students, the activation involved working with students who have a strong Facebook following to post opinions and generate discussion.

For a campaign targeting decision-makers, it involved preparing position papers and then engaging the media through multiple ways – a news conference, a media workshop to educate them on the issues and one-on-one interviews to articulate the issues more deeply. This may include strengthening the communication capacity of key internal stakeholders in the institution as well as individual members of your team.

Step 7: Assess and learn

This final step is just as important as the other steps. As previously noted, communication is not a one-sided process – it is most effective as dialogue between you and your audiences.

It will, therefore, be imperative that the whole process be evaluated right from the beginning to learn what has worked and what has not, in your particular case or as a lesson from others. The assessment will include indicators to monitor and evaluate specific communication activities and outcomes to determine if the desired changes have occurred in knowledge, attitudes or behaviour among the target audience(s).

The assessment will tell you what worked and how you can build on what worked, or what you should modify or drop altogether to achieve the desired results.

Remember your employees . Research suggests that an organisation’s employees are by far its most credible representatives, so the most direct and practical strategy for building belief in reputation in the world at large is to build it inside your company. Your employees are your most important ambassadors for leveraging your CSR investment.

strategic communication action plan

Do not spend more on communication than on your CSR. Let your CSR initiative speak for itself through the effects it generates.

Provide leadership at the highest level . The CEO is the most credible driver of the company’s reputation-building communication and the CSR story.

This is an abridged extract from CSR and Sustainability, edited by Michael Hopkins. Contributor Lawrence Gikaru is managing director at Apex Porter Novelli, a strategic communications and public relations firm.

Related Reads

Reuters Events is part of Reuters News & Media Ltd, 5 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AQ. Registered in England and Wales: 2505735.

© Reuters Events 2023 | TERMS OF USE | PRIVACY POLICY | ABOUT US | +44 0207 375 7212 |

strategic communication action plan

Presentations Keep your audience engaged.

strategic communication action plan

Documents Formalize your branding.

strategic communication action plan

Videos Add movement to your brand.

strategic communication action plan

Infographics Share information visually.

strategic communication action plan

Printables Create content for printing.

strategic communication action plan

Charts and Graphs Bring life to your data.

strategic communication action plan

Social Media Graphics Create scroll-stopping content.

strategic communication action plan

Mockups Create high-quality mockups in seconds.

strategic communication action plan

Branded Templates new Get a bundle of templates that match your brand.



Data Widgets


Presenter Studio

Free Educational Resources See All

strategic communication action plan

Visme Video Tutorials Watch videos on how to use Visme.

strategic communication action plan

Ebooks Read in-depth knowledge for your industry.

strategic communication action plan

Graphic Design Videos Learn design principles & best practices.

strategic communication action plan

Live Webinars Interact with the experts live.

strategic communication action plan

Free Online Courses Get certified with free online courses.

Our Blog See All

Video & Animations

Data Visualization

For Teams All Teams

strategic communication action plan

Agencies & Consulting Manage multiple brands.

strategic communication action plan

Education Use Visme in the classroom.

strategic communication action plan

Nonprofit Bring life to your cause.

strategic communication action plan

Enterprises Create visual content at scale.

strategic communication action plan

Marketers Creative content that shines.

strategic communication action plan

Human Resources Improve internal communication.

strategic communication action plan

Sales Teams Close more deals with your content.

strategic communication action plan

Training Development Create interactive training content.

Templates See All

strategic communication action plan

Presentations 1000+ layouts and themes.

strategic communication action plan

Chart & Maps Get data visualization ideas.

strategic communication action plan

Social Media Graphics Browse templates for every platform.

strategic communication action plan

Infographics Find the right format for your information.

strategic communication action plan

Documents Templates for every business document.

strategic communication action plan

Videos & GIFs Find the perfect preanimated template.

Branded Templates Get a bundle of templates that match your brand.

Website Graphics

Survey Results

10 Communication Plan Templates for Professional Use (2023)

10 Communication Plan Templates for Professional Use (2023)

Written by: Orana Velarde

strategic communication action plan

Communication plans can help you deliver information timely and effectively to stakeholders in various situations — from a PR crisis to a new product launch. They are excellent tools to share with your team and prepare them to communicate properly in any given situation.

If you're intimidated by the idea of creating a communication plan from scratch, it's okay. You can simply use a pre-designed communication plan template to speed up the process.

We've put together a list of 10 professional communication plan examples for various use cases.

The best part?

You can edit these communication plan templates online and download them or share them with your team.

Here's a short selection of easy-to-edit Communication plan templates you can edit, share and download with Visme. View more below:

strategic communication action plan

Just choose the category from the list below that best describes your needs and start designing a successful communication strategy.

10 Communication Plan Templates for Professionals

Template #1: strategic communication plan, template #2: crisis communication plan, template #3: project management communication plan, template #4: internal communication plan, template #5: simple communication plan, template #6: change management communication plan, template #7: stakeholder communication plan, template #8: school communication plan, template #9: marketing communication plan, template #10: product launch communication plan, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Before you start scrolling, here’s a video on how to create attractive documents with Visme to get your creative juices flowing.

strategic communication action plan

Strategic communication plans are essential documents that corporations, organizations and companies use to maintain stable and constant communication with their audiences.

strategic communication action plan

Customize this template and make it your own! Edit and Download

This sleek communication plan example uses contrasting desaturation with bright colors to bring attention to the content. The placeholder sections in the table of contents include:

Adding your content is easy as all you have to do is copy and paste into the template and adjust as needed. If you want to add pages with a type of graph or more text content, just duplicate a page. Use the same colors as the rest of the design to have a balanced look and feel.

Every startup, company or enterprise is bound to have a moment of crisis to deal with. It could be an unhappy customer or a global pandemic. For that reason, you need a crisis communication plan to specify actionable practices in any crisis.

strategic communication action plan

In a crisis communication plan, all involved parties have access to the necessary information. Our designers have put together a collection of pages and sections to get you started, including:

To personalize your brand’s communication plan, simply change the colors and fonts using your Brand Kit . If you need more pages for more key messaging sections, it’s easy to duplicate the pre-designed pages and add your content.

You’ll need to adjust the layout a bit, so the pages don’t look the same. Change the image background for another and customize the text boxes and icons to match your content.

Is your team working on a project together and you need to keep everything in check and on track? Are you looking for a way to let everyone know what needs to be done and when?

This project management communication plan sample is just what you need as the basis of your action plan.

strategic communication action plan

Be clear and direct about what needs to be done, by whom and when. Putting it all in this project management communication framework template is going to create transparency within your team.

Your job as a project manager is to make sure everything is taken care of correctly and on time. When you use a communication plan like this one, your success rates go up.

Use the table of contents in this project management plan to outline all necessary information and key messaging. Explain how and when deliverables are to be expected and who are the key stakeholders in the process.

