While a communication strategy template document will change for a number of reasons it is possible to define a generic structure that can be used as the basic template for communication strategies. This article shows you the six key sections, one of which is a matrix structure for defining what activities are involved in your strategy.
Goals and key messages
Start out by defining what the key messages you want to put across are as part of your communication strategy. This could relate to specific new product lines you want to promote or developments in your department (i.e. for internal project reports) or your business growth & development strategy (for internal executive level communications).
Clearly spell out what internal and external stakeholders your communications have. Many internal communications will not have external stakeholders. In particular you want to target which internal employees or departments have a bearing on your communications as recipients, approvers, reviewers, sponsors, etc.
The whole point of the strategy plan is to set out a plan, define an objective and then establish if this goal was achieved. You can only do this if you set out from the start what desired results you expect.
Clearly define how current perceptions or actions need to change as a result of your communications/messages. This could be an increase in sales, improve brand awareness, etc.
Roles of internal communication team
When sending out any type of communication you need to define who is responsible for producing the message and transmitting it to its target recipients. Messages can be communicated via e-mail, press advertisements, website pages, press conferences, etc.
Each different type of communication channel/media will involve different internal staff members tasked with producing and organizing the communication.
Roles of supporting team members
There will also be internal staff members required to help fill out parts of the communication strategy template. This is especially important in external communications (e.g. a corporate communication) where several departments will have to provide content, reports and input into external messages/reports.
A communication strategy template needs to factor this in so that these individuals can be contacted well in advance so that they may allocate time in their schedule for contribution to the work.
Provide a matrix of communication activities
Finally, it is worth having an activity matrix at the end of your communication strategy documents to spell out the list of activities and key meta-information. This can also be used for tracking purposes to define when tasks are completed (just add more columns for individual dates. The matrix should include the following columns:
- Activity description (e.g. send e-mail, have a press conference, etc.)
- Owner – person responsible for completing/organising the communication
- Supporting team members (see above)
- Stakeholders (internal/external)
- Target recipients of communication
- Timeline – frequency of reports/communication method
- Success indicators/desired results
- Completion date