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The top 14 questions you need to ask to develop a killer strategic communications plan

By Felicity Zadro, Managing Director, Zadro

Endless information, how-to-guides and videos can show you how to do just about anything including how to write a strategic communications plan. But there’s no cookie cutter business; every business and organisation have a different set of resources, goals, purpose, history and future, so it is impossible that one guide fits all.

Over eleven years, I’ve facilitated and written approximately 150 strategic communication plans for businesses of all shapes and sizes; ASX listed, private, large, small, multi-national, not-for-profit, start-ups, merging, de-merging and even wrapping-up.

The one commonality is: they are all different!

For each plan, I’ve adapted the process, the methodology and even the strategy to suit them. This isn’t an off-the-shelf product one can copy and paste again and again. The trick with every plan is to create a space to ask the questions that really get to the heart of matter – to expose the organisation at a base level – so we can then start to recreate from the foundations up.

Here are my top 14 questions to ask during this process to get the most out of your strategic communications planning. They are the thought-starters for some valuable conversations that are best had by the key stakeholders in your organisation (not just the management team).

How you ask them, with whom, and how often (we recommend annually), is really up to you and your organisation, but getting the real honest answers to these questions will make a huge difference.

There are different phases an organisation will go through over the course of year. These are loosely grouped into the following milestones.

MILESTONE: When thinking about the overall management of your communication in your organisation

  1. Why have communications in your organisation? (or what role will it/does it play?)
  2. Whose responsibility is it to make decisions regarding your organisational communications?
  3. What are you doing now (across the whole organisation, not just formally?)
  4. What is working and what isn’t?
  5. What do people think, feel and know about your organisation?

MILESTONE: When  you’re sitting down to do your strategic planning

  1. Why does your organisation exist?
  2. What do you need to achieve?
  3. What does success look like?

MILESTONE: When determining your key messages, audiences (don’t forget your internal stakeholders) and implementation

  1. What do you need to say?
  2. Who do you need to say it to? When? Where? Why?
  3. What is the best way to say it?

MILESTONE: When measuring your work and evaluating its effectiveness

  1. What has had the most impact?
  2. What are we not going to do again?

MILESTONE:  When you sit down to think about the year ahead

  1. What are our new goals?

If you would like to learn more about developing integrated and strategic communications plan, check out ZU – Zadro University – we offer a one-day course on how to go about developing your own communications plan.

Or, to find out how Zadro can facilitate your strategic planning process, contact us today!

In a recent client survey, Zadro achieved a Net Promoter Score of 91!