Link to collaboration channels and give instructions on how to use them best. Give instructions on how to name files and where everything is stored in the cloud.

Working on a project together takes careful planning. A project manager needs to ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them and who to contact about different things.

If you’re a project manager or are in charge of an internal project for your company, this internal communications strategy template is just what you need to keep the team on track.

strategic communication action plan

Our professionally designed internal communication plan is easy to use and customize with your content. The sections are separated as follows:

If you plan to share your communication plan as a digital PDF, add links to the respective pages. This way, the reader can navigate to their desired content from the table of contents .

Use the timeline feature in the implementation section to visually schedule the tasks for the project. If you need to make the timeline longer, simply duplicate the page. Customize the colors and fonts for your brand using your Brand Kit.

Communications planning doesn’t always need to be complicated. A simple communication plan will do the job for any small project. All you need for effective communication is the key messaging and the relevant links to the preferred communication channels.

strategic communication action plan

This communication plan template is simple and keeps things to only two pages. It effectively uses icons , progress bars and a table format to visualize possible situations of crisis, and the appropriate response to each situation.

You can remove the cover page and download your communication plan as a single-page infographic . Or you can add more pages to turn it into a more comprehensive document.

If you’ve ever had to change something inside a company, you know how difficult it can be to it seamlessly. Change can be about a piece of software, a physical working location, a process or system.

A change management communication plan will help everyone involved in the transition by making sure they’re all on the same page.

strategic communication action plan

This change management communication plan designed by our Visme designers uses placeholder content for a change in CRM. The sections apply to any type of change and are:

This is the perfect communication plan template to help your team change something seamlessly without affecting other aspects of your work.

Having many stakeholders aiming for the same goal requires good organization and planning. Make sure everyone’s on board with this stakeholder communication plan example.

strategic communication action plan

This professionally designed template offers all the pages you need to organize the information for your stakeholders. Share everything they need to know about your company, the goals, objectives, changes, projections and more.

Plus, share all relevant information like the dates for team meetings, a project roadmap , and the manager’s phone number.

If you need more pages than the template provides, simply duplicate and add your content in text boxes. Also, maintain a visual balance in the general look-and-feel of the page.

To keep the communication plan easy to read and understand, link to longer content with popups or external hyperlinks. Make sure to share the finished communication plan as a digital PDF file.

Ensuring that all communication levels are clear and concise within a school setting can be difficult without a communication plan. That's because precise instructions and direction are often essential for teachers, staff, parents and managerial positions.

strategic communication action plan

Our school communication plan sample was created especially for you by our Visme designers. The three main sections cover communication strategies at three different levels:

Customize the tables with your school colors and input your specific information into the cells. Make your communication plan interactive by adding links to the correct communication channels for direct messaging and virtual or in-person meetings, and then share it online.

Marketing and social media campaigns are successful when everyone involved knows what their part is in the process and what their tasks are. Setting every team member up with the information they need to reach a common goal is the primary purpose of this marketing communication plan.

strategic communication action plan

This marketing communication plan example has a colorful, modern feel. Circles form a big part of the visual layout, making the content easier to digest and more interesting to look at.

In this plan template, there are four sections for your key messaging:

The SWOT analysis page is a practical guide to see where your project has weaknesses and what strengths will pull it through. On the last page, you’ll find a timeline to help keep every team member on track of their tasks and in what timeframe.

Easily customize the template to match your brand by using your Brand Kit. Share the template with team members to get feedback and collaborate on the final design.

When launching a new product, it’s good practice to work as a team. The best way to make sure all the pre-launch tasks are taken care of is to create a product launch communication plan.

strategic communication action plan

In the six pages of this attractive product launch communication plan, you can lay out all the steps for your product’s pre and post-launch activities.

Use the timeline page to explain in detail what needs to happen. Specify which communication teams take care of what tasks, like the press release and influencer outreach emails.

Use hyperlinks to more in-depth content for specific teams and don’t forget to share the links to relevant communication platforms.

Use the sections set up for you in the template or create your own. Your key messaging will probably be similar to this but it’s easy to personalize or add more.

Make sure to include the steps for recording post-launch metrics as these are just as important as the ones done pre-launch. Plus, measurable insights can help with other product launch projects in the future.

Design Your Own Communication Plan Online

Creating a communication plan is easy when you have practical and inspiring templates to guide you. To get started with designing your communication plan, simply choose the template that best fits your vision and input your content.

If you're new to Visme, use one of the free templates and adjust the content accordingly. That said, you’d be surprised at what you can do with a premium Visme subscription .

With a premium subscription, not only will you get access to premium templates and graphic assets, you'll also be able to create any type of visual — from documents and presentations to infographics, charts, surveys, social media graphics and more.

You'll also be able to download your designs in multiple formats, from image to PDF to HTML5, work in collaboration with your team, create a Brand Kit and much more.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free Visme account today and create a great-looking, comprehensive communication plan to share with your team.

Are you still weighing your options about creating a communication plan? Hopefully, the templates on this list inspired you to take a look and give them a try.

But you might still need a little help deciding if this is a suitable document for what you need. That’s why we’ve put together the most common questions asked about communications plans.

Q1. What is a communication plan?

A communication plan is a strategic document that shares coordinated, consistent and directed messaging for achieving a specific goal, such as managing a PR crisis or successfully launching a new product.

A communication plan can be printed, sent via email as a PDF or shared as a live online link. A well-structured and effective communication plan is the single most crucial factor of project management in any industry and for every use case.

Q2. What is the purpose of a communication plan?

The primary purpose of a communication plan is to deliver consistent information about a shared goal. It keeps everyone on the team on the same page about what needs to be done, how and when.

A communication plan solves many problems that teams usually face when there’s no clear direction for everyone involved. With a clear communication plan, everything is explained in detail and easy to follow.

All communication needs are laid out in detailed sections covering topics from goals and objectives to timelines and schedules . A communication plan brings together all the communication channels into one single document. From there, team members can spread out through relevant links and supplementary documents.

Q3. What’s included in a communication plan?

Every communication plan example is different, just how every project is different. But what remains the same across the majority of communication plans is the relevant and strategic information.

A standard communication plan includes sections like:

Apart from the list above, a communication plan must also include details pertinent to the specific project. If there are folders or systems that people need to access for the project’s success, list them and explain how to use them.

Q4. What is the first step in communication planning?

The first step in communication planning is to define the goals you and your team want to achieve. Outline both short and long-term goals so it’s easier to plan the project as pieces of a whole.

Following the goals, set the objectives. Explain how you plan to achieve these with the help of timelines, schedules, and tables. Include a list of involved stakeholders and links to further means of collaboration.

Q5. What are the key messages of a communication plan?

A communication plan’s specific key messages will depend on what you want to achieve and who your target audience is. Your key messages are the most essential communication points for any particular project.

