Plan your communication needs for the year ahead

Is everyone at your company or organisation always so busy that there is no time to think about your current communication needs daily or even weekly? In that case, it’s a good idea to take a step back and put your goals, strategies, channels, and messages in order. Once you’ve planned your communication well, you’re already halfway there to be a master of messaging. An annual communication plan or a roadmap allows you to leave the daily worrying behind and use the saved resources to achieve more in the long term.

An occasional social media update, a newsletter every once in a while, perhaps a media release if something interesting is going on – is communication something that you really need to plan? Yes it is, at least if you want to get the full benefit of what good communication has to offer.

I often quote my colleague Päivi who successfully put to words the dangers of not planning your communication strategy ahead:

“If communication is not planned ahead, you might not be able to devote time to it during the daily hustle and bustle. This leads to utter chaos: messages from everyone about everything, or no messages to anyone about anything.”

It is easier to avoid errors and memory lapses if everything is pre-planned. This helps everyone in the organisation to use communication as a more effective tool and makes time and resource management easier. Well-planned communication is more cost-efficient than ad hoc reacting to new situations. At the same time, planning gives you freedom to react quickly if needed. Forward planning also makes budgeting easier as future actions, and the associated costs are well-known in advance.

MAKE YOUR WORKDAYS EASIER WITH AN ANNUAL PLAN

Annual communication plans or roadmaps are practical tools that help to bring everything in your communication and content strategies from plans into action. They are concrete, operative action plans for managing your communications. They also include detailed descriptions of all the necessary actions, people in charge, tools, and meters: who does what and when, and how success is measured.

An annual plan or a roadmap can be shaped like a round diagram, or it can be an Excel table, a calendar, or a chronological list. All future communication steps should be included, as well as marketing campaigns, fairs, information events, and product launches. In addition, you should also add important high seasons and anything else that might affect your organisation. It is important to define who is responsible for carrying out all the good plans – that famous Someone Else always fails to deliver.

An annual plan is exactly what the name implies, a plan for a year, but roadmaps are very popular for shorter periods of time. Perhaps quarterly planning would suit your needs better? Or do your planning needs extend even further than a year ahead? The most important thing is to make a communication plan that fits the rhythm of your organisation – and to make sure that the plan is always up to date.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLAN COMMUNICATION?

Easy answer: whenever you have the time for it. In reality, businesses and organisations usually have very limited time for planning the future.

Plans for the following year are often made in the autumn, and that is a great time to put some effort into communication planning as well. This way, any communication efforts can easily be made a part of other operations, and communication can also be taken into account in budgeting.

SOUNDS HARD?

It doesn’t have to be when you have experts to help you. We would be happy to assist you with planning your communication in its different stages. We’ll make sure that all of your messaging needs are fulfilled!

Viestintäkonsultti

Ulla-Mari Uusitalo

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