Writing communication & marketing plans

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How to begin work on revising or creating a communication plan for your organization, especially public sector agencies such as cities, counties, or school districts. The Certified Public Communicator program at TCU trains public sector communicators: more at certifiedpubliccommunicator.org.

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Writing communication & marketing plans

  1. 1. Writing Communication & Marketing Plans Jacqueline Lambiase, Ph.D. TCU Schieffer College of Communication
  2. 2. WHO HAS A PLAN? WHAT DO YOU NEED?
  3. 3. TAKING STOCK OF YOUR ASSETS
  4. 4. PARTS • • • • Vision | Mission | Values City or county goals, promises, ideals City or county strategic plan SWOT (You may be the only person who does this for the entire organization) • Arlington, Texas, calls some of these “horizon issues” (a.k.a. sticky wickets)
  5. 5. MORE PARTS • • • • • Existing plans or aging plans Crisis communication plan Social media policies or guidelines Any daily interface with citizens City Hall or County Courthouse (place, people, leadership, perception of citizens) • Oh yeah, citizens
  6. 6. MORE PARTS • All other communicators within programs and departments of your city or county • Other city, county and regional plans • Vagaries of elected officials and their personal crusades for their districts • Any other existing initiatives, listing responsible departments or leaders
  7. 7. Herding Cats and Central Planning: www.globalwealthprotection.com
  8. 8. Many of the parts may be thought of as ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING + FORMATIVE RESEARCH
  9. 9. THE PROCESS • • • • Environmental scanning Formative Research Planning Message design and execution • Evaluation You may remember this as the four-part process: • Research • Objectives • Programming • Evaluation
  10. 10. THE TOOLBOX • • • • • • • Database where you gather these parts Ears (listening) Focus groups, surveys, “road show” GANTT Chart (projects less than 30 days) PERT Chart (complex projects) Both use tasks, time frames, dependencies Budget: people and hard costs
  11. 11. Traditional Communication Model
  12. 12. Lambiase New Media Communication Model
  13. 13. WHY?
  14. 14. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION Why planning? • To keep communication in line with city’s values, mission and goals • To proactively manage issues rather than react • To understand what we know & don’t know • To build consensus • To manage city resources
  15. 15. MORE REASONS • To map territory or territories of communication responsibilities across a complex organization • To show other people within the organization what communication jobs belong to your domain • To stick to your organization’s strategic goals, rather than off working on stray initiatives
  16. 16. http://www.mosaicworks.com/mosaics/depthfinder.html Without strategic planning as a frame, COMMUNICATION IS JUST ONE DAMN TACTIC AFTER ANOTHER
  17. 17. ROBUST, FULL-BODIED PLANS NEED … • Goals (lofty and ambiguous, but tied to organization’s mission/vision/values) • Objectives (measureable and specific) • Strategies (audience, tone, channel) • Tactics (messages, events, programs) • Otherwise, you just have routines
  18. 18. Comprehensive (all communication) or Departmental (just what you do) WHAT KIND OF PLAN DO YOU NEED?
  19. 19. There are at least TWO WAYS TO BUILD A PLAN
  20. 20. METHOD 1: THE “EASY” WAY • Replicate prior plans -or• Build from scratch, analyzing routines and using existing tactics to build backwards toward goals STEPS: • Update an existing plan or old plan • Complete an audit of all public-facing tactics (online newsletter, YouTube videos, website, bill-paying window, Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, Town Hall meetings, and more) and then build your plan from the bottom up
  21. 21. METHOD 2: THE HARDER WAY • Scrap old plans or old routines to start anew STEPS • Learn about the culture and meet it in its best reality or form (modeled by top-forming departments) • Accept input from all stakeholders • Build cultural frameworks around existing communication routines that you want to preserve, or create new culture and frameworks for this best-case culture
  22. 22. CASE STUDY: BRAND COLORADO •Introduced last week, as part of a two-year effort that ends summer 2014. •Focused on trade, tourism, travel. •Unified 22 state agencies. •Nonprofit and public-private partnership effort. •$1.5 million in pro-bono work from Colorado-based PR & ad agencies. •Part of governor’s overall economic development effort. •Youth advisory board, amplified through social media. •Listening tour across the state, with many stakeholders. •Research showed that state flag was identified more with Chicago than Colorado, outside the state. •Brand saves time and money in multiple-agency communication tasks.
  23. 23. OTHER TASKS • Channel Quest: Build a model of all communication pathways inside your organization and to the outside • Content Quest: Complete an audit of all public-facing tactics (online newsletter, YouTube videos, website, bill-paying window, Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, Town Hall meetings, customer service, and more)
  24. 24. OTHER KEY QUESTIONS • What kind of overall communication does your org have? Centralized or decentralized? • How many programs or departments communicate with external stakeholders? • How well does your internal communication system work? Where are improvements needed?
  25. 25. LET’S WRITE SOME GOALS • Being available whenever citizens require key interaction with or important information from government.
  26. 26. CHART YOUR COMMUNICATION • First, who are the players? Who is allowed to speak or who has authority to speak? In other words, who serves as your department, city, or agency’s primary writer/spokesperson/communicator • Who approves their messages? • What channels do the speakers use? • What audiences do these speakers/communicators address? • Do you have policies/plans that govern these interactions? Yes/no • What was the last time these policies/plans were discussed and reviewed among all parties?

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