For example, let’s say you’re creating a communication plan for a product launch. The key messages would cover;

An excellent way to make sure all key messaging is clear is to add each one as an item in the Table of Contents.

Q6. What’s the best tool to create a communication plan online?

If you want to create a communication plan that makes an impact, use Visme! Our professionally designed communication plan templates will look amazing with your content and be super easy to customize.

With a Visme communication plan, you can include data visualizations using data from a Microsoft Excel sheet. In fact, if you’ve been creating project communication plans in an Excel spreadsheet, it’s time to upgrade your communication efforts!

Knock your team out of their seats with your impactful communication plan!

Head over to Visme's professional document creator and look through the template library, or click on any of the communication plan template buttons in the list above.

Design beautiful visual content you can be proud of.

strategic communication action plan

Recommended content for you:

8 Expert-Level Time Management Strategies to Boost Productivity

Speak Loudly. Speak Visually.

Receive weekly practical tips on how to communicate visually, right in your inbox.

Please leave this field empty.

Create Stunning Content!

Design visual brand experiences for your business whether you are a seasoned designer or a total novice.

strategic communication action plan

About the Author

Orana is a multi-faceted creative. She is a content writer, artist, and designer. She travels the world with her family and is currently in Istanbul. Find out more about her work at

strategic communication action plan

A guide to writing a strategic communication and content plan

Writing a strategic communication plan can save time and money by creating communication and content that achieves goals.

Whenever someone says, “I want to create [insert name of content here, like a video , a podcast , an article ] about [insert topic here, like our work or our program ] my first question is always:

The answer is usually along the lines of, “Because I want people to know about it.”

That’s fair. Of course they do. There are a lot of great programs and missions out there, and a lot of people doing the hard work of making the world a better place.

But I always like to ask the question of why because we can make great content all day, but without a plan in place guiding the content creation, as well as the communication of that content, organizations run the risk of making great content that hardly anyone ever sees or hears.

Or, they run the risk of making content that doesn’t make sense for their audience.

They also run the risk of making content that doesn’t do the work they intended, and therefore doesn’t maximize the time or money invested in creating it.

What they really want is for that content to help achieve a specific goal, which is likely something deeper than just knowing about a program. But without clarity around what the content should help achieve, there’s a real risk of not meeting the objective.

This is why it is so important to create a strategic communication plan before developing content.

A communication planning guide for small businesses and nonprofits

This post offers a guide to help small businesses and nonprofits create a strategic communication plan that will help manage content creation and communication and marketing outreach more effectively. I’ll share a three-section framework for you to try that drills down from overall strategy to individual content creation and distribution. I’ll cover what you need to do, why, and how, step-by-step.

You can use this guide as a starting point for creating your strategic communication plan. Once you have these pieces, you can tweak as needed based on your organization’s needs. Regardless of where you end up, the important part is that you get your plans written down and organized so that you can create more effective communications that achieve your goals, and save you time and money along the way.

Let’s connect on Instagram:

strategic communication action plan

How to Set Up Your Strategic communication planning document

I am a proponent of as few management documents as possible to keep things simple, organized, and achievable. Especially for smaller teams and organizations, you don’t need a dozen different documents for managing your communication program. This framework consists of one overall planning document and one additional spreadsheet, which should be linked from the main document. A Word or PowerPoint document plus an Excel spreadsheet can be all you need for your strategic communication plan.

The main document has your overall thinking, and the linked spreadsheet becomes your living workbook for creating and managing your communications.

How to develop a strategic communication plan

Your Strategic Communication Plan will document what you communicate (and/or market), why, and how you’ll do it. You can break your plan into three sections:

Communication strategy – what you’ll do and why

Communication plan – how you’ll do it

Content management plan - how you will craft and manage content to support your plan

Open up a blank document on the other screen and let’s dive in to each section.

Section 1: Communication strategy

As stated above, strategy is all about what and why. What business result are you looking for? Why are you communicating with your audience? What’s the goal for your communications? Who is it for? What are you trying to achieve and why are you trying to achieve it?

A communication strategy is high-level, usually to support an organization’s business goals. Your communication strategy can have the following elements:

Business objectives (What specifically are you trying to achieve? Think SMART goals here.)

Target audience(s) & insights (based on experience and research)

Communication goals (what you want people to know, feel or do)

Key messages (based on a combination of target audience insights & communication goals)

Branding guidelines

Available resources (financial, staffing, etc.)

Internal/external background information (challenges, industry trends, relevant competitor information)

Key Performance Indicators (KPI - indications that you are reaching the goal)

You’ll likely have several audiences (donors, community members, volunteers, etc.), and your goals for each might vary. Here is an excellent guide to planning based on audience personas and how to create them.

Example: You may decide in your communication strategy that you want to make sure more people in your community (audience) know about your organization’s events (communication goal), because you want to increase community involvement at your events by 5% (business objective). You know that many parents in your community like family-friendly events, so a key message might be that the event is kid-friendly. You might also include research for how people in your community get their information (audience insight) and new trends within your industry that might influence specific parts of your event (background information), and any budget or staffing considerations. A KPI might be that more people visit your event website.

Section 2: Communication plan

Your communication plan uses your strategic thinking to lay out how you’ll get from point A to point B. It gets into the tactics of how you’ll achieve your goals. This part should be reviewed on a regular basis.

A communication plan can include the following:

Communication objectives (specifically what you want to increase or decrease)

Overall categories of your communications/content (also known as pillars or buckets)

Channel list (include current best practices for each channel)

Channel strategy (specifics of how you’ll use each channel – see section below)

Content formats (what types of content do you need to create?)

High-level editorial themes over period of time (based on your pillars, organizational events, and research)

Constraints & challenges

Point person/teams

Each of your chosen channels needs a strategy within your communication plan. A table or grid with channels across the top and the following list down the lefthand side should work well. Keep in mind that your website is a channel as well, and you need to manage it. Each channel should have:

Tools (such as your website platform or social media management tool)

Target audience

Audience-building strategies

Frequency of communication

Point person

Content types

Placing each channel and it’s strategy in a grid will help you see how the content you create in one section can be utilized across other channels around the same time. You should start to see how you can maximize one piece of content in different ways to save you time (and therefore money).

Example, continued: Your communication plan will consider how you’ll reach people in your community. You think about what your audience wants to know from you. Your research led you to believe your audiences like to receive emails and are active on Instagram and Facebook. You decide that you’ll become active on those channels because managing those channels seems achievable for your organization – you think you can actually keep up with regularly engaging on those communication channels (this is just as important as the channels your audience uses).

In the channel grid section, you create a column labeled “Email” and list details how you’ll go about your email program. Each row will includes the information in the list above, laying out your email strategy row by row. You do the same for the “Instagram” column and the “Facebook” column as well. You have a website, so you add that column as well.

