How to Create a Communications Plan in 12 Steps
What message do you want to communicate to your audience? What do you want your audience to know about your organization? What’s your brand’s mission and purpose?
These are all questions good marketers need to answer. And it’s answering these questions that will set your communications plan on a path to victory!!! Whoa, sorry, got carried away there. But, for real, if you create a consistent messaging strategy for your business, your team will always be on the same page and your content will be stronger for it.
And to make sure we’re on the same page—for the purpose of this article, a communication plan is “a detailed strategy that outlines an organization’s target audiences and the messages they need to receive to drive desired business outcomes.”
Now that you know what a communication plan is, you can work on building one. The following blog post from CoSchedule will help you plan a full strategy by outlining the 12 steps you need to execute. Better yet, they’ve included a free template (duh, it’s CoSchedule), where you can document the “answers” you reach when you follow each step.
Here’s what those 12 steps look like:
- Step 1: Establish Your Mission Statement
- Step 2: Identify Your Business Objectives
- Step 3: Develop Audience Personas
- Step 4: Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Step 5: Draft Your Calls To Action
- Step 6: Choose Your Channels
- Step 7: Decide Your Publishing Frequency
- Step 8: What Messages Do You Need to Deliver?
- Step 9: Determine Your Important Events & Campaign Plans
- Step 10: Set Your Communications Goals
- Step 11: Use Your Marketing Calendar to Execute Your Communications Plan
- Step 12: Measure Your Results
Wish we had time give you the skinny on each of these steps, but CoSchedule is definitely hooking it up for you. Click-through for insights and to download that communications plan kit, fam!
Your Google Rank Doesn’t Matter Anymore
You heard it here first (although Rand Fishkin said it in 2016): it’s time to stop tracking and reporting on your keyword rankings. Why? Because your data is almost definitely inaccurate.
There are basically two reasons why your data is inaccurate:
Personalization. If you go allll the way back to 2012, Google was already altering search results for different people based on what (limited) knowledge that had of you. But now, Google knows more about you and serves up results based on that. Especially your search history.
If you consistently visit Hubspot for marketing news, when you search for a marketing related query, Google is more likely to serve up Hubspot to you first because it knows you like Hubspot.
Location. Desktop or mobile, it doesn’t matter. Google serves up results based on location. You’ve definitely seen this when searching for restaurants, retail stores, or the closest gas station. That makes the answer to the question, “who ranks #1 for ‘Pittsburgh restaurants’?” an even more challenging task.
Add in the fact that Google now has a position zero (the featured snippet) for a lot of searches, it makes it even harder to determine where you really rank.
So what’s the solution? Topic Clusters.
Wat? Yes, topic clusters. Rather than looking at the performance of content on a page-by-page basis, take several pieces of content, focused on the same subject, and analyze search performance that way.
Here’s an example of how you could that. First, you need a piece of “pillar content.” This could be a super in-depth blog post or downloadable that your Topic Cluster is going to be built on. From there, as you write supporting blog content, add it to the outer rim of your topic cluster. Here’s an example of what we mean.
This model will help you analyze the performance of your content regardless of each individual piece’s goal.
Need the full lesson? There’s still more to learn…
What do you do when you want to advertise controversial subject matter? Well, you could always use symbolism. Fruit, per se?
Maybe you’ve already seen CNN’s first bushel of “apple ads.” The one about the banana? Sounds like the start of a bad joke right? It kind of is.
It’s not in our nature to feature politically-charged ads here, but, as far as marketing is concerned, CNN is working in some pretty obvious-yet-abstract ways to advertise its syndicate. Whichever way you feel on the matter, we gotta hand to them for thinking inside the fruit aisle.
“You should experiment in your content, and go out of your comfort zone to try different channels.”