Communication plan template

Communication plans outline how a business, organization, or individual will interact with its internal and external stakeholders to keep them up-to-date on the latest developments.

It includes the who, what, when, where, why, and how of communication strategies and tactics tailored for a specific project or campaign.

In this blog post, we will provide communication plan templates that you can use for your own business whenever you need to get different types of messages across to various shareholders. We will also discuss some tips for creating an effective communication plan.

The importance of having a communication plan

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, it is more crucial than ever to have a clear and concise plan for communication in place ready for when the need arises.

Without one, businesses can easily get bogged down in the details and miss important opportunities to connect with their stakeholders, or fail to do so quickly enough.

A communications plan template can be a valuable tool for organizations of all sizes. Whether you are communicating with your employees, customers, partners, or the media, a communication plan can help ensure that your message is clear, concise, and on target.

How to title a communication plan

The title of this document should reflect its purpose, which usually (but not always) means including “communication plan” and some specific details. This way, everyone who comes into contact with the document will know what it is for and can easily reference it when needed.

Communication plan template example

For example, if the communication plan is for a new product launch or a certain marketing campaign, you may give it a title stating precisely that. Other elements that could be included in the title are the dates that the communication plan will be in effect and the name of the organization or team that it applies to.

Including this kind of information in the subject of the document will inform the relevant parties about the plan for messaging and get everyone involved on the same page with regards to when certain communication activities can or need to take place.

Communication plan subject line examples

  • New Product Launch Communication Plan
  • [Title]: Marketing Campaign Communication Plan
  • [Company Name] Internal Communication Plan
  • Strategic Communication Plan: [Company Name]
  • [Project Name] Project Management Communication Plan
  • New [Change in Company] Communication Plan
  • Plan for Communication with Stakeholders: [Company Name]
  • [Start Date] – [End Date]: March Communication Plan

How to write a communication plan

The way a communication plan is started depends on the purpose or type of communication.

Sometimes it is helpful to begin with an introduction that provides context and sets the tone for the communication style to follow, while at other times it makes more sense to jump right into the communication objectives and strategies.

In general, it will be useful to follow the steps below to write an effective communication plan for ensuring that your message hits the mark:

  • Carry out an audit of your existing communication strategy (if applicable) – this will allow you to identify any problem areas or content gaps (e.g. missing marketing materials) that need to be included in the new or updated plan.
  • Define SMART goals for your communications plan – setting objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bounded will help you to determine its effectiveness.
  • Develop your organization’s mission statement, core values, and key messages – these should be the foundation on which all communication strategies and activities are built. They might also be specified explicitly in the communication plan.
  • Identify the target audience segments of your communications plan – knowing and understanding the recipient of your messaging makes it easier to set the right tone for them.
  • Decide which channel(s) your messages will be delivered through – whether the best method for reaching your target audience would be via email or a press release, for instance, affects how the communication plan will be written.
  • Assign responsible parties – decide who will be in charge of delivering your communications plan on the various channels and to each different audience.
  • Calculate how each step will take and thus how long the communication plan will run for in total – this is necessary for clarifying the timeline and allocating a budget to make the necessary resources available.
  • Measure the results of your plan after communicating with the relevant stakeholders – recognizing areas for improvement means that you can update your strategy to increase its effectiveness.

What to include in a communication plan

  • Purpose – what this specific communication plan is intended to achieve
  • Target audience – the target audience of your messaging
  • Dates – when it was created and/or when this specific communication plan will apply
  • Methods – which communication channels you will send your messages via
  • Roles and responsibilities – what tasks each involved party will take care of
  • Do’s and don’ts – good practices and common mistakes to avoid when communicating with the project stakeholders
  • Framework for escalation – e.g. your ‘first line of defense’ and identifying the ‘greater response team’
  • Updates – how and when to modify the document to maintain an effective communication plan

Communication plan examples and templates

New Product Launch Communication Plan

[Company Name]: [Product Name] Launch Communication Plan

This communication plan applies to the launch of [Product Name] and is in effect from [start date] – [end date], before and after the launch date of [launch date].

Objectives:

• Ensure that all employees are aware of the launch date and have the necessary information about the product
• Generate excitement and interest in the product amongst employees
• Provide a clear and concise message to customers about the product
• Manage expectations with regards to delivery times and availability

Communication mediums:

• Email
• Press release
• Social media post – [Channel 1], [Channel 2], …

Launch Phases:

• Pre-Launch Activities
• Launch Day
• Post-Launch Follow Up

Pre-Launch Activities ([X] months prior to launch):

• [Activity 1]
• [Activity 2]
• [Activity 3] …

Launch Day:

• Live product unveiling
• Interviews with [Media Outlets]
• Tracking reactions

Post-Launch Follow Up (up to [X] months following launch):

• [Activity 1]
• [Activity 2]
• [Activity 3] …

Roles and responsibilities:

• [Person 1] will be responsible for drafting all communication materials
• [Person 2] will be responsible for sending out communication materials to the media
• [Person 3] will be responsible for handling customer inquiries