You know that you’ll want to create blog articles for your website, and you’ll use the blog content to populate a lot of your content for your emails and social media.

You know in certain months you’ll want to focus on certain topics, and you know the types of content you need to create for your channels from your channel grid work. You think about your big spring event, and note that as your editorial theme around that time. You consider that you do not have much photography of your events and programs, and decide to check into hiring a photographer. You make a note of that under “Constraints.” You set aside time on your calendar to regularly review and note how your channels are performing and how you are doing towards your objectives.

Finding this guide helpful? Pin it to Pinterest!

How to write a strategic communication plan in three sections, step-by-step

Section 3: Content Management Plan

To create information for your channels in order to connect with specific audiences and share the information you think your audience is interested in (based on your research in the communication strategy section), you need to create a content management plan. You will regularly work in this document.

Content is the information you share across your channels. It might be your blog articles, your images, your stories in your newsletter, your microblogs on social media, and more. Your channels are the delivery method, and your content is the main show. Your content supports your communication strategy.

Because it’s easier to create calendars and columned lists in another document format, such as excel or a content management platform, you may want to include a link within your strategic plan instead of trying to capture this information right in your main document. Each can be a tab in a spreadsheet.

To create your content management plan, you can consider creating the following sections in your spreadsheet:

Editorial calendar – this tab will illustrate your overall themes for a period of time, such as a year, and will note holidays and important dates for your organization. This gives a big-picture overview of what you’ll need to consider when you create your content plan and what content you need to think about developing. (You sketched this in your communication plan section, and are repeating it here.)

Content plan calendar – this is a date-based, short-term look at what you want to share across your platforms. It might only stretch for a few weeks. This tab is where you illustrate what content you’ll share, on what channel, and on what day.

You’ll take a look at your editorial calendar and note down the themes for the planning period, as well as important holidays and events. You’ll think about what information you should share with your audiences that are relevant to that time, based on your themes, holidays, and events (as well as your capacity). You’ll note what topics you’ll cover on what channel and in what format (a relevant quote from your blog along with a link for your Facebook channel, for example). Your content plan will be flexible and updated regularly, in advance of the time period it covers.

Here’s what it can include:

Calendar/date view + important dates/events noted (along one axis)

Channels (along the other axis)

Upcoming topics/formats based on communication plan, per channel and date

Content production calendar – this tab is a view of specifically what’s being produced based on your content plan, when it’s set to be complete, and who is creating it, as well as any terms you want to include (for SEO). It might help to group related content in the same section. For example, if you are creating a blog post, you might need a summary to include in an email. You’ll want to add the summary as a line item related to the main content.

Here’s what it can include across the top:

Content title

Point person/contractor

Logistical needs (e.g., interviewee, location for video shoot)

Ideas by category – this tab is your list of ideas for any future content creation. Keeping an idea list within your content management plan can be helpful when you are planning upcoming content. SEO and keyword research might help with generating ideas.

Content archive – This is a list of what you’ve created in the past and where those assets are stored. This is an important part of communication planning because you’ll want to get as much mileage out of one piece of content as possible. For example, one blog post, especially an evergreen post like a how-to, can be used and reused over time. When you’re thinking about what content you need to share, you’ll want to consider what you’ve already created on that topic and whether you can use that content.

Published date

Storage location/link

Hootsuite shares some great examples for how to set up social media and content calendars that might be helpful.

Example: Let’s consider the content management plan through our example. It’s March and you are planning April’s content. You noted in your Editorial calendar that you wanted to highlight your event in April. You think about topics around that event for your content plan.

A key message is that the event is kid-friendly, so you know that can be an area of focus. You decide that a story about a family who went to the event and loved it might encourage others to attend. You’ll know you need to find photos, do an interview, and write a story. You note this down in your production calendar and assign someone (or a team or contractor) to work on it. In April, you share this content across your channels on the specified date. Later, you look at how the story performed and note it in your content archive.

A list to help write a strategic communication plan in three sections.

Planning needs for specific pieces of content

And finally, for individual pieces of content (and especially for larger content projects like a nonprofit podcast episode or audio show ) like those listed in your production calendar, you’ll want to create project plans and schedules. These won’t be a part of your strategic document, but I want to note the importance of planning these pieces. You’ll want to note any strategic considerations and schedule out all the elements of content creation, from the project brief to interviews to editing to publishing. This will help ensure it gets done on time.

Final thoughts on developing a communication PLAN

Now you have a guide for creating your strategic communication plan in three sections, in no more than a couple of documents, to make management of your communications and content a little more straightforward.

I’ve covered a lot in this post. But as you can see, having a strategy and a plan behind your communications and content is a critical part of management, and you should do those steps before creating your content.

A good strategic communication plan like the one you can create using this guide will save time and money. You’ll think about what it is you should really be communicating and where, the needs of your audience, and how your content works by channel. You’ll see how content can be used in multiple ways across multiple channels. You’ll know exactly what you need to create for every topic and for each channel.

I realize this sounds like a lot of work. And it is, at first. But it’s important, foundational work. Strategy and planning ensure you create communications, like articles, podcasts, videos, and more, that resonate with your target audience. It helps ensure that your target audience will actually receive your messages through one of your channels. And, it helps you manage your work more effectively and efficiently so you can focus more time on fulfilling your mission.

(This post was edited from its original version. Read more about why you need a strategic communication plan , which was originally published as part of this post.)

Comments or questions? Please DM me on social media.

For more of my communications and content, subscribe to my biweekly emails and follow me on social media.

Photo at top by Jamie Street on Unsplash

More articles you might enjoy:

Why your nonprofit needs an Audio Case for Support logo

Build plans, manage results, & achieve more

Learn about the AchieveIt Difference vs other similar tools

We're more than just a software, we're a true partner

Best practices on strategy, planning, & execution

Real-world examples of organizations that have trusted AchieveIt

Ready-to-use templates to take planning to the next level

Research-driven guides to help your strategy excel

Pre-recorded & upcoming webinars on everything strategy & planning

13 Key Steps to Communicating Your Strategic Plan


blog , Strategic Plan

Standard Post

Creating a strategic plan is quite an undertaking for any business. Not only are you often hiring outside firms to facilitate the process, but you are also using an enormous amount of internal resources to gather data, convert it into meaningful information, and sort that data during over 3-5 days of meetings with your key players.

What is fascinating, is how often this effort fails– not in terms of determining the business’ path forward, but in disseminating the information broadly and effectively to all the members of the organization, especially those that were not part of the decision-making team. A great  strategic plan  should have focus and clarity around vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and actions. In order to elevate engagement and participation, a communication plan needs to provide great simplicity, clarity, and focus, without ambiguity.

Communication Strategy in 13 Steps

1. call an all-company meeting.

This meeting is focused on communicating the organization’s strategic plan. If you have any thoughts that information from your senior team will leak before the meeting, use email or text message to get out in front of your messaging.

