Effective communication is the driving force that ensures smooth and exact transmission of messages. It is not limited to specific audiences but expands to large targets at internal, external, national or even international levels. Working with such a huge audience requires a systematic and purposeful effort rather than random decisions. Here, planned communication comes into the picture and exhibits its significance. Well-planned communication helps to deliver the message effectively and provides a stable set of directions for further modification to meet the desired metrics. 

What is a Communication Plan?

A communication plan is an integrated approach that combines different departments in an organization while simultaneously focusing on documentation, research, strategy, outreach and communication mode and method. The plan is utilized in communication to any type of audience, including stakeholders, businesses, top authorities of a company or organization, and the general public for marketing or crises. The communication plan is deciding different aspects of communication while clarifying the objective of communication and the exact message that needs to be communicated. 

How To Create A Communications Plan?

Designing a communication plan is an eight-step process that goes as follows: 

Step 1: Purpose Identification

Purpose identification encompasses recognition of the accurate need for communication. A collaborative approach is beneficial for gaining more ideas, and saving time is beneficial. A survey within the company or focus group is the right choice. The purpose analysis helps plan further according to the company's current shortcomings or lacking objectives. 

The purpose can be: 

  • To announce an event
  • To celebrate 
  • For funds 
  • To educate, inform or aware the public 
  • To spread the existence or arise
  • For product launch
  • Clarification about problems or the company's crisis

Step 2: Audience Identification

The interpretation of a company's message will vary depending on the generational ideology. Targeting them accurately and customizing delivering the message holds chances of accomplishing the desire. The companies need to categorize the target audience, such as stakeholders, investors, local government officials, employees, and media outlets and accordingly devise the plan. 

Besides, the general public is vast and requires different categorizations. The grouping can be done based on the following characteristics: 

  • Health: The target audience is associated with a specific medical condition, or is it about generalized prevention of health problems
  • Geography: The company should know if it is aiming locally, at the state level, nationally or internationally. It should also consider the cultural associations with geographic features or generally the geographically associated area to develop innovative solutions for connection with the audience. 
  • Demographics: It informs the age group, gender, income and background of the public, which further aids in decision-making concerning communication
  • Employment: Learning about the statistics and type of employment or whether the target group is even employed or not changes the complete communication plan
  • Behavior: The companies should be aware of the audience's actions, whether performing activities in privacy, hiding from others or acting in public. They must also be mindful of their actions if they are associated with violence or non-violence. 
  • Attitudes: The company should be aware changing the mindset requires an entirely different and well-thought-out approach. It is a lengthy procedure. However, if targeting to upgrade the basic level of understanding, the approach will be different. 
  • Communicator: Who influences the audience the company is aiming for? The company should consider whether the masses will listen directly to the company representative or a third person, such as a doctor, politician, actor or clergy. 

Step 3: Communicating Message 

There are four things to consider when deciding the message.

  • Content: A specific message can have more than one ad. The previous categorization of the general public will be of significance here. An ad informing the adults will depict different perspectives, while when motivating the teenagers, it will have to illustrate another story.
  • Mood: The portrayed emotions influence the decisions of the public. Some ads will work best when exhibiting comedy, while others will fail. The companies must also consider if they are required to incorporate emotion in the message or not. 
  • Language: Firstly, the language choice will majorly depend on the geography of the target audience. The local language will be preferred over regional companies or communication, while English will be of prime importance when targeting globally. Additionally, the language's complexity and formal form have different effects than the simple and informal parts. A generalized communication, like that of daily routine, and within behavioral limits has a positive impact. 
  • Communication Channel: After considering what, working on how also requires time investment. Utilizing the previous steps, such as demographics, geography, employment and multiple other aspects, the preferred mode of communication should be chosen. Here is a vast list of channels available at current times: 
    • TV, theater, music, art, word of mouth 
    • Events, presentations
    • Internet
    • Letters to Editor 
    • Press releases and conferences

Step 4: Resources

Balancing the budget is of utmost importance. After deciding the possibilities and requirements:

  • Check what fits your budget.
  • Analyze or predict the outcomes and find the estimates on profit or loss.
  • Include the time and human resources in the endeavor, too, rather than only calculating the monetary investment. 

Step 5: Crisis Planning

Some things can go wrong while driving communication. Depending on the mode, the errors will vary. For instance, video ads might end up depicting a difference from what was exhibited. Misprinting a crucial word will damage the reputation and actual target of communication. The proper analysis of the possible problems helps to curb them. Another critical aspect of crisis planning in developing a communication plan is assigning responsibility for different tasks.

Step 6: Communication Strategy

The companies communicating their message will also have to ensure the agreement of the individuals, organizations or designated people, who are the appropriate choice for communication. If they are okay with what the company wants to convey and if they adhere to the same principles. For instance, advertising on news channels will require understanding the content of the news they display and whether they agree with the message. Additionally, will the audience rely on or does it believe that communication channel? If the message contradicts that communication mode's policies or usual content, the ad is more likely to show a null effect. 

Step 7: Action Plan Generation

By reaching step 7, the company must have the complete plan ready. All that is left is to act. Connect with the right target for content creation display and make it reach the audience. Planning what could go wrong is also done, so it's the responsible person's task to work on this aspect as well. 

