Top Change Management Communication Plan Template Guide (Step-by-Step)

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Charting Success with Your Communication Plan Guide

If you’ve ever found yourself steering through the turbulent waters of change in your organization, you already know that it’s not always a smooth ride. Change can be challenging, both for the leadership team initiating it and the employees experiencing it. But there’s a beacon of hope on the horizon: the Change Management Communication Plan.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of change management and communication planning, breaking it down in the most reader-friendly way.

Think of communication plans as your trusty navigational tools through uncharted territory.

Whether you’re a manager, a team member, or an enthusiast of all things organizational change, you’ll find valuable insights and actionable tips here. We’ll unravel the mysteries of why change communication matters, how to create a winning plan, and why it can be your secret weapon for navigating change successfully.

So, arm yourself with knowledge, and let’s embark on a journey to understand, create, and implement a change management communication plan that not only eases the transition but also fosters enthusiasm and dedication among your team members.

Searching for a brief overview? It’s up next. If you’re eager to explore in-depth content, simply continue on and you’ll discover additional reading material beyond the summary.

Quick Summary

Defining the Elements of a Commination Plan

A communication plan is a detailed strategy for a campaign, outlining objectives, strategy, and approach. It includes target audience, information needs, timing, prioritization, and messaging effectiveness. It includes a matrix with campaign name, type, objectives, content, delivery channels, priority, and metrics.

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Crafting a Winning Change Communication Plan

The communication plan should look through the change management perspective and focus on the:

  • Who,
  • What,
  • When,
  • How,
  • and Where

OCMS Portal - Communication Plan Who what when how where

It should outline project stakeholders and impacted end-users, as well as the communication channels to be used. Additionally, the plan should define communication objectives and consider the timing and prioritization of project communications to be effective.

Crafting Clear Project Objectives and Communication Messaging

To create an effective communication plan, understand the project’s goals and purpose by interviewing leads and attending meetings. Tailor communication plans for different projects like change management, marketing, sales, or events. Create messaging pillars, concise, clear, and tailored to the target audience for consistency in messaging.

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OCM Toolkit for Change Managers and Teams. Change Impacts

Why Knowing Your Audience Matters in Communication Planning

A strategic communications plan should identify its target audience, which can be:

  • Internal audiences: include employees, managers, and executives
  • External audiences: include customers, clients, suppliers, vendors, and leads

In online campaigns, both internal and external audiences are engaged, ensuring an effective communication plan. Tailoring communications for each audience is crucial.

business communication plan example

Sample Communication Strategy and Plan with Analytics on OCMS Portal

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Navigating Your Communication Plan with Defined Objectives

In the process of developing your strategic communication plan template, it’s essential to specify clear objectives. Understanding your target audiences is the first step, as different groups may require distinct types of messaging. 

sample communications strategy

These objectives revolve around what you want your audience to do and the actions you expect from them, whether it’s raising awareness or specific actions.

How you communicate and what you communicate will be guided by these objectives, and the approach may vary across organizations and cases, ensuring a tailored and effective communication plan.

Choosing the Right Communication Channels

To effectively communicate with your target audience, use a multi-pronged strategy that includes both online and offline methods. This includes:

  • Social media posts
  • Internal messaging apps
  • and Virtual meetings

Conduct assessments, understand audience preferences, and make necessary additions to enhance the effectiveness of your communication plan.

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OCM Software for Organizational Change Management

Detailed Deep Dive

A Simple, but Detailed Guide | The Best Communication Plan Sample with Examples and Templates

This simple-to-use change management communication plan and strategic guide provides you with a step-by-step overview of the best communication plan practices that will help increase the success of your communication strategy and delivery.

A corporate communications plan can suffer if you’re relying on an outdated communication plan template and framework that no longer addresses today’s most effective forms of messaging.

That’s why it’s crucial for you, as a communication practitioner to stay well-informed, learn continuously, and keep up with new types of online communication.

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OCMS Portal Strategic Communication Plan

How to Make a Communication Plan

In this project communication plan example guide, we’ll take you through an effective communication and messaging strategy, step by step. You’ll also find comms plan example samples, templates, and best practices.

To support you and other communication practitioners and project leads in their communication campaigns and planning, this guide also references OCMS Portal best-in-class #1 Communication Toolkit with Plan Templates, Analytics, and Sample Data that you can leverage to enhance your communication development, delivery, and success tracking.

Strategic communications plan examples and practices are ever-changing. As technology and methods of preferred communication planning evolve, it’s important to update the tools you are using to facilitate your team.

