Whether you are launching a new awareness day, kicking off a community project or sharing a fabulous success story with your membership, you’ll need a communications campaign to give your team a clear vision of what it is you want to say and achieve.
We can all acknowledge that digital communications offer a direct, low cost route to communicating, almost instantly to a vast audience. However, have you considered all the other ways that your organisation talks to donors, staff and volunteers or corporate supporters and funders?
So how do you set out and use a communications plan to get your message to your target audience?
Here are 5 simple steps to help you plan your next Communications Campaign.
Identify your campaign goals
Before any creative work takes place, it’s crucial to have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve and what it is you want to do. What are your long term goals – is it to raise the profile of your organisation? Are you lobbying for change or sharing information about your organisation’s impact in the last 12 months?
Keeping a view of your long term strategic plans and a clear set of objectives will help you build a more effective campaign.
Know who you want to talk to
Once you know what it is you want to achieve, you will need to identify who you need to talk to make that happen.
We often assume that communications campaigns are outward facing but what if you have a new re-branding project or important information you have to share internally? Think about the structure of your organisation and how teams usually meet and communicate.
The right channel for your target audience
Social and digital media give you a much wider number of outlets to tell your story but won’t reach all the audiences you want or need to reach. However, research shows that blending your approach across a number of different platforms is more effective. So your campaign plan will need to include multiple channels to reach your audience because everyone absorbs information differently.
If you are incorporating media relations activities into your campaign, how will you build relationships with journalists and media outlets, and which ones will be the right platform to reach your final audience?
You will want to consider, cost resources and which channels offer the best data and insights to demonstrate how effective your communications are.
Bring it all together in a workable plan
Once you have all the key elements of your campaign you will need to draw up a timeline of when everything needs to be done and who’s going to do it!
Consider all the resources that you are going to need, and the time it will take to prepare, especially for videos and resources that will need external input.
And finally, plan for the unexpected. Ask yourself what could go wrong and how would we handle that as a team. Your exciting campaign launch may be pushed off the newsstands by a crisis or emergency, how will this affect your overall operations and objectives?
Don’t get lost in the stream of emails, social media or posters and billboards that we see every day. You’ll want your comms to stand out and to be memorable. Using striking visuals and practical elements in the campaign will get people thinking about what you are aiming to say to them. Could you use interactive quizzes, videos, hashtags or community events to get your message across?
Finally, here’s an extra tip…don’t forget to listen. How so? Well, it’s the responsibility of the communicator to ensure the message has been effectively communicated. Make sure you have structures in place to measure the success of your campaign.