Do:

• Create a communication timeline to ensure that all communication activities are carried out in a timely and coordinated manner
• Make use of visuals (e.g. images, infographics) to break up text and add interest
• Proofread all communication materials before sending them out

Don’t:

• Overload stakeholders with too much information at once – provide updates on a regular basis to avoid overwhelming them.
• Forget to include a call-to-action (e.g. visit our website, sign up for our newsletter) in order to engage the reader
• Neglect to test communication materials (e.g. send out a test email) before sending them to the entire list of stakeholders

Framework for escalation:

• If there are any problems with the communication plan, please contact [Person Responsible].
• If [Person Responsible] is unavailable, please contact [Alternative Contact]

Updates:

• This communication plan will be reviewed and finalized on [review date]
• Changes may be made to the communication goals, target audience, and channels
• Updated communication plans should be sent to the [Internal Team/Department Responsible]

[Title]: Marketing Campaign Communication Plan

[Company Name] will be launching a marketing campaign for [Product Name] from [start date] to [end date].

Goals:

• [Goal 1]
• [Goal 2]
• [Goal 3] …

SWOT Analysis:

• Strengths – [Strength 1], [Strength 2], [Strength 3], …
• Weaknesses – [Weakness 1], [Weakness 2], [Weakness 3], …
• Opportunities – [Opportunity 1], [Opportunity 2], [Opportunity 3], …
• Threats – [Threat 1 ], [Threat 2 ], [Threat 3 ], …

Tactics:

• [Tactic 1]
• [Tactic 2]
• [Tactic 3] …

Channels:

• Email
• Paid search
• Display advertising
• Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram
• Press release
• Blog post
• Events and webinars – [Event 1], [Event 2], [Event 3], …

Roles and responsibilities:

• [Person/Team Responsible 1 ] will be responsible for drafting all communication materials.
• [Person/Team Responsible 2] will be responsible for sending out communication materials to the media.
• [Person/Team Responsible 3] will be responsible for handling customer inquiries.
• [Person/Team Responsible 4] will be responsible for managing the budget.

Budget:

• $[X] for [Tactic/Channel 1]
• $[Y] for [Tactic/Channel 2]
• $[Z] for [Tactic/Channel 3] …

Evaluation:

• [KPI 1] will be used to measure the success of this marketing campaign
• [KPI 2] will be tracked on a weekly basis and reported to the [Person/Team Responsible]
• [KPI 3] …

Timeline:

• [Activity 1] – [start date] to [end date]
• [Activity 2] – [start date] to [end date]
• [Activity 3] – [start date] to [end date] …

This communication plan will be finalized on [review date] and is therefore subject to change until that date.

[Company Name] Internal Communication Plan

Objectives: To ensure that all stakeholders are kept up to date with developments, and to keep communication channels open.

Situational Analysis: Internal communication at [company name] has been identified as an area that needs improvement. In particular, communication between management and staff, and communication amongst team members has been identified as needing improvement.

Stakeholders: all employees of [company name]

Implementation:

• A communication plan will be put in place to improve communication at [company name]
• All employees will be made aware of the communication plan and their roles in it
• The communication plan will be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as necessary

Teams Involved: Management team, HR team, communications team

Roles and Responsibilities:

• Management team – responsible for communication with staff
• HR team – responsible for communication amongst team members
• Communications team – responsible for drafting and sending communication materials

Key Messages:

• Effective communication at all times is crucial
• Communication at [Company Name] requires improvement
• This communication plan will be put in place to effect the necessary changes
• All employees have a role to play in the communication plan
• The communication plan will be reviewed on a regular basis
• Communication is a two-way process
• Employees should feel free to ask questions and give feedback

Guidelines:

• All communication should be clear and concise
• Communication materials should be sent out in a timely manner
• Communication channels should be monitored regularly
• Communication should be respectful and professional at all times

Approval: [Person Responsible], [Position], [Creation date]

Strategic Communication Plan: [Company Name]

Executive Summary: This communication plan is for [purpose] and will be in effect from the [start date] until [end date].

Objectives: Maintain effective communication with the various audiences to uphold the mission and values of the company.

Mission Statement: [Company mission statement]

Core Values: [Company values]

Situational Analysis: [Background information and context about the situation or problem that the communication plan is designed to address]

Audience | Message(s) | Media or Channel | Frequency | Timing | Assigned Team Member | Feedback Method

[Audience 1 | [Message 1] | Face-to-face | Weekly | Every [Weekday] | [Person/Team Responsible 1] | Survey

[Audience 2 | [Message 2] | Report | Monthly | Within [X] hours of approval | [Person/Team Responsible 2] | Evaluation Form

[Audience 3 | [Message 3] | Email | Daily | [Time] | [Person/Team Responsible 3] | Review …

[Project Name] Management Communication Plan

Project Name: [Project Name]

Project Manager: [Project Manager’s Name]

Beginning Date: [start date]

Completion Date: [end date]

Project Objectives: Design and build a website and mobile app for the client’s new e-commerce business. Optimize the former for search engine ranking (SEO) and both for conversion, in accordance with [Company Name]’s latest SEO guidelines. Make the website and app user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and visually appealing, including an effective call-to-action (CTA) that encourages users to convert easily.