Table of Contents: Communication Plan Guide

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

1. What Is a Communication Plan? What You Need to Know
2. Types of Business Communication Plan Examples
3. Best Change Management Communication Plan
4. OCMS Portal Communication Plan Template with Real-Time Analytics
5. What Is the Difference Between a Waterfall & Agile Communication Plan?
6. How to Define the Project Purpose for Your Communication Plan Outline
7. Need to Identify the Target Audience Lists for Your Comms Plan
8. Specify the Objectives for Your Strategic Communication Plan Template
9. Determine the Best Message Delivery Channels for Your Target Audiences
10. Need to Define Your Corporate Communications Plan Schedule
11. Create Messages for Your Team Communication Plan Campaign
12. How to Define Performance Tracking Metrics for Your Comms Plan
13. Communication Campaign Performance Tracking
14. Implement Your Strategic Communication Plan Template
15. Analyze & Optimize Your Corporate Communications Plan
16. OCMS Portal: Communication Plan Example (with Checklist for Tasks)
17. Messaging Templates & Samples for Your Comms Plan
18. Communication via Newsletter | Sample & Template
19. Two-Way Communication Strategy
20. 3×5 Leadership Communication | Sample & Template
21. FAQs Communication Strategy
22. Intranet/Blog Communication
23. Videos & Recordings Strategy – Include on Your Project Communication Plan
24. Social Media Strategy
25. OCMS Portal Comms Plan Template with Sample Communication Strategy & Plan
26. Conclusion – Strategic Communication Plan Template

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Do you have any questions about this communications guide? Are there other communication plan examples you would like to see listed in this guide? Please, reach out and let us know.

What Is a Communication Plan? Definition & What You Need to Know

Let’s first discuss the basics by answering, “What is a communication plan?”

A communication plan is a detailed documentation of your communication objectives, strategy, and approach. It includes the who, what, when, how, and where of a communication campaign. Such plans adequately outline who the communication target audience is, what they need to know, when they need to be communicated with, how they will be communicated with, and how the messaging was received. 

Sample Communication Plan Definition

strategic communications plan example

To be effective, a strategic communication assessment should include a detailed overview of the target audience groups and individuals, as well as the delivery channels, communication objectives, timing, prioritization, and the approach that will be used.

Communication Plan Matrix Example | What to Include:

  • Name of campaign
  • Communication type
  • Communication objective
  • Message details (subject line, message text)
  • Delivery channel
  • Priority
  • Stage (being drafted, ready for approval, approved-not sent, sent)
  • Delivery frequency
  • Messaging start date
  • Messaging end date
  • Date sent
  • Target audience details (department, job title, type of demographic, etc.)
  • Engagement success scoring & metrics

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OCM Apps for Organizational Change Management - Change Risks
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Do you have any questions about the communication skills assessment outlined in this guide? Do you have feedback on other types of project management communication plan examples that you would like to see listed in this guide? Please reach out and let us know.

Types of Business Communication Plan Examples

When doing communication assessments to create a sample strategic communication plan, the basic steps we’ve laid out below can be used no matter what type of communications you’re doing.

For example, you may be communicating with external audiences for a sales and marketing campaign for a new product. Or you may need to communicate internally as part of change management.

Whatever levels of communication in an organization are required, you’ll follow similar steps to choose audiences, delivery channels, priorities, and timeline, in addition to creating the content for your messaging.

Corporate communication plan examples include:

  • Advertising/sales communication plan template
  • Project communication plan sample
  • Stakeholder communication plan example
  • Waterfall communication plan template example
  • Agile communication plan template
  • Sample communication plan for events
  • Change management communication assessment & plan
  • Social media communications campaign
  • New business communication plan example

Best Change Management Communication Plan

The best types of change management communication plans are similar in nature to the communication plans discussed above. The difference is that a change project communication plan example is focused on the who, what, when, how, and where – from a change management perspective.

A change management communication and engagement plan example gives an overview of the project stakeholders and impacted end-users that will be communicated with, as well as the project communication delivery channels that will be used to communicate with the impacted audience groups.

Tool & Checklist Template to Manage Your Communications

To be effective, a change comms plan example should include an overview of the communication plan objectives examples (What do you want your project messages to achieve? What do you need project stakeholders to do? What do your impacted users need to be aware of? etc.).

It should also include the timing and prioritization of your various change project communications.

OCMS Portal Communication Plan Template with Real-Time Analytics

Improve your communication skills assessment and planning with templates, sample data, and reporting insights.

