How to plan an effective communication strategy

Many times PR professionals succumb to the pressure and do things that do not add any value to their communication strategy. Pitching irrelevant press releases in media to please the boss or client and inviting irk of journalists is one of such things PR people do and regret later. Communications professionals in B2B companies often get trapped in such a situation where scope for PR is already limited.  In a quest to meet the expectations of brand owners, they get lost in internal messaging and media release. Ignorance or pressure, the reason could be anything but this is not the way to build a sustainable PR strategy for any organisation. Hence, drawing a clear line between what makes PR and what not and educating brand owner/client on it become critical for PR professionals.

Internal and external communication are the two distinct parts of any communication strategy. While internal communication is majorly focused on keeping employees aligned with the organisation’s vision, external communication has a greater horizon and impact in terms of reputation building. Drawing a clear line between both is very critical to tap the right medium for the larger impact. Similarly, CSR and employee engagement activities are separate concepts and are often misunderstood. For instance, any company adopting any remote village to uplift the standards of living of people through various projects is a CSR initiative. However, employees one-day trip to that village is not necessarily is part of CSR. CSR is about bringing positive change in the society, whereas employee engagement activities are largely centred around fun and team building. Journalists are not certainly interested in their virtual antakshari competition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way organisations communicate with their target audience. They are opting for human stories over brand promotions and employees are off course at the center of their communication strategy. However, the temptation to have full-page news coverage of every small or big event or internal change defeats the very purpose of PR. Therefore, it is important that PR professional do not fall in this trap.  As I mentioned earlier, not every event or activity can be a PR opportunity and pitching the irrelevant stories to media will only attract disappointment. Taking a stand and convincing brand owners is not an easy task, especially in the B2B space where personal image building takes over the organisation’s visibility and reputation management. But fair and transparent communication could help in getting the conversation started.

Here are few points PR professional should consider for an effective communication plan:

  • Resist the temptation of doing PR of anything and everything
  • Educate brand owners and clients on internal and external communication
  • Define the purpose of PR and the target audience
  • Study news portals for trends and follow journalists for their style
  • Understand the difference between CSR and employee engagement activities
  • Take a periodic review of internal and external communication
  • Avoid entertaining unrealistic expectations of brand owners/ clients
  • Be clear about the scope of your work

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Priyanka Pugaokar
Priyanka Pugaokar is a communications professional with expertise in internal and external communication, crisis communications, content generation and media relations. She holds over ten years of combined experience in communications and business journalism. She is currently associated with Rashi Peripherals Limited as Corporate Communications Manager and leads several strategic projects. She is an avid travel explorer. A lifelong learner, she holds interest in yoga, naturopathy, energy healing and crystallography.

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