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Internal communication: how to define your plan?

Writing a precise internal communication plan  is an essential component to ensure effective communication with the employees. But how is it done ? We will guide you through it, step by step.

Your communication plan is a real roadmap for the year to come. It should include 3 areas : the topics you will talk about, the formats/medium of communication that you will use, and the concrete roll out.

The internal communication plan, a compilation of all topics

Before you do anything, you must define a communication strategy that is aligned with the overall strategy of the company, and its upcoming projects. Only then will you be able to define a precise and concrete plan, putting the strategy into action.


An annual work plan

The
communication plan usually covers a whole year. It is often done at the end of the year. That way, it can be rolled out from January. 
This document describes how the messages will be communicated and spread out, in advance. Therefore a precise schedule is at the heart of this document, and must indicate:

  • The big steps and milestones

  • The distribution of the topics throughout the year

  • The possible articulations between the different themes

Some themes will have to come back a few times, some others will need to be split. All of this depends on the importance of the topics, and the associated targets. Those details will be part of the communication plan.

A summary of all topics 

For the internal communication plan to be effective, it must be as exhaustive as possible. Most of the themes that will come up during the following year can be anticipated, with the exception of a few unexpected events. To have things as much under control as possible, the communication teams should get in touch with all the departments of the company when writing their communication plan. In doing so, the members of the communication department can gather all of their needs, and also advise them on the best way to present their topics.

For every single subject, an initial editorial work will be important to have the objective, target and approach clear.

From the internal communication plan to the format

Distributing the topics throughout the year is the first step. The second one is as important as the first. This next step is about planning the format to use for each of those communications.

From the content to the format


Some topics will be best to approach with a video. Some others will be more suited to a podcast format, to an article in the internal magazine… A theme can also target several audiences or departments. All of this should be planned in advance, to prevent redundancy in the communication.

All this work will be refined throughout the years, and you will go more and more into more details, but you should have the broad lines ready from the start. In doing so, the publications will flow better from one to the other one, and will be more effective.

The internal communication plan is a reflection of reality

Elaborate a communication plan also means to try to improve from the past year. To get better each year, it is important to have in mind different figures :

 

  • Which themes have been popular among the readers

  • Which campaigns have reached (or not) their targets

  • Which editorial meetups work well

Communication teams should not just plan the content and the format, but they  should also define some key indicators. They are crucial to measure the success of their publications and have more information about their audience.


What format should you choose for your internal communication plan

The communication plan is therefore a mix of a planning, a compilation of topics, and the formats that will be used. It is a tool that will be used by the whole team throughout the year. Other people will also have access to it, for example an external communication agency. It is therefore important to make sure it is easy to read and clear. 



The communication plan, an ever-changing tool

Once the annual communication plan is done,you can
send it to the rest of the team. It is an important document, but it does not mean it should not be modified. New themes may come up during the year, ideas will pop up… Every time that happens, insert those modifications in your internal communication plan. You will therefore have a document that you can use all year. It will also enable you to check that those new topics are in line with the rest of the scheduled publications, and the ones that have already been out.

An internal communication plan that is well built and through-through will be a precious tool to establish your budget, and to negotiate it!

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