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Planning communications activities

Use these prompts for a communications plan template.

To effectively communicate your cause, product or service, you need communications activities – such as publishing a survey or report, or holding a demonstration, a stunt, a meeting, a workshop or conference.

It’s these activities that will involve the people who’s stories you can tell, and that will produce the images and video your campaign needs. And the activity can create a ‘news peg’ to gain you media coverage.

1. Concept, goals and actions

Give a summary of the activity. What are the goals or objectives the activity can help achieve? What is the ‘call to action’ – what are you asking people to do to help your cause, use your service or buy your product?

2. Target audiences

Who do you wish to reach? Why are they important in your campaign? These should be some or all of the audiences you’ve already identified and profiled in your communications strategy.

3. Key messages

These will have been set out for the whole campaign in your communications strategy, but you should identify which ones will be particularly communicated through this activity, and if they need to be adjusted or refocused.

4. Communications channels

Which channels will you use (e.g. website, Facebook, Twitter, email, leaflet, poster), to reach which audiences?

5. Media relations

If seeking media coverage, which newspapers, tv and radio programmes, websites, blogs etc are you targeting? Have you developed your communications to be interesting to their audiences (‘angle’) and timely (‘news peg’)? Will you tailor your press releases for different targets, or perhaps arrange exclusives?

6. Multimedia

If an event, how will you capture video / audio / images? How will these be used in your content, or made available to other media? What other images will you need? How will these be sourced, what are the licensing arrangements and budget implications?

7. Timeline of activity communications

For example:

  1. Publish webpage (with online action)
  2. Email supporters
  3. Social media activity
  4. Press notice
  5. Campaign event / activity
  6. Press release covering activity
  7. Social media activity

Include dates, channel,  purpose and content details for each stage

8. Measure, evaluate and review

How successful was the activity in achieving its communications objectives? Has it made an impact, and moved your campaign towards its goals? What will you do differently next time?

This article was written by Simon Williams, who delivers the Strategic Communications, Writing for the Web and Build your own Website courses. It was first published on communicatingcauses.co.uk

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