Communication Plan 101

Developing a Communication Plan 101

For communication to be effective over time, a structured communication plan may be needed.

A comprehensive communication plan outlines the problem to be addressed, the messages to be conveyed, the target audiences and the methods to be used (email, news article, social media, digital signage, open forum). It also consists of a timeline and list of people responsible for each task.  Depending on the complexity of the issue or issues to be addressed, the plan may be a simplified variation of a full plan.

Outline the messages. Messages should be grounded in a clear problem to solve or opportunity to seize. They should answer the question: “What do I want my audience to think or do?” Your plan should identify three to five key points to be shared and make sure those points are concise and consistent.

Identify the audience(s).  Whom are you trying to reach? Is your audience broad or targeted? This will determine the tone of your piece and help ensure people  receive and process the information.

Consider which communication outlets to use. Determine what medium will be used: email, newsletter article, social media such as Twitter or Facebook, electronic signage, print bulletin board or a combination of methods. Knowing the audience and its information-consuming preferences will help determine what method to use.

Outline the tasks to be completed and include a specific time period. This serves as a to-do list and provides a timeline for a plan’s execution. List the tasks related to the project (researching, writing and revising the message, having it proofed or reviewed, the target date for distribution and follow up). Create a deadline for each task that leads to the final launch date.

Identify the types of questions you may face. If you’re telling employees about a policy change, be ready to share why it’s necessary, the impact it may have, when the change is expected, etc. Develop consistent, truthful answers. Be prepared to acknowledge when you don’t know the answer to a question, and offer to follow up to find the answer.

Available Outlets for Internal Communication at UC Merced

If the information you need to convey is of broad general interest, you may want to consult University Communications about including it in other communications channels such as:

Contact information is available on the University Communications website.