2. Who’s coming to the party

Review in detail who will be present and what level of detail they will need. You want to create comfort around any changes that might affect them. Think through the negative, as well as positive aspects of the strategic plan. When it comes to change, people will always assume the worst, so it’s important to get it all out at once.

Step 2 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

3. Provide conceptual tools

During the meeting, describe the basic principles of a strategic plan, as well as any new terms or definitions of terms. For example, if you discuss EBITDA, (earnings before interest tax and depreciation) don’t assume all your employees will understand what you mean. If you use a Balanced Scorecard Model, take employees through the basics so that they can understand the meaning behind what you are about to explain to them. The more they truly understand, the more buy-in you will receive from them in the end.

4. Tell and retell the history

Provide a broader base about the history of the organization in order to create context around how strategy plays a part in the growth of the company. You can provide the key elements of what has led to your growth, challenges in the past, and how that has informed your future direction.

Step 4 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

5. Reveal the competition

Describe your competitive advantages and disadvantages with specific examples. In other words, name the competition. It may surprise you to know how few people actually think about the impact competition has on your business and direction.

6. Compare and contrast

Compare past planning processes with current ones. Some organizations have had very bad strategic plans or poor execution of plans, which can give you a bad rap among employees. If you are not specific about how this year is different from the past, you may have a tsunami of resistance against your planning before you have even begun to change it. Get ahead of the resistance by naming the difference.

Step 6 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

7. Connect employees to the plan

Describe how this strategic plan differs from one in the past. If you went out to employees with surveys, make sure they understand how they participated in the creation of the plan. Making connection points with employees will help find a mental place for them to store the information you are sharing. Without this many companies disconnect with their people and it directly impacts employee engagement. Dow Corning uses a matrix that focuses on the Intellectual Understanding and Emotional Commitment of their employees. Those that are high in both are considered Champions. If you execute your communication plan well you are more likely to develop Champions within your organization.


Leading from the Center 

Download this guide to understand how to optimize power and influence to accomplish your most important initiatives.  

Leading from the Center

8. Describe the plan

Explain what barriers may arise that could potentially prevent your organization from achieving its vision, mission, objectives, and actions. Remember that all employees have different levels of understanding, so make sure that you not only describe the numerics of the strategic plan but also what the terms mean and why they are meaningful to understanding the business. Differentiate between signal and noise for your employees to determine relevancy.

Step 8 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

9. Provide handouts of the plan

Don’t hand out information that you wouldn’t want your competitors to see – there is a fine line of  ‘what’ information to share with ‘who’ within the company). If your strategic plan is in book format, do yourself a favor and don’t pass that out. Provide only the critical information that will help support your employees in doing their job.

10. Point out the differences

Describe how you would imagine these new differences will show up in behaviors throughout the organization. The greater clarity people have around the potential impact of these new changes, the higher your return on both your planning and your communication delivery.

Step 10 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

11. Ask them what they believe will be different and the same

Often times leaders don’t want to ask questions because they are afraid of what they may hear. Remember, just because you don’t hear it doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about it and discussing it among themselves. The only difference between you asking is that you now will know what is going on for them.

12. Allow them to ask you questions

Often times this model puts you as the leader on a pedestal, which is not the leader of today. So be careful about showing up as the leader with all the answers.

Step 12 to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

13. Reinforce Communication Strategy in regular intervals and in different ways

If you use some or all of these steps in your communication strategy you will reduce resistance and increase the likelihood of strategic plan success.

Join The Bridge Community

Join other strategy leaders to problem solve, network, and bridge the gap between strategy & execution. 

strategic communication action plan

About the Guest Contributor Gary Cohen ( CO2 Partners, LLC ) Managing Partner

Gary is famous for asking; he wrote the book on it. He probes his clients with the only kind of questions that can produce change: unexpected ones. From the client’s answers, this dedicated Minneapolis leadership coach offers not just insights but alternative courses of action.

CO2 Partners

“There always are several good roads to Rome,” he says. “The key is to identify the one that best fits both your head and heart.” And he focuses on Rome–and not the possible curves in the road–for a simple reason: most obstacles are artificial, and the rest are in our heads. “Clear your head,” he has said, “and the obstacles disappear.” This may explain why Gary’s clients call him “eccentric in exactly the right way.” He knows that unusual success comes from unusual approaches, and–as Gary often has said, “I never have met a client who wanted to be ordinary.”

CEO experience: Managing Partner and Co-founder of CO2 Partners, LLC in 2004 an Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Firm. Founded ACI in 1989 with $4,000 and two employees, then grew 48 percent compounded annually for 12 years to over 2,200 employees and went public on the NASDAQ; Venture Magazine’s Top 10 Best Performing Businesses; and Business Journal’s 25 Fastest Growing Small Public Companies and Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.

Board memberships: All Kinds of Minds, Harvard Alumni Club of Minnesota, IC Systems, Inc., Richfield Bank, ACI, Telecentric, Outward Bound National Advisory, HBS Alumni Club of Minnesota (Past President), and Minnesota Zoo Foundation among others.

Author: Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions (McGraw Hill 2009); articles for Business Week, Leader to Leader, and Forbes. Clients: Unilever, Intel, Genentech, MetLife, Thermo-Fisher, and 100 -plus entrepreneur-led businesses.

Education: University of Minnesota (B.A); Harvard Business School; Covey Leadership Center; Disney Leadership Institute; and Aspen Institute Crown Fellow. Want to know more about Gary’s approach to leadership and life? Read his blog, Elements of Leadership.

Ready to improve your plan execution?

Organizations of all types leverage AchieveIt to connect, manage, and execute their most important initiatives. Replace manual processes & siloed systems with interconnected plans in a single, automated platform .

Related Posts

What Is a Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

What Is a Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

Tactic vs. Strategy: What's the Difference?

Tactic vs. Strategy: What’s the Difference?

A Quick Guide to Critical Success Factors

A Quick Guide to Critical Success Factors



strategic communication action plan


Stay in the know. Join our community of subscribers.

Subscribe for plan execution content sent directly to your inbox.

Enjoying the sneak peek? 

Get in touch for a live walkthrough..

Strategic Communication – Definition, Importance and Objectives

Strategic communication is a type of communication that includes an agenda and a master plan as per the behavioral preferences of target audiences to fulfill the organization’s mission. Public relations, mass communication, brand communication, media relations, internal communication, and corporate communication are all part of strategic communication.

Strategic corporate communications are delivered through a range of mediums such as press releases, advertising, traditional marketing, internal messages, public affairs, interviews, digital marketing, white papers, education programs, and more.

Alternative business management terms of strategic communication are integrated (marketing) communications, corporate communications, organizational communication, and institutional communication, etc.

Definition: Strategic communication is defined as effective message development and delivery by using high levels of planning and audience research as per business objectives to meet organizational goals. It is responsible for managing and channelizing the internal and external communication processes of an organization.

