Creating a strategy can be done in different ways depending on the nature of your project. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODS), creating a strategy is an art, not a science. Whether you are creating a business strategy or a strategy for a smaller project, a few basic guidelines are necessary to achieve your goal.
List your objectives. According to ODS, your objectives are key to the success of your strategy. If you want to establish communications to advance your organisation, you must ensure that your communications strategy is in sync with the objectives of your organisation. Your strategy is not an end unto itself. Your strategy should advance the objectives of the organisation.
Identify your audience. Your audience may be clients. You must identify and understand the needs of your audience. This must be clearly identified in your written strategy. A lack of understanding of your audience can have a negative impact on your overall success. You should look at the not-so-obvious members of your audience as well as those at the top of your list.
Create key messages and strategically target your various audiences. Every audience or group of clients has niche interests that seem small, but as a group, these niche markets are increasingly valuable. Create individual messages to strategically target these groups.
Identify the tools and activities most necessary for your organisation or project. Your strategy must detail the tools and activities needed for success. Make a comprehensive list. For example, if your strategy is to communicate with your organisation, you might use an e-mail newsletter for internal communication while you would use an annual report for upper management.
Establish expectation levels using your dedicated resources. Never promise what you cannot perform. This is very important because many strategies fail due to the inability to perform as expected. Know your resources and perform as promised.
Audit your processes to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy. Once your strategy has been implemented, revisit it often to assess the progress and effectiveness. Do communications reach the intended target. Is everyone informed? Has anyone been left out of the loop? Your strategy is an ongoing process that needs to be tweaked from time to time.