Sample Communication Strategy with Real-Time Analytics

sample strategic communication plan

OCMS Portal Communication Plan Tool – Team Communication Plan Reporting

Continue reading for a more detailed overview of the best communication strategies, plans, and templates that you should be aware of.

What Is the Difference Between a Waterfall & Agile Communication Plan?

When seeking out a sample communication plan for project management, you might wonder if there’s a difference between a waterfall and Agile communication plan.

The steps that you take to plan your communications and messaging plan will be similar, but with an Agile communication plan, you’ll be repeating the same types of online communications and offline messaging for each sprint.

How to make a communication plan for each type of approach will follow these flows.

Waterfall Communication Plan Outline

The waterfall project approach follows sequential steps from start to finish. Thus, most of your awareness communications for a project would come in the beginning, and your post-go-live messaging would come at the end.

Agile Communication Plan Outline

The Agile project approach is iterative. The project is divided into smaller parts called “sprints.” For each sprint, you would repeat the cycle of your communication plan template.

Sprint 1 would include the most planning, and you would create a project communication plan sample template that could then be leveraged during Sprint 2, Sprint 3, and so on. You also should take lessons learned from earlier sprints to continually improve your communication and messaging activities.

agile communication plan

Communication guidelines template differences of Waterfall and Agile approaches.

Tool & Checklist Template to Manage Your Communications

How to Define the Project Purpose for Your Communication Plan Outline

Before you can get started on any communication assessments for your plan, you need to thoroughly understand the project that requires a communications campaign.

Interview project or marketing leads to learn about the goals and purpose of the project. It’s important to learn as much as possible so you can both lay out your example of online communication messages, and also ensure your messaging is on point with the goals of the project.

For a change management project, this may mean asking to sit in on some project-related meetings and meeting with the project/change team to ask questions that allow you to put together a communication guidelines template for the project.

In the case of writing a communications plan for a marketing/sales or event project, this may mean meeting with the marketing, event, or sales team to fully understand the project objectives.

Your goal is to understand the key points that need to be communicated and whether or not there is specific branding already in place for the project that needs to be incorporated into your messaging.

Messaging Pillars

It’s helpful if at this point you create messaging pillars based upon the project goals and objectives to inform your sample communication plan for events, change transformation, or sales/marketing projects.

Messaging pillars are 3-4 major selling points of a company, project, product, or another subject of a communications campaign. They are used as a base for your communications plan template and all campaign messaging.

Using messaging pillars to guide your content creates consistency throughout your strategic communication plan template.

Strategic Communication Plan Example on OCMS Portal

communication skills assessment

Sample communication strategy and plan messaging pillars for a software enhancement project could be:

  • Focused on efficiency & time-savings
  • Our brand delivers innovation to help others innovate their workspace
  • Easy solutions for the hybrid office

Communications teams should incorporate the key points of the messaging pillars in various ways throughout their messaging campaigns. Messaging pillars should not be too long. Keep them to one short sentence or point.

When creating your project management communication plan example, remember that messaging pillars can differ according to the target audience. So, consider this when doing your communication assessment for each audience.

Making a Case for Change Management

Don’t miss: How to make a communication plan. Let us know if you have any feedback or questions about our tools including the Communications tool referenced in this guide.

Need to Identify the Target Audience Lists for Your Comms Plan

There are two main types of target audiences in a strategic communications plan example: Internal and External.

Some communication practitioners will deal with only one of the target audience types: internal audience groups. This would include those inside a company, such as employees, managers, and executives. The level of communication in an organization project plan will dictate how many internal audience groups you engage with.

Others will need to engage with both internal and external audiences in their sample communications strategy. External audiences include those outside an organization, such as customers, clients, suppliers, vendors, leads, etc.

An example of online communication campaigns that might incorporate both groups would be an upgrade to a CRM platform that includes live chat.

An internal audience (customer support team) would need to receive communications about the new CRM. This would include awareness, training, and similar messaging included in a stakeholder communication plan example.

An external audience (customers and leads) may be receiving a communication telling them that they can now chat live and get help immediately.

Use the steps below to identify a complete target list for your internal and/or external audience groups.

