Top tips for preparing a comms strategy

We’ve recently been asked to help several charities develop a comms strategy. It’s something that all organisations should have. But what makes a good one?

A good comms strategy gives careful consideration to what you should communicate, to whom and how, based on insights drawn from across your organisation and beyond it. It also tells you what you shouldn’t waste time on, which is just as valuable, if not more so.

However, not every organisation needs the same sort of strategy. Small charities with a few services and audiences should have a strategy that reflects that, focusing on what’s needed. Bigger organisations, juggling lots of viewpoints, stakeholder groups and sub-brands need to invest time and energy in a strategy that takes account of them all.

Here are our tips for developing a comms strategy that works for you not against you:

  1. Make it relevant –your strategy must be thorough, yet relevant and appropriate. There’s no point in creating a huge document, pulling in every view, opinion, bit of theory and every imaginable target – you’ll never be able to fulfil it, and you’ll end up pushing it to the back of your mind in favour of just ‘getting on with the job’.
  2. Make it robust – give thought to everything the strategy might need to weather, and build in enough flexibility so that, if new and unexpected opportunities come up, you can adapt and shape it accordingly.
  3. Workshop – we often find that workshop sessions offer a great way to explore core elements of a strategy to help establish buy in from across the organisation at an early stage. Involve people from different levels and include service users and volunteers.
  4. Share it and live it – writing your strategy isn’t the end of the process – you need to make sure it’s usable and remains relevant. Develop easy-read handouts or checklists for other departments to use and consider running training or information sessions to help others understand how it relates to them.
  5. Review – it’s also important that you make time to review your strategy at regular points to make sure it’s still relevant and achievable. If it’s not, make adjustments to reflect the reality of the situation you’re now working in.

Let us know your tips for developing a comms strategy.

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