Three questions to audit a communications plan
We are often so busy on today’s to-do list that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Don’t miss an opportunity to check that your communications or marketing plan is still on course to deliver on your objectives.
I was reminded of the value of taking a time-out very recently when I was helping to deliver a crisis communications simulation exercise. In those exercises, we always stress the importance of regular time-outs. These time-outs have a number of benefits:
- Checking everyone is clear on the current facts of the crisis situation
- Ensuring the agreed strategy to deal with the issue remains appropriate
- Knowing what decisions have been made and why
- Getting the team aligned on next steps
But it’s not only in a crisis situation that a time-out has value. Take a few moments to ensure that your marketing communications plan is working. Use these critical thinking questions to prompt you:
Three key questions to check your comms plan
- Are today’s tasks contributing to the greater goal? This might seem obvious, but look back at the aims of your original plan and ask yourself whether every item on your to-do list is about getting you to your end goal. Obviously, this is easier when your objectives are true objectives, and what I mean by that is measurable. When you have specific objectives rather than broad aims, you can use data to check that you really are on track. Have you actually increased awareness? Driven trial? Affected a change in behaviour?
- Has the world changed? Sometimes we need to get our heads down and get the job down, sometimes the world changes around us and makes today’s tasks irrelevant. Use a time-out to check, and if necessary, update your original SWOT and PEST analyses as well as your competitor or market research. Ensure that your marketing communications plan is still relevant to the circumstances in which your organisation finds itself. This isn’t about starting again with a blank sheet, but about gathering fresh insights to that your plan is still relevant.
- What else, what next? Look to the future. What else needs to be done? Do you have the resources (funding, team) to get there? I hate missing deadlines, so ensure you and your stakeholders are aware ahead of time of any issues that could be holding back progress.
These three questions are really just the start of what could form part of a communication plan time-out or audit. The most important thing is to take that step back. Look up and out to ensure you’re on track.
Get in touch to find out how a communications audit could ensure your plans are working as effectively as possible.communications, communications audit, marketing communications plan