PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

How to Write a Communication Plan

During a recent MSU PRSSA meeting, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, CEO of Rossman PR, came in to talk about how to write a communication plan and important principles to execute the plan. Personally, it was extremely helpful and it served as a reminder that we are in a completely strategic field. Doing something just to do it won’t get you anywhere (for an example, look on Facebook for all the companies who have a Facebook page but don’t do anything with them). The video summary of what she talked about is right here:

Kelly talked about her eight-step approach when it comes to strategic public relations. Whether you are running a political campaign or fundraising for a nonprofit, these principles apply. Better yet, try and create a communication plan within a student group or current place of employment. Here are her steps and strategies:

The eight-step approach to strategic public relations planning:

  1. Background/situation analysis: State who the client is, where the client stands today, why they are seeking public relations services and how the agency understands the mission of the client.
  2. Goals and objectives: State the goals and objectives; remember that goals are broad while objectives are specific and measurable.
  3. Research: Perform some qualitative and quantitative research to help you executive and complete the campaign.
  4. Target audiences: Name the key internal and external target audiences that should be part of the campaign.
  5. Messages: Illustrate the key and secondary messages that will best motivate your audience.
  6. Proof points: Stats, stories and facts to support your stance.
  7. Communication tools: What mediums will best deliver your message? Print newspapers, online media, Facebook, etc.
  8. Evaluation: Have you been measuring the success of the campaign?

After you come up with all of these steps and plans for a campaign, it’s important to keep a strategic focus. The next list is a set of questions you should be able to answer clearly and concisely.

Principles of effective communication:

  • Credibility: Is your messenger credible – is he or she a trusted and respected source of information – with your audience?
  • Context: Is your message in context with reality and the environment in which your audience is located?
  • Content: Is your message relevant to your audience? Are they interested?
  • Clarity: Is your message simple and straightforward? How far will it travel and how long will it last?
  • Continuity and consistency: Repeat your message for audience penetration.
  • Channels: What channels/tools of communication are you using? What value are they to your audience?
  • Customer benefits: What’s in it for me?
  • Caring, compassion and concern: Does your audience know that you care?
  • Capability of audience: Is your audience capable of understanding the message? Will they take the time to listen/read/watch it?
  • Call to action: What is your audience supposed to do now?

All in all, it was a great meeting and a great presentation. Another online resource I found is from Dave Fleet, who has a great (and free!) e-book on writing a strategic communication plan here.

Any other tips for writing a communication plan? Any resources you’d like to share?


Filed under: Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. […] 2009 March 5 by Mich I belief that the following from Nick Lucido’s “How to Write a Communication Plan,” is so crucial that I’ve reposted it here. In the full post, Nick interviews Kelly […]

  2. Hi Nick!
    I saw this post on Brazen Careerist. I loved how clear and concise this post was. Now I’m not in working in PR and I have very little experience with marketing, but this plan layout was really helpful. I can definitely see how you can apply this thing to various things such as planning a small fundraiser to writing a persuasive essay.
    Thanks for writing it, I really appreciate this!

  3. […] out Nick Lucido’s post “How to Write a Communications Plan” at PR Start.  He interviews Kelly Rossman-McKinney of The Rossman Group and outlines an eight-step […]

  4. nicklucido says:

    @Valerie Thanks! Glad to hear it helped. All organizations need good PR, whether or not they have someone on staff.

  5. Britney Osbern says:

    Fantastic video from Rossman-McKinney. As a former MSU PRSSA member I am pleased to see your are bringing pertenant content to chapter members. The youtube video is a great reference and I will be using it in future formal presentations to my clients.

    Way to go Nick. You are utilizing social media and it is benefiting both members and alumni as well. Keep up all your hard work

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