Writing a New Communications Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about communications planning for a variety of reasons, almost all of them having to do with crafting new ones and updating old ones. I find that when I start working really hard on some new topic, I begin seeing that topic everywhere.


As I’m crafting these plans, I see how someone else has done it, or talk with someone who recently went throughout the same thing, or find amazing resources on the web that end up being exactly what I needed at the time.

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to point you in the direction of two resources that I’ve found extremely useful. And hopefully jog your memory for resources that might help me.

First, Chris Brogan recently posted an article about his recently revamped communication plan. Divided into several parts intend to simulate the steps needed to be addressed for a completely thought out plan, he organized it as such:

  1. Build a plan, with attention paid to listening, a home base, outposts, and databases

  2. What will you include or, as I like to say, what are your tools or methods

  3. What do you think your community needs/wants? Be sure to balance this against your goals.

  4. Finally, writing the plan down helps, be sure you can address each of the following, goals, community, new attractions and methods.

The next very useful tool I came across is from PRSA, the Public Relations Society of America. They’ve got this great page buried on their site chock full of PDFs about social media policy development (including PRSA’s policy), PRSA’s style guide and brand management guidance. While this isn’t, “How to write a comms plan,” it’s got tons of clues about structuring your own plan, and things you don’t want to forget. Learn from the best, they say.

And now the caveat. Most of PRSA’s stuff is only for members. And membership is expensive (Props to NPHIC for reasonable membership rates!). Perhaps as a sop to poor family folks like myself, they’re making these documents, and probably others, available for free. All you have to do is sign up for a free MyPRSA login. Yes, they’ll probably sell your information to marketers, but I at least found the downloads useful (which is more than I can say about a lot of things I sign up for). I’ll be sure to let you know if I find anything else useful!

To wrap up, Chris Brogan asked for his community to pitch in ideas about building a comms plan. Most of the comments, unfortunately, were, “Come check out my money for nothing and chicks for free marketing site!” Hopefully you’ve got some great ideas (and yes, emergency comms plans are just as important, and probably written much worse, so your help would be needed), and can pass them along.