How to Identify Internal Communication Target Audience Groups

1. Meet with the project management team to review the change impact assessment, if they have already conducted it. This is an assessment that identifies the company groups being impacted at any level by the project. These groups will need to be part of your communication and engagement plan example.
2. At this time, it’s also helpful to request the Project Roadmap, which outlines the timing of each project task or event, so you know when each group is being impacted.
3. Do an internal target audience assessment. This is an assessment of all internal groups that need to know about the project. Anyone being impacted in any way or that requires updates on the project should be included in your communication plan matrix example.
4. Next, you’ll want to request (or conduct yourself) a stakeholder audience assessment to identify key group representatives and leaders that will be impacted by the project or by the change. Add these individuals to your list.
5. For a communication that is driven by a business change, meet with project sponsors, key stakeholders, project managers, and other project resources to gather additional information on who else will be impacted by the change, and also gather a high-level summary of what these additional individuals and groups need to know.
6. Review project documents including the project charter, work breakdown structure, and project plan to see if you can identify any additional groups that need to be communicated with and added to your team communication plan.
7. For company information or business crisis information, the target audience will involve any group that needs to be aware of this information.
8. For marketing, promotional, or other internal campaigns, the audience will be the managers and employees for groups that need to be aware of the campaign’s messaging.
9. The target audience for communications from firm leaders will be those groups that need to be aware of such leadership communications. Such communications can be messaging broadcasts to motivate staff, increase productivity, or promote a change in the company’s culture.

After completing your assessments and identifying your complete communication target list, you can enter that information into OCMS Portal Communication Plan Outline Template or your own communication spreadsheet or template.

Sample Communication Plan for Project Management

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Communication Plan Template Example from OCMS Portal

You can use OCMS Portal’s #1 Ranked Change Communications Planning Tool to enable your communication planning. This tool will help you with writing a communications plan and easy management and tracking of your campaigns.

Get real-time analytics, a sample strategic communication plan, checklist, internal and external communications templates, and much more.

Project Communication Plan Example on OCMS Portal

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How to Identify External Communication Target Audience Groups

1. To begin identifying the external audiences you’ll be communicating with, you should meet with the project management team or marketing/sales/event team for their input on who you need to communicate with.
2. Review target audience demographics (these narrow down which specific groups are being targeted for communications and helps you with targeting). Learn more.
3. Review the project/event timeline so you understand when external target audiences need to be sent messaging.
4. Do an external target audience assessment. This is a communication assessment of all external groups that need to know about the project. Anyone being impacted by projects or targeted for sales, events, or other engagements should be included in your comms plan example.
5. Some of the things you can gather when assessing a project, sales campaign, or event for external target audiences are:

  • Demographic details (household income, age range, occupation, etc.)
  • Psychographic details (opinions, needs/concerns, personality traits, etc.)
  • The priority level for this audience
  • Buying statistics
  • Keywords to use in messaging for an audience

Depending on what your organization needs to communicate, your external communication audience groups added into your communication plan sample template may include:

  • Existing customers that have purchased your firm’s products
  • Existing clients that are using your firm’s services
  • Leads (potential new customers and clients)
  • Vendors
  • 3rd parties
  • Suppliers
  • Consultancies providing services to your organization
  • Partners
  • Shareholders
  • Distributors/Resellers
  • and many more…

Specify the Objectives for Your Strategic Communication Plan Template

Now that you know who you are communicating with, you next need to determine what needs to be communicated to each group. When doing communication assessments, you’ll find that some internal and external groups will need different types of messaging.

What is a communication plan for one target audience might look very different than that for another audience.

For example, an internal group that is being highly impacted by a change project will need more engagement, and messaging that focuses heavily on the benefits to the group to help mitigate resistance.

A less impacted internal group that may only be slightly impacted due to a small process change, on the other hand, may instead need less messaging overall, and communication that focuses most on the process change itself.

What needs to be communicated and how this will be communicated will be determined as part of your communication objectives. In order words, what do you want your communication audience to do? What actions do you want them to take?

Is this just a simple awareness or are there things you need your audience to do?

How to communicate? See the below sections for a detailed overview of the various communication channels you should leverage for your project communication plan example.

What to communicate? This varies across organizations and is on a case-by-case basis. What you will be communicating will be driven by your communication objectives.

Sample Communication Strategy and Plan Objectives:

1. Provide awareness about the changes
2. Targeted to identified audiences and distributed at pre-determined dates
3. Interactive to maintain interest, participation, and opportunities for learning
4. Based on known rhetoric tools and adapted to each impacted organization’s “tone of voice”
5. Consistent tone & style across communications
6. Consistent messaging

Prioritize Audiences for Engagement & Frequency

While defining your key messaging objectives for your audiences, you should also think about their priority. This helps when you are creating your messages for your project communication plan sample draft.

