If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we do not know what is around the corner. So that brings up a good question: how do you plan for 2021 when there is so much uncertainty?
When it comes to communications planning I believe it’s essential to keep your plan simple, focused on core actions and short-term. That way you can remain nimble and change when circumstances require.
I find, however, most people run out of planning gumption by 1 December. And with the exceptional year we’ve been through, the gumption meter is critically empty. So, how do you gear yourself up for the business planning, which should include communications planning, you need to do for 2021?
Don’t worry, I’m coming to the rescue! I’ve come up with a way to make your communications planning easy. It involves getting yourself into a 100-day planning and execution cycle.
Those 100 days consist of: 5 days to plan, 90 days to execute, 5 days to review, report and refresh. Following this routine will ensure you maintain momentum while keeping the focus on action.
That may sound easy, you say, but where do you actually start? Follow this simple 3 x 3 x 3 formula.
First: 3 Rs
The first step is to develop measurable communications goals related to the 3 Rs: reputation, relationships, revenue. And remember, it’s likely these goals will stay the same through a few planning cycles.
For reputation goals, you might be looking to raise awareness of your organisation, fix negative perceptions or build a leadership profile in your industry. Pick that one reputational accomplishment that, when achieved, will make a big difference in terms of opening doors to partnerships, generating word of mouth or attracting talent.
Relationships are important too. What do you want to achieve in this space? What relationships do you need to build from scratch, which ones do you need to maintain or revive? This might include developing relationships with local or central government, industry peers, customers or your staff. Pick that one relationship goal you need to strive for in 2021 and lock it in place.
And then there’s revenue. How can great communications come alongside your marketing and sales teams to give their efforts a boost? This might be about providing great stories and content to increase your social clicks and web hits or it might be executing a PR campaign alongside a product launch.
Second: 3 tactics, 3 actions
Then, once you’ve come up with your goals for your 3 Rs, develop 3 tactics you’ll use to achieve each and 3 actions within each tactic.
For instance, if one of your reputation goals is about building your industry leadership profile, your three tactics might be: 1) start a podcast, 2) speak at conferences, 3) build a LinkedIn profile. Your three actions within your podcasting tactic might then be: 1) book episode guests, 2) develop a digital marketing plan and 3) write media releases about each episode.
So there you have a roadmap for a 100-day communications plan with a 3 x 3 x 3 execution formula. Admittedly, it’s simple. This isn’t a planning template to tackle your most complex PR challenges. But if you’re simply looking to keep momentum going in the communications space, I guarantee this sort of plan will make an impact.
Still feeling a lack of gumption? I thought that might be the case. So, I’ve put together a planning template just for you at wearehmc.co.nz/blog/ to download.
Thanks for reading my column during 2020. Have a terrific holiday break and see you again in the New Year.