How to Build a Communications Plan for Your Business

October 3, 2022

By Magdalene Borowicz September 2022

Hello, my name is Magda (from ActionCOACH Marketing), and I am guest blogging to highlight your communications planning and provide resources to build a strong forward-thinking communications strategy. If you already have a plan, I hope to impart a nugget of information or perspective. We have a lot to cover so let's get started.

How long is your plan?

A marketing plan is a sub part of a business plan. The formalized process of writing these business artifacts has shortened to the one-page project scope. Below you will find links to Business Model Explained and Lean Canvas. These are two FREE resources you can use for strategic planning.

FACT: once your business adopts a system, good or bad, rarely does the inclination come to change it.

~Until the money stops, then everyone turns to marketing.

Let us make some changes. Your marketing plan is the premium fuel to the performance car of your business plan. Good marketing strategy goes into a performance business plan is the point.

Your marketing plan should be an active three months with six months' outlook. A three-month working calendar is tactical and detailed, the execution of the strategy. The six months view is forward thinking and gives you opportunity to queue talent, resources, or skills in advance.

Business Planning Resources:

Business Model Canvas Explained (free)

Lean Canvas (free)

What is your content?

A campaign template will be your best tool for consistency. This grounding document acts like a floor plan for your marketing efforts. Before you “decorate” your plan with topics, you identify the “must have’s” in your home/campaign. Your template will include all of the elements you deem necessary including calendar, content, timing and measurement (our suggestions).

A strong strategy will utilize a BLOG or VLOG. These tools are frequently posted, use keywords, and is how the web bots will identify your content as new and relevant.

// What is up with bots?

Every night, just after the stroke of midnight, the search engines of the web send out “spiders” or “bots”, a program which crawls the internet for newly-added content. When it finds something new, it will scan the meta tags for relevancy. Your content will then be cataloged and displayed in searches.

Easy does it

Design a campaign template using tools your team can deliver on regularly. Editorial calendars can plan up to a year of messaging and plot it on a calendar. Each month’s calendar becomes a series of tasks of creating content. Google search “Editorial Calendar” for many free templates.

Focus on the type of media you are most comfortable creating. Video is helpful to convey a lot of information efficiently while giving you “facetime.” Small investments in light rings, green screens, lavalier microphones, and tripods can create very nice-looking videos. When you need the professional touch, hire it; generally, the public is highly accepting of self-produced video.

What is my target's main concern?

Have you had that moment of blank thoughts when it comes to the content you need to create? Your topics are the main concerns of your persona.

Target audiences are too broad for relationship building. Persona’s are a drilled down profile of your ideal customer.

Your target is not “everyone.” First, “everyone” cannot afford or needs your product/service. “Everyone” is not suffering from the problem you can solve. So, who is it? Get extremely specific and get to KNOW their problems. Research shows us a few customers who really want our product convert better than a lot of customers who are unsure. As you

define personas you gain a deep knowledge of what issues face this individual. Where do you come in to resolve those issues? Focus on the few.

Can you hear me now?

If your message is relevant and memorable, then it is time to consider your delivery. Where does your persona receive information? Podcast? Social Media? Magazines? Your newsletter? Now is the time to learn where your persona is spending time. You can be omnipresent and timely with the right strategy, meet them where they are.

Test and measure. It is unlikely you will discover the perfect recipe for marketing until you have tried, tested, and measured multiple approaches. You can be assured once you have a strategy that works, you can work the strategy. Elements will change but a good plan will quickly adjust.

Side notes on mind-mapping: a technique first known to be used and taught by Master Leonardo de Vinci. This process allows for ideation and expounding of concepts without restriction of format. Once your ideas are captured, they can be exported in outline format to complete as content. www.mindmeister.com offers three free maps forever for all users. Try it out!

TL;DR- Craft a message of value to the end user and put it out on time. Example: Blog: “How to reward your staff.” Post it October for the holiday campaign, tie it to ad for (insert relevant product) succession strategy sessions.

Resources: This campaign was designed in MindMeister an online mind mapping software. You can find the published map here.

What are the best channels?

At this point you have considered personas, their issues against your solution, and determined what you will say to them. Our attention now turns to where you deliver.

Digital marketing holds the allure of access to demographics. We believed we could use this as a map directly to our customer. And still lower than expected conversion. Modern techniques tell us to use digital channels as tools to deliver our content. If that didn’t sink in, let me explain. Your customer needs something, possibly education, entertainment, or insight to what you do. Refer to these categories as “content pillars”. As you synchronize with your persona’s, deliver the message they need at the

point needed. Use social channels to do it. Suzanne Somers, the famous actress, hosts a Friday happy hour on Facebook where she showcases product while “chatting” talk show format with her audience. She is a master, catch her show.

These tools are useful in the context of a campaign. The campaign has a goal, you choose the platform to align with the goal.

Assume your client will attempt to self-serve and provide enough tools to satisfy yet create the need to contact for full scope/resolution.

Choose a channel and use it like a pro

If you determine your “critical mass” audience is on LinkedIn, go there and BE there. The more time you build a social platform, the better you will know how it operates. At least one social channel needs to have complete profile build out. A sprinkling across all channels is a poor impression. Please only reference the channels where you are active. Man the inbox.

TL;DR- Show up one place well. Show up where your persona is, well enough.

Conclusion

You are just beginning. A communications plan, like the floor plan to a building/home, can be detailed down to the outlet. In this article we covered identifying your personas instead of a too general target audience. Know our personas lifestyle and habits so well you can determine how to show up in their world. And finally, we put the spotlight on your own social reputation to ensure you show up as intended when your persona seeks you out.

Timing is everything, to be omni-present means taking stock of your business, seasons, and events that impact your personas buying behavior. Scheduling these into a 6-month plan keeps ideas forward thinking as you execute a 3-month tactical plan.

TL;DR- No one said marketing was a short game, but it does systemize into normalcy when you find the winning recipe. Smart inputs yield great outputs. It can be effective at all levels.

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