How to develop and write a communication strategy

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Golden thread (Pixabay)
Golden thread (Pixabay)

‘Think of your strategic approach as the golden thread that runs through your communication’

What’s the strategy? Where’s the plan? These are questions that can challenge any practitioner, particularly if time is short. Our Guide to Writing a Communication Strategy download and toolkit talks you through the steps and provides a framework for developing a communications strategy.

As guide author Ann Pilkington explains:

A strategy sets out the thinking that informs an organisation’s communication or a specific campaign. It can be thought of a bit like a business case in that it sets out the rationale for a particular approach, with a budget. It is a written description of a strategic planning process that has taken place.

So the two steps are to conduct a strategic planning process, and then to write the plan. ‘Think of your strategic approach as the golden thread that runs through your communication strategy linking everything together.’

Each step is explained using examples from practice and drawing on advice from the academic and practitioner literature.

Developing a communications strategy need not be onerous and it can be fun. Think about who you can involve in the process. Involving your stakeholders is a good way to get their support as well as useful input. It also helps to show others that communication is a strategic function that is evidence based, planned strategically and evaluated.

As the author explains, a strategy may contain a plan but a plan does not amount to a strategy. All communicators are capable doers, but not all are strategic thinkers.

A communication strategy differs from a plan. A plan is a collection of tactics with timings that are designed to deliver the strategy. It may sit as an appendix to the strategy document.

This guide complements others available for PR Place members:

This guide and toolkit is available as a free download and is essential reading for practitioners and for those studying for CIPR Professional PR qualifications.

Download: Guide to Writing a Communication Strategy

This guide will help you to:

  • Plan strategically
  • Set meaningful objectives
  • Measure your success.
Communication Strategy Guide

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