The systematic planning and realization of information flow, communication, media development, and image care on a long-term perspective could be classified as strategic communication goals. It is associated with policy-making and guidance for consistent information activity in an organization as well as in between two or more organizations.

All in all, when your communication management is compatible with the organization’s mission, vision, and values and may improve market position and competence among competitors, it is considered strategic.

As per According to the author Christopher Paul (RAND)-

Strategic Communication is the coordinated actions, messages, images, and other forms of signaling or engagement intended to inform, influence, or persuade selected audiences in support of national objectives.

This covers another aspect of strategic communication that works as a key tool against adversaries that might threaten the values that the United States support. It is used for promoting democratization and good governance, and it has been quite vital in winning the Cold War and in the 21st Century, it is effectively used against extremist organizations

According to the Professor Dennis Murphy of the U.S. Army War College-

Strategic communication is an emergent concept with several definitions floating about, no doctrinal base, and a lexicon that fails completely to convey the desired understanding.

Few other official definitions of strategic communications are-

As per the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associate Terms (12 August 2012), strategic communications are-

Focused United States Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of United States Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instrument of national power.

The strategic communication definition as per White House 2010 National Framework for Strategic Communication-

Strategic communication(s) refers to (a) the synchronization of words and deeds and how they will be perceived by selected audiences, as well as (b) programs and activities deliberately aimed at communicating and engaging with intended audiences, including those implemented by public affairs, public diplomacy, and information operations professionals.

Some of the key reasons behind the importance of strategic communications are-

Objectives of Strategic Communications

To have an object, the first step is to create a business plan that explains how the company was founded and assesses how solid its core is.

Ascertain that the alignment is in line with the organization’s current understanding of its situation. This is to assist in making any necessary adjustments or enhancements.

Research and analysis, task analysis, execution, and assessment are all part of the planning process—this aids in determining where the company is now and where it will be in the future.

To provide a measure of achievement, objectives should have specified endpoints. A marketer can build a marketing strategy by first analyzing the consumer and the marketplace.

Understanding what is going on in the organization will make developing the marketing strategy easier because the vision will be clear, and the objectives will be SMART. The purposes should be explicit, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive when implementing SMART goals.

Make a list of possible scenarios for each of the objectives set out by the company and its consumers and methods to support these strategies and goals. Meet as a group to debate the merits of each proposed plan for the company.

The discussion should focus on the systems that are most likely to be implemented and those that are unlikely to be implemented. Some strategies will be impossible to implement, difficult to implement, or no solution will be available; thus, they will be crossed off the list.

This shortens the list and aids in the selection of the best remaining strategies. The primary goal is to meet the organization’s objectives.

Have the specifics of those strategies and techniques written down so that everyone understands the goal and what needs to be focused on. Explain how it will be successful, how it will be measured, how long it will take, and who will be in charge.

To ensure that everything is well-planned and that these strategies and techniques work. A vital component of this is to plan wisely; planning assists a firm in achieving its goal and aids in group communication. Everyone will be given a task to ensure that these plans and techniques are implemented.

Strategy Communication Plan.

A communications strategy is a strategy for reaching out to your intended audience.

It specifies who you’ll speak with, why you’ll talk to them, how and when you’ll speak with them, what form of communication the content should take, and which channels you should use to distribute it.

Everyone is more likely to stay on board if there is a clear purpose. Ascertain that the proper people receive your message when they are ready and in the manner you choose.

Create a market map that identifies the messaging about your organization or cause that they need to hear to take action.

Your communications strategy should describe when the message should be delivered, including whether it should be given immediately or later.

Who is responsible for Strategic Communication?

Professionals in communications should be in charge of interacting with different audiences, and they should do so frequently.

Human resources departments may also need to inform employees about any changes that affect them. Decide who will deliver important messages after you’ve defined them.

Provide timely information while also keeping the statement concise so that employees can readily consume it.

Every company makes sure that the employees assigned for the work are doing their best to their ability. The employees should feel at ease while working and also deliver their work with high efficiency.

A highly efficient group of workers can take a company to a new height. An engaging work environment helps the employees to discuss their problems, insights, and upcoming plans with their peers so that each individual can grow fully.

Strategic communication comes into the picture to hold the hands of the employees and walk together to create a better future.

Communication acts as a backbone of the company. It keeps all the staff together by helping them to engage with each other. These days, mental health is given importance by almost every multinational company to create a positive workplace for individuals.

Strategic communication is communication designed by professionals to increase the company’s strategic working at the micro-level. Strategic communication manages the communication between every employee to make him stay connected to every department.

Every week there are various activities to bring all the employees together and hold multiple sessions, competitions, contests, and polls to engage employees and create a healthy competition.

The latest research suggests that companies with an engaging platform perform better than those with no competition at all. Healthy competition is necessary so that the input received from every individual helps make a high turnover.

It increases the company’s value ten folds by increasing ratings, profitability, customer ratings, and overall name in the market. Social Media hacks can also help in increasing the overall productivity of the company.

Creative activities like video making, polls, slogan writing, social posts boost the company’s image in the market and encourage many new employees to join the venture together.

Applications of Strategic Communication

Applications of Strategic Communication

Like every character plays an exclusive role in a story, strategic communication also helps many industries flourish. The applications of Strategic Communication are:

Defense is the most important industry in which strategic communication finds its place.

Recently, NATO approved strategic communication policy helps in support of alliance policies, military policies, public and commercial policies, and information and psychological operations.

It helps in guiding and taking decisions wisely as a whole. It is recommended to be implemented at an early stage so that the organization’s functionality is smooth.

The commercial organization finds effective use of strategic communication in raising cultural awareness, engaging the work environment, corporate identity, and ethical work policies.

Strategic communication helps in integrating the company’s approach with the expectation of the customer by preventing any chance of the misinformation conveyed from the company’s end.

Hence, the company’s image is not tarnished by claiming false promises and living up to the client’s expectations fully. Strategic Communication also helps stay ahead of the competitors by renewing the company’s policy from time to time and coming up with new strategies to stay in the competition.

A strategic communication policy laid out by the promotional team helps maintain the brand name in the market.

On the concluding note, it is clear that strategic communication is effective in making strategies and plans as per target audiences to accomplish business objectives.

How effective do you consider strategic communications in the corporate world in accomplishing business goals?

Table of Contents

strategic communication action plan

Job Promotion – Objectives, Types and Example

Adhocracy – Definition, Types and Advantages

Photo of author

Article by:

Runal Mehta

Upskill yourself & Boost your career with our industry-leading Business & Marketing Certifications!

Every year we serve millions of views to aspiring and professional marketers worldwide with the best marketing resources. Start for FREE.

How to Write a Communication Plan in 6 Steps with Editable Templates


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

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, what’s your approach to writing a communication plan.

