It’s Not ‘One and Done’ for Communicators


Have you ever been working on a program, campaign or project of any sort that requires you to engage employees, stakeholders or leaders? It’s likely that this effort has taken time – planning, drafting, editing, approvals – but now you’re ready to go. You hit send on the first email or host the first town hall or post the latest video online – and then nothing. No likes, comments, feedback and no one is taking the action you wanted them to do. Your manager is asking for metrics, results and feedback. You’re scratching your head about why it’s not doing what you planned it to do. What happened?

There can be many answers to why the initial communication did not get traction. Did you do enough research about the audience? Is the call to action clear enough? Is it something that people can actually understand? Before you throw in the towel and call the effort a failure, stop for a minute and think about it this way – you didn’t see immediate success because you put all of your high expectations on that one tactic.

Someone once said that you need to tell people something seven times in seven different ways for it to click. And like it or not, it does apply to our work as communicators.

That’s why any communication needs a plan with multiple, different activities to reach the audience and convince them to take the action that you want.

Getting discouraged is not an option. Keep pushing the message out in a variety of ways. Evaluate the success of each method and adjust your plan as needed. Eventually, it will be heard.

5 Reasons Why You Need A Communications Plan

Do you have a communications plan for your business?

You should.


Without a plan, how do you know when you’ve reached your goal or desired outcome? How do you know if you were successful?

The concept of planning immediately creates anxiety in some leaders because they fear the time commitment or being locked into certain activities or simply because they believe communications planning and execution is someone else’s job. I don’t care if you’re a go-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person or a methodical rules-follower. If you need to go from point A to point B, you need some sort of guide to get there.

Here are five reasons why I encourage you to embrace the action of developing (and executing) a communications plan:

1. It provides structure.

2. It requires you stop and think about the impact whatever you are going to do has on each of your stakeholder groups (employees, customers, media, investor, etc.)

3. It eliminates the “Wild, Wild, West” scenario of everyone doing everything – or worse, no one doing anything – to convey important information.

4. It elevates communications professionals from order takers (you’ve probably heard phrases like this: “we need a press release”, “I want a video”, “employees are not doing what we want”, “why is everyone leaving?”) to strategists.

5. It makes defining success less willy-nilly because the results are measured against the goals outlined in the plan.

Putting together a communications plan does not need to be difficult. Just remember the 5 Ws and 1 H (who, what, where, why, when and how). Now go to your keyboard or notebook and start planning!