Are you staring down a yellowed three-ring binder with apprehension and wondering if it’s been six or eight years since you updated your communication plan? Or maybe the last time you opened the document, you were alerted it was saved in an incompatible version of Word? Yikes!
Too often we get stuck in the ever-changing requirements of communication and forget to update our communications plan. In the long run this will cost you time, messaging opportunities and many chances to set priorities and be effective.
Here are nine signs your communications strategy needs a serious rewrite.
- Your plan no longer meets your messaging goals. Even if you updated your plan recently, goals can change quickly. This can impact messaging, key markets, employee communications and much more. If the goals change, the plan must be reviewed.
- Your tactics focus on one-way communication. If you aren’t performing customer surveys, holding small group discussions, listening to employees or reviewing your online reputation, you are likely in need of an updated plan that spends more time listening.
- Your plan lacks online reputation management. Does your communications plan identify where people talk about you online and then prioritize managing your online reputation? This can include anything from the local news to sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews. Don’t forget your internal audience at sites like Glassdoor.
- Your strategy skims over crisis management. Does it overlook crucial social media elements? Has your current staff been trained on what to do in the event of a crisis? Do the designated spokespersons even work there anymore? Time to update!
Check out our must-have crisis management plan elements.
- Your plan is missing coordination with other departments. If your communication strategy lacks a corresponding effort with other departments like HR, marketing, customer service and sales, you might be in trouble. All of these groups impact your target audiences. Don’t miss opportunities to work closely with these departments, especially when addressing the crisis management plan.
- Your social media plan only addresses Facebook. Granted, you probably don’t need to use every single social media platform, but if you are using platforms that aren’t included in your old plan, or if you haven’t thoroughly considered adding platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, you might need to update the social media section of your strategy.
- Your plan skips over your website. If you communications plan doesn’t include a comprehensive content management plan you might need an update. Consider what calls to action your website needs. When did you last chat with sales about the FAQs they receive most often and then update your content? While search engines love to see that you’re adding content, there are lots of important reasons to update your site, like helping customers find all the current information they need.
- Your plan lacks a solid foundation of data. We’ve all had to hurry through the research phase for a communications plan due to a lack of budget or resources. But now could be the time to do it better. Could third-party research help hone your efforts? Would a customer survey help prioritize your strategies for 2017? Could data from your newsletters, webpages and social media help you identify messages that resonate with your target audiences? And don’t forget to take a look at your competitors. How do their advertising, social media posts and online reviews differ from your own strategy and why?
- Your communications strategy is short on measurable outcomes. If you can’t measure your ROI or if you aren’t sure what strategies have been successful, it’s time to update your communications plan. While not every single tactic you implement can be attached to a measurable outcome, your major efforts should be tracked. Now’s the time to set those goals and find new ways to measure your efforts.
So dust off that binder, update your Word file and tackle a new communications strategy! No? Still not excited about that? We are! Q Strategies specializes in helping marketers and communicators develop their annual plans for success. We’ve been where you are – wanting and needing a comprehensive plan but too busy putting out fires to build one. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of a developing your plan – call us!