A communication plan serves as a road map for delivering your message to your target audience in an effective way.

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

Communications Plan Template

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

Refer to this when you are creating your message and selecting media channels.

Want to learn more user research methods ?

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.

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


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.

9+ Communication Strategy Plan Examples – PDF

Communication Strategy Plan Writing Example

communication strategy plan writing example

Strategic Communications Planning Guidelines Example

strategic communications planning guidelines example

Developing Work Plans: Communications Strategy Template Example

developing work plans communications strategy template example

Why Is a Communication Strategy Plan Important?

Strategic communications planning example.

strategic communications planning example

Strategic Communication Plan Template Example

strategic communication plan template example

Strategic Communications and Community Engagement Plan Example

strategic communications and community engagement plan example

Advantages of Having a Thorough and Comprehensive Communication Strategy Plan

Communications Strategy Template Example

communications strategy template example

Strategic Communication Action Plan Outline Example

strategic communication action plan outline example

Helpful Tips in Creating an Impressive Communication Strategy Plan

Communication strategy and action plan example.

communication strategy and action plan example

Communication Strategy Example

communication strategy example

Guidelines to Remember When Developing Communication Strategy Plans

More design, 8+ event plan examples, 7+ annual plan examples, 7+ job plan examples, 7+ weekly plan examples, 6+ parenting plan examples, how to create an executive summary of a marketing plan, define marketing plan and its purpose, how to develop a human resources department business plan, 8+ evaluation plan examples, related articles.

strategic planning communication

Strategic planning communication: 6 tips for getting your company on board

Reading time: about 7 min

Posted by: Lucid Content Team

If you make a strategic plan but no one hears about it, will it make an impact? By our estimate, the outlook is not so good. That’s because a plan is only as good as its implementation. 

In other words, if you want to be successful, you must learn not only how to create a strategic plan for your business, but also how to communicate that plan effectively. 

Easier said than done. 

Use the following tips to improve your strategic plan communication and get employee engagement and buy-in from the ground up.

Why it’s important to effectively communicate your strategic vision

Companies invest a lot of time in developing a strategic plan or vision for the business. However, all that time and resources are wasted if you can’t successfully communicate your vision to the broader organization. 

Not only is that initial investment wasted, but if you can’t align your company strategically, you’re essentially leaving every team to guess at what work is important, what problems or goals to prioritize, and what their ultimate purpose is. 

A sure recipe for misalignment between departments and across the organization. 

This misalignment can cause confusion and inefficiency, competition between teams and departments, and burnout and disengagement among employees.

In other words, without a well-communicated strategic plan, the business cannot move forward effectively or efficiently.   

How to present a strategic plan 

Use the following tips and best practices to communicate your strategic plan effectively and get everyone is on the same page. 

Hold an all-hands meeting 

Announce your vision first at an organization-wide all-hands meeting. Ideally, you will be communicating your plans time and time again in the coming months through various meetings and formats. But it’s important to communicate your plans to the entire organization first so everyone receives the same messaging. 

Telling everyone together will help prevent confusion or misinformation from spreading through the rumor mill and ensure that no one is left out. 

It also gives you the opportunity to answer questions and get initial feedback from the collective group. Be sure to leave time during your meeting to take questions and solicit feedback. Addressing those concerns together can reduce the burden on managers to answer difficult questions and ensures everyone is getting the same answers from the same reliable source.

Then, as you continue to roll out communication and implementation across departments, you can move forward more effectively on the initial feedback you received and address more specific questions case by case and team by team.

Explain the “why”

In your efforts to explain what is changing, don’t forget to also explain why. Change isn’t easy. When you unveil a new strategic plan, you are likely to disrupt your employees’ processes and approaches to their work.

For example, let’s say your new plan includes updates in technology or the adoption of new systems. While you may be able to see how those changes will make your employees’ work easier or more efficient in the long run, they are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of learning a new system, changing well-worn processes that “worked just fine” before, and dealing with the growing pains of a learning curve—which could include lower productivity and even upset customers initially.

Show respect for your people by recognizing what you’re actually asking them to do, and clarify why it’s so important to move forward with the new plan.

As you outline the “why” behind these changes, make sure you do two things: 

1. Create urgency

Why change now? What is the rush? As you explain the purpose behind the new plans, you need to create urgency for why these changes are coming now. What is driving the need to change? 

This will help people both understand why you’re making those changes and help them adopt the same sense of urgency in implementing those plans effectively.

2. Answer what’s in it for “me”

Sometimes high-level strategy can feel irrelevant to the everyday work or processes teams and individuals are doing. As you communicate your plans and vision for the future, make sure you connect the purpose and benefits directly to your employees. 

How does the new strategy improve their work experience? What are the benefits to their team or department? For example, if the new strategic vision will lead to happier customers, explain how that translates to easier customer service calls or higher sales quotas. 

When people feel that change will be good for them (and not just a nebulous bottom line), they will be more engaged in making those plans successful.

Create a framework for teams to align their work with company strategy

Take the guesswork out of alignment by creating a company-wide framework for implementing the new strategy and keeping everyone’s work aligned. A simple but effective approach is to create goals and projects based on the strategic plan. 

For example, Lucid uses OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) , so each team’s projects relate back to the company’s main objectives. 

OKRs help you organize your goals around a strategy and track key results at the end of the period you’re measuring. This process helps teams and individuals not only align their priorities and goals but also clarify ownership and accountabilities. 

When everyone is operating from the same framework, it makes it easier to implement company strategy broadly and consistently so that everyone is aligned. 

Reinforce the strategic plan in future communications

Follow up and follow through to keep the momentum going behind your new strategic plans. Too often, leadership makes the mistake of building up the new strategy on the front end without making that communication consistent throughout the rest of the year and beyond. 

Remember: Communicating your strategic plan shouldn’t be a one-time big announcement. 

Building adoption and aligning your organization to a new vision or goal takes time. Reinforce your message by making your strategy an integral part of your company meetings, company newsletter, employee reviews, and one-on-one conversations. 

Celebrate successes along the way

Implementing a new strategic plan isn’t as simple as checking off a to-do list. There will be questions to answer, problems to solve, and people to win over. This takes time and won’t always be smooth sailing. That’s why it is important to celebrate employee, team, or organizational successes along the way. 

Highlight these individual and collective wins in team and company meetings. Recognizing successes while your company transitions to a new strategy will drive engagement and adoption, leading to greater ownership and accountability throughout the organization. 

Clarify your message with visuals

Strategic plans usually involve lots of terms, projections, and parts. But these details can quickly get lost in translation if you don’t communicate clearly. Help your audience stay engaged and on board by visualizing key information. 

Visuals are a simple but powerful way to support your presentation and clarify your messaging so that everyone understands your vision for the future. Use visuals like flowcharts, graphs, product roadmaps, and organizational models to clarify new processes, roles, and accountabilities.

