Both a guide and a goal, the communication plan is the reference tool for communication teams. To help you craft one, we provide you with a template you can use and some tips on how to write yours.
An internal communication plan is in fact the result of a reflection on the company’s communication strategy.
You can start by listing the various themes to be addressed in the near future. Once it’s done, you can focus on defining all the issues relating to such themes. We already wrote about this process in detail in this article.
Each company should develop its own strategy and plan. The internal communication plan template we are offering is meant to be used as a practical starting point as we give you tips on how to write yours.
Internal communication plan: structure
In practical terms, the internal communication plan takes the form of a file. It allows you to gather in one place a list of themes to be addressed in the future, as well as their connection.
Under each item should be specified potential communication tools to use. However remember that you don’t necessarily have to provide a lot of details. It’s all down to how much internal communication you want as well as how big the company is. It is possible to only specify details e.g. the angle or who is going to be interviewed in the editorial plan.
Internal communication plan: must haves
On the other hand, some elements are essential and must be included in every internal communication plan. Remember that this is an everyday tool that will be used by both the company’s communications team and the service providers they hire. The file must therefore be clear, legible and easily understandable.
It should specify, for each theme:
- its importance
- its scope
- its audience
- possible communication channels
- audience measurement tools
To define these elements, you can use this template from All Things IC. It will help you make a detailed file for each theme. These files will later be used as a guide for creating content.
These instructions are then summarized in the communication plan itself.
A little more about internal communication plans
The excel file must be easy to read and each topic should be a summary of the key characteristics.
Important communication plan categories are the following:
- Theme: in other world the subject in a broad sense, the event that requires communicating on.
- Strategic objective: the ultimate goal of the communication, what the company aims to achieve.
- Communication objective: is it a presentation or an explanation, what the key points are, etc.
- Audience: to whom the communication is directed e.g. employees, managers, apprentices, staff in a given geographical area, etc.
- Communication methods: single content, ad hoc campaign, recurring topic, etc.
- Communication channels: which methods are you planning on using (details can be outlined in the editorial plan).
- Milestone date(s): the date of the event, the campaign launch period, the project milestones…
The internal communication plan can be used as a roadmap for achieving a goal. In particular, it helps you keep in mind the intent behind the content. It can also refer to other practical elements, such as the key person or the budget allocated to a theme.
The difference between a communication plan and editorial plan
The editorial plan is the practical implementation of the internal communication plan.
It can change according to current events and unexpected events, and help organize the making and publishing of the content.
Just like the communication plan, the editorial plan often consists of an Excel file. It should indicate:
- the publishing date
- the topic and angle
- the format chosen for each channel
- the person(s) in charge of creating the content
- the person(s) to talk to during the validation process
As shown in our template, an internal communication plan should be organized by themes, whereas editorial plans are arranged by date. The two files are complementary to one another.
Once created, all you have to do is use them! And, once the year is over, you can measure their effectiveness to further improve your daily work tools.