With the new year just starting, it’s a great time to start new positive habits and kick the ones that aren’t doing you any good. In this post we cover 10 key considerations to keep top of the mind when building out your communication plan for 2019.

#1 Current status

In order to get to where you want to be, you need to understand where you are currently. Start mapping out your communication plan based on the current status of your strategy and the ROI you saw in 2018. This way, you can compile your plan based on well-informed data-driven decision, as well as your intuition. You can do the analysis yourself, but it can be a lengthy process. If you already have a media intelligence solution like Meltwater, you can use the tool to gain an in-depth insight into the current status of your communication strategy ROI, industry developments and competitors.

To start with, analyse the below metrics and look for patterns to optimise your 2019 communication plan:

  • Media exposure – tracks coverage (both editorial and social media) volume over time
  • Top sources – breaks down social media buzz by channel or publication
  • Google Analytics – provides a clearer picture of what types of posts generated website traffic
  • Share of voice – compares coverage volume for two or more topics/ competitors
  • Sentiment – assesses the tone of a brand’s coverage over time
  • Trending themes – uncovers conversational patterns surrounding a topic
  • Top locations – identifies the top markets discussing a brand or event
  • Top social posts – explains the social content with the highest social reach value within a given date range

#2 Purpose

A plan starts with a purpose. Clearly describe the purpose of your communication plan and build your entire strategy around this goal. Make sure that this goal goes hand in hand with the department’s and organisation’s overall business goals. It’s a lot easier to get buy in if you can prove how your plans are contributing to the wider picture for all to benefit from.

#3 Strategy

A well-thought-out communication plan and strategy should take into account elements affecting the company from both an internal and external basis. A SWOT analysis is a good place to start analysing internal and external insights. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths/ Weaknesses are influenced by internal forces, for example, employee skills. Opportunities/ Threats are influenced by external forces, like those pictured in the diagram below. Porters 5 Forces model is widely used to assess external forces, along with a PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal).

Models to use when writing your future communication plan

#4 Audience

Although your company probably has a clear idea of who your target audience is, it’s a good idea to analyse this again since trends can impact their behaviour. For example, has their social media channel usage changed? Are important Influencers emerging? Social media is the perfect focus group, get a deeper insight into the company’s target audience by analysing this data!

#5 Message

Think about what message you want to convey in your company’s communication plan. Messages that worked last year aren’t guaranteed to work in 2019, this is especially the case when external forces change. For example, a competitor may have come into your space and leapfrogged our strategy causing you to no longer be the most innovative supplier. Your message should then shift to represent another value offering where you still come out on top.

#6 Channel selection

Your audience should be the number one influence when choosing a social media platform to engage on and editorial platforms to target. After all, your reason for being present on that platform is to connect with your audience and if they aren’t there it’s pointless. Make it clear in your communication plan which platforms you want to contribute to which goals.

#7 Budget

Budget is, of course, an essential part of your communication plan. It’s important that you’re realistic in matching your plan with your resources: Even a small budget can have a big impact if resources are used properly and you understand where your internal strengths lie.

#8 Responsibilities

If your team is large, responsibility sharing should be part of your communication plan. This will clarify who is responsible for what, which makes the work process as effective as possible.

#9 Time schedule

The overall communication plan and its activities should have a time deadline. Time is arguably the most valuable resource a company has, so setting time aside for projects will help you to use the time you do have wisely. You’ll also be able to see when you’re spending too long on certain projects. Remember to have room for unforeseen projects and activities that may occur during the year.

#10 Follow up

Ongoing follow-ups throughout 2019 are essential to ensure you remain on track. You may spot opportunities and threats that cause you to have to adjust your plan or activities. It’s therefore important that you have a solid plan in place for reporting media performance – such as media reports delivered on a monthly, quarterly or ad hoc basis.

Need help with ongoing follow-up on your communication plan?

Using insights found via Meltwater’s media intelligence tools, you’re able to keep up to date with how your brand is featured in the media and keep track of important industry news and trends. Fill out the form below if you’re interested in learning more about optimising your 2019 communication plan!