As teams begin implementing the new strategy, use visuals to improve alignment within and across teams. Lucidchart makes it easy for teams to collaborate and innovate from a single application. Simple collaboration features let team members add feedback or ask clarifying questions around group projects. 

Visual collaboration and communication from the top down and within teams will help your company understand and adopt your new vision faster and more successfully. 

strategic communication action plan

Start diagramming with Lucidchart today—try it for free!

Popular now.

intelligent diagramming

Sign up to get the latest Lucidchart updates and tips delivered to your inbox once a month.

About lucidchart.

Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.

The most popular online Visio alternative , Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.


  1. Strategic Plan Template Nonprofit Elegant Executive Munication Plan

    strategic communication action plan

  2. Strategic Communications Plan Template in 2020 (With images)

    strategic communication action plan

  3. Pin by Mbuso Mwandla on Consulting

    strategic communication action plan

  4. 55+ Strategic Plan Samples

    strategic communication action plan

  5. Internal Communication Plan Example

    strategic communication action plan

  6. Communication Action Plan Template Lovely Stakeholder Engagement Action Plan

    strategic communication action plan



  2. Community Conversations: Strategic Planning and Future Foresight


  4. Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Communication Director olarak görevleriniz nelerdir?

  5. Three Roads Communications 2022 Highlight Reel

  6. Features of strategic management


  1. Five Components Of A Successful Strategic Communications Plan

    A strategic communications plan can help you communicate your message to the right people at the most opportune time. By considering these five components, you can put together a solid...

  2. How to Write an Effective Communication Plan [2023] • Asana

    In project management, a communication plan is an outline of how you're going to communicate important, ongoing project information to key stakeholders. Your communication plan will help your team understand who should be getting which notifications and when to loop in project stakeholders.

  3. How To Effectively Communicate Your Strategic Plan To Employees

    A strategic communication plan is a written plan outlining communication to your team on your organization's objectives. This plan is deliberate with messages and tactics used to help engage employees with your strategy and fuel performance success for your organization.

  4. PDF How to write a strategic plan

    What is a strategic plan and why is it needed? A roadmap to launch and grow your organization Process as important as product (perhaps more important) Aligns stakeholders around strategic priorities Communicates your goals, strategies and programs Engages, motivates, and retains external and internal audiences (e.g., board, staff, donors, etc.)

  5. How to Write an Effective Communications Plan [+ Template]

    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.

  6. Why & How To Build A Strategic Action Plan

    Just like with a strategic plan, creating an action plan only means something if you take the steps to implement it. You can and should ask for status updates—accountability is key. Your strategy should remain a focus of the organization and team members should be able to explain how their roles contribute to the strategy, if they aren't ...

  7. How to Write a Strategic Communication Plan Template

    Put Your Communication Plan in Action Monitor and Adjust Your Communication Strategy 1. Audit Your Current Communications Strategy Before you create your communication plan, you need to run a situational analysis of your current communication strategy. Here is what you need to evaluate when it comes to your marketing communication strategy:

  8. Strategic Communications Plan Template

    strategic communications plan. Indicate how they are important to your work and the desired action you would like them to take. Audience Why Are They Important to Us? Desired Action EXAMPLE: NPO Provides coordination with similar projects around our mission. Identifies resource needs anddevelopsstandard language on our issue. How to work ...

  9. How to Write a Strategic Communications Plan: 8 Steps

    To write an effective strategic communications plan, you need to define your target audience and the goals and objectives you want to communicate. Our guide will cover the components of a strategic communications plan and how you can tailor them to keep your staff and customers informed and engaged. Steps Download Article 1 Define your message.

  10. Section 5. Developing an Action Plan

    An action plan is a way to make sure your organization's vision is made concrete. It describes the way your group will use its strategies to meet its objectives. An action plan consists of a number of action steps or changes to be brought about in your community. Each action step or change to be sought should include the following information:

  11. 5. Developing Strategic and Action Plans

    5. Developing Strategic and Action Plans. This toolkit aids in developing a vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plan for the effort. Outline. Examples. Convene a planning group made up of individuals from the community affected by the problem or issue and others who are in a position to address it.

  12. Internal Communications Plan: 7-Step Strategy and Template

    What is a Strategic Internal Communications Plan? A strategic internal communication plan is a tool for leaders to help drive employee behaviors and actions that create desired business outcomes. It should directly support an organization's key business outcomes.

  13. Communication Strategy vs. Communication Plan: What's the ...

    A communication plan is a document that uses your strategy to create detailed and actionable steps your team can take to achieve your goals. When you create this plan, you can think about how to implement your strategy and review parameters you have to work within, like deadlines or budgets.


    ACTION PLAN ON STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION 1. Context The use of communication tools has played an important role in the dramatic political, economic and security related developments that have affected the EU's eastern neighbourhood over the past year and a half. This has been recognized by the European

  15. Creating a strategic communication plan

    Step 1: Communication audit This step begins with research and analysis to understand and take stock of your current situation. It is this research and analysis that will reveal your strengths and weaknesses, possible opportunities and threats, and the resources you already have.

  16. 10 Communication Plan Templates for Professional Use (2023)

    10 Communication Plan Templates for Professionals Template #1: Strategic Communication Plan Template #2: Crisis Communication Plan Template #3: Project Management Communication Plan Template #4: Internal Communication Plan Template #5: Simple Communication Plan Template #6: Change Management Communication Plan

  17. A guide to writing a strategic communication and content plan

    Section 2: Communication plan . Your communication plan uses your strategic thinking to lay out how you'll get from point A to point B. It gets into the tactics of how you'll achieve your goals. This part should be reviewed on a regular basis. A communication plan can include the following:

  18. 13 Key Steps to Communicating Your Strategic Plan

    A great strategic plan should have focus and clarity around vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and actions. In order to elevate engagement and participation, a communication plan needs to provide great simplicity, clarity, and focus, without ambiguity. Communication Strategy in 13 Steps 1. Call an all-company meeting

  19. Strategic Communication

    Definition: Strategic communication is defined as effective message development and delivery by using high levels of planning and audience research as per business objectives to meet organizational goals. It is responsible for managing and channelizing the internal and external communication processes of an organization.

  20. How to Write a Communication Plan in 6 Steps with Editable ...

    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.

  21. 9+ Communication Strategy Plan Examples

    A communication strategy plan can help develop communication channels. In this manner, the objectives and goals of the business can be disseminated accordingly. This can help promote productivity and efficiency within the workplace as specific targets and expected deliverable are given to the workforce through open line communication. 4.

  22. 6 Tips for Better Strategic Planning Communication

    2. Answer what's in it for "me". Sometimes high-level strategy can feel irrelevant to the everyday work or processes teams and individuals are doing. As you communicate your plans and vision for the future, make sure you connect the purpose and benefits directly to your employees.