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How to Make a Public Relations Communications Plan

A proven step-by-step formula with bonus examples and templates
Instructor:
CRFT New Media
1,242 students enrolled
English [Auto]
How to make a communications plan for your project or organization
How to work relevant research into your communications plan
How to come up with a communications strategy
How to develop and evaluate meaningful communications objectives
Tactics to use to accomplish your communications objectives

The framework taught in this course has been used by public relations practitioners for decades to avoid costly miscommunications and achieve desirable results during campaigns, projects, and ongoing general communications. Put it to use for your business or project right now by using our free worksheets, templates, and examples included with this course. This course is growing and getting better all the time. Buy it once and benefit from having lifetime access to all of the resources and templates that are added year over year.

Updated: We heard your feedback! We have created two new extensive lessons to walk you step-by-step through the hardest parts of communications planning that we have used in real large-scale communications plans:

  • audience analysis and psychographics and

  • a process to generate objectives and strategies

Why do I need a communications plan?

Word travels fast and mistakes are not easily forgiven. Failing to communicate your message or brand effectively and consistently can have huge costs, including destroyed reputations and loss of customers.

So while you may already have a business plan and a marketing plan, have you developed your communications plan? Is your organization equipped to deliver messaging in a consistent way, aligning with your brand?

In this era of social media and politically charged topics, it’s more important than ever to come up with a thoughtful communications plan to ensure things go smoothly and messages are communicated effectively. 

This course introduces you to communications planning through a simple four part framework that will help you put together a plan that works for you and/or your team. You will learn how to:

  • Do relevant research and communicate that to your audience

  • Perform meaningful analysis and come up with an effective strategy

  • Identify your target audience and develop key messages that matter

  • Pinpoint objectives that can be used to measure change

  • Deal with negative situations and emergencies

  • Find tactics and channels that resonate with your audience

  • Effectively evaluate and measure your success

Making a communications plan doesn’t have to be hard. Stop hoping that things will work out with your communications and put together a plan that works today by enrolling in How to Make a Communications Plan.

Introduction

1
Introduction

Welcome to the course, this lecture explains the benefits of developing a communications plan.

2
Communications Plan Worksheet

Use this template to outline your own communications plan as you work your way through the course.

3
Making the Plan: Things to Consider

This video explains some of the considerations you should reflect on before writing your plan.

4
Pre-planning Checklist

Use this checklist to prepare for writing a successful plan.

5
Summary

This lecture provides a summary of the first module for your review.

Research

1
Research

This lesson introduces the research section of the communications plan. You will learn what to include in the research section of the plan.

2
Research Methods

This video goes over some of the research methods you might want to use in more detail. You will learn about using primary research methods and secondary sources.

3
Research Methods Transcript

This article provides further explanation of the research methods introduced in the lecture.

4
Test your knowledge

Analysis

1
Analysis

This lecture describes what to include in the analysis section of your plan. You will learn about SWOT analysis, strategy, key messages, and objectives.

2
Step by Step Activity: Audience Analysis

Understanding your audience is the foundation of your communications plan. This lesson walks you through a method for getting to better understand your audience. There is also a downloadable example and template.


The programs I am using for this demonstration are free collaboration tools Google Jamboard and Google Docs.

3
SWOT Analysis Exercise

SWOT Analysis Exercise


Draw two intersecting lines on a page, separating an area into four quadrants like the chart on the right.


Brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your plan or project.


Try to come up with as many as possible for each area. List the current strengths and weaknesses of your project, and then list any potential and or emerging opportunities and threats.


This analysis challenges you to think about your current position and where to focus your energy going forward with your communication plan.

4
Refining Your Strategy

If you are having trouble developing your strategy, this lecture will help you to write one that makes sense for your plan.

5
Refining your Strategy Transcript

Develop your strategy with these tips and suggestions.

6
Step by Step Activity: Generating Objectives and Strategies

In this activity, I walk you through a process to help you to create and define goals, objectives, and strategies for your plan.

The programs I am using for this demonstration are free collaboration tools Google Jamboard and Google Docs.

7
Analysis Section Template

Your analysis section does not have to contain everything we have discussed, but it should provide an overview of your overall strategic direction. The analysis section contains your proposed solution to the problem or challenge you hope to address through your communications.

Try on your own, or use this template and examples to give you ideas.

8
Test your knowledge

Communications

1
Communications

This lesson introduces the communications section of the plan. You will learn what elements to include in the communications section.

2
Tactics & Channels

This video further explains how to use channels and tactics, and expands on the different types of media channels. You will learn how to choose effective channels for your plan.

3
Tactics

Use this template to help plan tactics for your campaign.

4
Channels

Use this worksheet to assess which channels you have available to engage your audiences through.

5
Dealing with Crisis

DCAP is a principle for communicating in crisis situations. Sometimes referred to as just the "CAP" principle, DCAP stands for:

- Disclosure

- Concern

- Action

- Perspective

Learn about how to apply DCAP in this lecture.

6
Test your knowledge

Evaluation

1
Evaluation

This video explains the evaluation step of RACEĀ planning. You will learn about the importance of the evaluation section and what to include in your evaluation plan.

2
Thinking About Your Evaluation

This article further explains how to integrate evaluation throughout your plan and provides guidance on how to focus your efforts and tools to use.

Conclusion

1
Conclusion

Thank you for taking our course, good luck with your communications plans and campaigns!

2
Additional Resources

Not all communications plans are the same. Throughout the course, we discussed how communications plans can be tailored to your specific situation or organization's needs. Here is an additional template of a different style of plan to give you inspiration, and a worksheet template you can use to better understand your brand, audiences, and the value of your channels.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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1 hours on-demand video
12 articles
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion

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How to Make a Public Relations Communications Plan
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