Step 8: Evaluate

When the communication is ready, it is the time to evaluate it. All the individuals whose ideas have been contributed to this communication message must approve. They will know better if the content portrays what was to be communicated. They can provide suggestions on further improvement and modifications if required. 

Why Are Communication Plans Important?

The communication plans serve the following significance for the organization:

  • Eases targeting the communication such that it reaches the desired audience.
  • Identifying the target audience helps to plan the communication message to suit the targets.
  • Increases the efficiency of communication while making it more effective and lasting
  • It is a long-term idea that suits different situations with little modifications.
  • Communication planning is also efficient in tracking the previous plans and developing the strategy for the future.
  • Communication plans save time by organizing the actions, efforts and ideas along with actual communication.
  • The time invested in developing communication plans helps the companies get a clear idea of the market and competitors, thus curating something novel, strategic and logical.
  • Companies can decide and plan the type of communication required at different phases of marketing, thus categorizing or sorting the communications as per the need.

Communication Plan Examples

To give a brief idea of examples of communication plans, let us consider two examples. Here, one example will deal with the internal project communication plan, and another will deal with the product launch communication plan. 

Example 1: Objective: To ensure effective communication among the project team members working on software development. 

Target audience: Team members of different designations, such as developers, testers and project managers. 

Aspect

Internal Project Communication Plan

Key messages

  • Project beginning and objectives
  • Weekly progress updates
  • Change requests and updates
  • Milestone achievements

Communication channels

  • Online or offline team meetings
  • Email updates
  • Project management software
  • Quick team communication

Frequency

  • Weekly on Mondays
  • Daily for urgent matters
  • Regular communication 

Responsibilities

Metrics and Evaluation

  • Meeting attendance and engagement
  • Response time to urgent emails
  • Task completion rates

Example 2: Objective: To successfully launch a new mobile app for a specific age group

Target audience: Old and new app users

Aspect

Product Launch Communication Plan

Key messages

  • App features and benefits 
  • Launch date and availability
  • User support and troubleshooting
  • Special launch promotions

Communication channels

  • Email newsletters
  • Social media announcements
  • App store listings
  • Website landing page with app details

Frequency

Monthly

  • Pre-launch teaser campaign on social media
  • Email announcements to existing customers

Launch day

  • App store listing and website launch

Responsibilities

  • Marketing team: Email newsletters and social media posts
  • Support: App troubleshooting and user support
  • App developers: Ensuring the app is available on app stores 

Metrics and Evaluation

  • App downloads and user registrations
  • Social media engagement and website traffic
  • User feedback and support ticket resolutions

Conclusion

Communication planning is an important part of the organization’s will to reach its objectives. It is also a fundamental component in project management. Playing a role during communication with stakeholders, aligning the communication with company objectives, defining the scope and actively participating in risk management, task coordination and change management, a project manager has a lot to do with communication planning. 

Covering multiple other important aspects, Simplilearn has developed a specific course of six months. The Post Graduate Program in Project Management delivered by Simplilearn in collaboration with UMass Amherst also enhances the candidate’s resume. Explore and enrol today!

Choose the Right Program

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, Simplilearn's courses equip you with the skills and certification needed to excel in today's competitive job market. Don't miss the opportunity to supercharge your career—enroll today and take the first step toward becoming a certified project management professional!

Program Name PMP® Certification Training Course PMP Plus Post Graduate Program In Project Management

Program Available In All Geos All Geos All Geos
University PMI Simplilearn University of Massachusetts Amherst
Course Duration 90 Days of Flexible Access to Online Classes

36 Months 6 Months
Coding experience reqd No No No
Skills you wll learn 8+ PM skills including Work Breakdown Structure, Gantt Charts, Resource Allocation, Leadership and more. 6 courses including Project Management, Agile Scrum Master, Implementing a PMO, and More 9+ skills including
Project Management, Quality Management, Agile Management, Design Thinking and More.
Additional Benefits Experiential learning through case studies
Global Teaching Assistance
35PDUs
Learn by working on real-world problems
24x7 Learning support from mentors
Earn 60+ PDU’s
3 year course access
Cost $$ $$$$ $$$$
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is an example of a communication plan?

Communication plans can be internal or external to the company. The internal communication plan can be about the status updates from the team. It can have a weekly frequency, a meeting platform or chat as the channel. The audience can be the project lead or the involved stakeholders with ownership of the project owner. 

2. What is the importance of planned communication?

Planning communication is important to maintain alignment with the organization’s goals, allocate resources efficiently, strategise the communication and measure the effects of the plan and the communication. 

3. What are the different types of planned communication?

The planned communication can be internal, external, crisis, marketing or changing communication. 

4. What are the 5 steps in communication planning?

The key shortened 5 steps in communication planning are identifying the communication objective and target audience, developing the message, choosing the communication channel, resource allocation and creating a timeline for the communication. 

Our Project Management Courses Duration And Fees

Project Management Courses typically range from a few weeks to several months, with fees varying based on program and institution.

Program NameDurationFees
Post Graduate Program in Project Management

Cohort Starts: 22 Jun, 2024

6 Months$ 3,000
PMP® Plus36 Months$ 1,849

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