Communications Plan should include:
- Objectives of the Communications Plan
- Key Messages
In this section, you write a few paragraphs about the event or the issue being addressed by this communications plan:
- How did this event/initiative come about?
- Are there issues to be addressed?
- What do you hope to achieve with this event or by managing the issue?
- What do you hope to achieve with this communication plan (briefly)?
Objectives of the Communications Plan
What are your objectives of this plan? Some examples could be:
- To build broad understanding of and support for the event/initiative
- To inform internal staff and external stakeholders about the event/initiative
- To enhance the reputation of the University
- To manage the risks of negative response to the event/initiative
- To manage expectations of key stakeholders
The communications plan will achieve its objectives by employing certain strategies. Some examples could be:
- Campaign to Inform and educate internal stakeholders
- Community relations campaign to reach external community stakeholders
- Public relations campaign to raise public awareness of UTM and the event/initiative
- Media relations strategy – proactive and reactive
What are some of the tactics and tools you need to for your strategies? Some tactics include:
- Web site content (or even developing an initiative-specific Web site)
- Promotional materials for external distribution
- PowerPoint presentations (tailored to various audiences)
- Customized backgrounder and/or Question and Answer document
- Briefings for selected audiences (i.e., reporters, internal and external stakeholders)
- E-Mail communication to internal audience
- Write-up in Internal and external publications
- Organizing a speaking tour
- Development of graphics packages
- Development of media distribution list
Who do you want to reach with this communications plan? Some examples include:
- Faculty and staff
- Student associations
- Broader public
- Academics (beyond the university)
- Government officials
What do you want to say to your audiences? Usually, you have 2-3 main messages and then some secondary ones based on audience needs.
- What is the most important message about your event/initiative (e.g., This event at the University of Toronto marks the first time it has been held in North America)
- What is the second-most important message? (e.g. This event recognizes the leadership role that the University of Toronto plays in international academic circles)
- What are your secondary messages? (e.g., Staff and faculty will benefit greatly from participation in this event)
This chart is essentially a road map for your tactics and messages. It is a useful tool to keep the plan on track.
This section helps you assess your efforts and set benchmarks for future events. It could include:
- Bi-weekly review and update of the plan to assess the effectiveness of tactics and messages;
- Periodic check of timelines; ensuring program is on schedule
- Daily media monitoring to identify potential issues and to assess what we need to do to increase/decrease media coverage