Communication Goal | Communication Method | Audience | Frequency

[Goal 1] | [Method 1] | [Audience 1] | [Daily/Weekly/Monthly]

[Goal 2] | [Method 2] | [Audience 2] | [Daily/Weekly/Monthly]

[Goal 3] | [Method 3] | [Audience 3] | [Daily/Weekly/Monthly]

New [Change in Company] Communication Plan

Created By: [Person Responsible]

Effective Of: [start date]

Summary:

• [Change 1] is happening because [reason 1]
• [Change 2] is a result of [reason 2]
• [Change 3] is necessary in order to [reason 3] …

What does this mean for employees?

[Explanation of how the change will affect employees]

Stakeholders:

• [Audience 1] will be impacted by [change 1]
• [Audience 2] will be affected by [change 2]
• [Audience 3] will need to adjust as a result of [change 3]

Phases:

Task | Timeline | Person/Team Responsible

[Task 1] | Day 1/Week 1/start date/etc.] | [Person/Team Responsible 1]

[Task 2] | Day 2/Week 2/mid date/etc.] | [Person/Team Responsible 2]

[Task 3] | Day 3/Week 3/end date/etc.] | [Person/Team Responsible 3] …

Plan for Communication with Stakeholders: [Company Name]

Effective from: [start date] to [end date]

Goals:

• [Goal 1]
• [Goal 2]
• [Goal 3] …

Objectives:

• [Objective 1]
• [Objective 2]
• [Objective 3] …

Changes:

• [Change 1]
• [Change 2]
• [Change 3] …

Projections:

• [Projection 1]
• [Projection 2]
• [Projection 3] …

Stakeholder communication:

• [Channel 1]
• [Channel 2]
• [Channel 3] …

Contact Details: [Person Responsible], [Position], [Phone number/email address/etc.]

[Start Date] – [End Date]: Communication Plan

Company Name: [Company Name]

Date Created: [creation date]

Contact Information: [contact details]

Introduction:

This communication plan has been created for [purpose] and will be in effect from the creation date.

Objectives:

• [Objective 1]
• [Objective 2]
• [Objective 3] …

Audience:

• [Target user 1]
• [Target user 2]
• [Target user 3] …

Communication plan good practices

  • Start with a table or chart to identify message types – which communication channels you will use, who you are targeting, and the tone, etc.
  • An action plan should be created before any communication is sent out – it’s best to be proactive and have strategies for various messages mapped out prior to starting out with your activity or before anything goes wrong.
  • Include a crisis communication plan as a part of your larger communication – more on that here ➡️ Crisis communication plan checklist
  • Review and update your communication plan regularly as the project moves forward – things will inevitably change and you want your messaging to adapt accordingly.
  • Make sure everyone on the communication team is aware of the document and knows their role – action plans are only as effective as the people carrying them out.
  • Assign someone to be in charge of communication and make sure they have the time and resources they need to be successful.

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Summary

Communication is key to success in any business, and creating a plan for how to do it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.

By following a template, you can write an effective communications plan that outlines how you will message your key audiences in various situations.

With a well written communication plan document, you can get everyone in your organization on the same page about what kind of messages need to be sent out, when, and how.

Having this in place will keep your messaging strategy cohesive and aligned with your business objectives, increasing your chances of achieving your communication goals.

Frequently asked questions

When should I create a communication plan?

As soon as possible or at least early on in a project or initiative, before any key activities have begun. This allows you to think through all of the potential key stakeholders and how best to reach them with your message. If you wait until later in a project to develop a communication plan, it may be more difficult to get everyone’s buy-in and participation.

What is different about a crisis communication plan?

Other types of communication plans may be used on a daily basis, but a crisis communication plan is specifically tailored to handle communications during and after a major emergency or incident. The goal of a crisis communication plan is to ensure that the right information is communicated to the right people in a timely manner regardless of external factors.

How often should I update my communication plan?

It is generally best to revise and update the communication plan at least once a year to keep the information contained within it relevant and accurate, as well as allowing for any necessary changes or additions to be made in a timely manner. However, if there are any major changes or events within the organization that could potentially impact its communication strategy, then an update to the plan should be made as soon as possible instead of waiting for the regular review time frame. This will make everyone involved in executing the plan aware of any new developments or potential risks so that they can take appropriate actions accordingly.

Who can benefit from a communication plan?

Individuals, groups, and businesses can all improve their messaging by clarifying the desired results of communication, specifying the steps needed to achieve those outcomes, and identifying who is responsible for each step. This is beneficial for both those people or organizations, as well as the stakeholders who will receive the messages, since a plan will help to make all communication clear and concise, as well as preventing any miscommunication or misunderstandings from occurring.

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