Audiences that are highly impacted by a project will typically require a higher frequency of communications and will have more high-priority communications.

Audiences that are simply being kept updated on a project, but aren’t directly impacted, may receive fewer communications and have a lower priority.

How to make a communication plan priority decision?

It will depend largely on your audience objectives and other project/event details. A few general tips:

  • Initial awareness communications are usually high priority
  • A secondary or reminder communication might be low or mid priority
  • Emails about scheduling webinars, signing up for training, etc. are typically high priority
  • Emails providing follow-up resources that people have already received during a meeting might be low priority
OCM Toolkit for Change Managers and Teams. Change Impacts

Communication Plan Sample – Real-time Reporting

levels of communication in an organization

Strategic Communications Plan Example Report from OCMS Portal’s Communications & Messaging Toolkit

Define Communication Types

It’s helpful if you group your communications by “type.” This keeps your project management communication plan example better organized and also helps you with prioritization.

As an example, the sample communications strategy you’ll find in the OCMS Portal Communications & Messaging Toolkit includes the following communication types in an editable dropdown list:

  • Advertising
  • Announcements/News
  • Awareness
  • Compliance
  • Educational
  • Leadership Updates
  • Post-Go-Live
  • Pre-Go-Live
  • Process Changes
  • Scheduling
  • And more

Determine the Best Message Delivery Channels for Your Target Audiences

You should include a multi-prong communication strategy when developing your communication plan and ensure that you are using different types of online communication, and offline communication (if applicable).

An example of online communication delivery channels would be social media posts, internal messaging apps (like MS Teams or Slack), pay-per-click advertising, email newsletter, company blog, virtual meeting, etc.

An example of offline communication delivery channels would be in-person meetings, postcard mailers, and tradeshows/events.

Steps for choosing your delivery channels:

1. Do communication assessments for company delivery channels currently used or that have been used in the past.
2. Do a communication assessment of your target audiences for channels they may prefer (a new social media or cloud app) and add any that would help increase success.
3. Finalize your list of delivery channels and enter them into your communication planning template.

TIP: Apply at least 4 of the communication channels listed below.

Communication Delivery Channels

1. Email
2. Newsletter
3. Two-Way Communication (team messaging, in-person or virtual meetings, live chat, etc.)
4. 3×5 Leadership Communication
5. FAQs
6. Intranet/Blog Communication
7. Videos & Recordings
8. Social Media

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Need to Define Your Corporate Communications Plan Schedule

You’ll need to review the project timeline and/or campaign timing of your program to draft a communication schedule. Your communication schedule should include a Start Date and End Date for the messaging campaign.

Some communications that are only sent once may have the same date for start and end date on a corporate communications plan schedule. But many messaging campaigns are sent out over a specific timeframe. In this case, it’s important to know both the start and end dates for that specific message.

Attaching these dates allows you to keep track of when you need to send out communications. Using a reporting dashboard like OCMS Portal’s communications and messaging toolkit can also show how different types of communications from multiple projects are impacting an audience.

For example, you’ll be able to cross-reference communications from Project “A” that might be going to the same group on the same day as Project “B.” This cross-referencing is important if your organization has several projects that overlap, as you don’t want any messages getting lost in the mix because users are overloaded with too much incoming information.

Create Messages for Your Team Communication Plan Campaign

What is a communication plan without messages? The next step in putting together a stakeholder communication plan example or external audience communication plan would be to put together the messages themselves.

In the case of an email, you can enter your subject line and message text in your communication plan template. For virtual meetings or events, you can just include the main points that are to be covered in your messaging tracking template.

Because there are many levels of communication in an organization, you’ll want to be sure to include details along with your messages, such as tasks that need to be completed, message priority, the audience being sent the message, and other helpful notes.

How to Define Performance Tracking Metrics for Your Comms Plan

To properly assess the engagement success level of your messaging you need to come up with the targets or KPIs you’re going to use as your measurement of success.

Review your communication plan objectives examples and set clear and measurable goals using quantitative measurements. It’s also better to have more than one measurement if possible. This provides a more robust set of KPIs that cover multiple engagement activities.

Some possible ways to measure engagement success in your business communication plan example:

  • Open or click rate for an email.
  • Whether participants took the desired action the message directed (i.e., setting up login credentials with a new cloud tool or making a purchase)
  • Engagement with a post (Likes, Shares, Comments, etc.)
  • New customer/lead acquisition count
  • Number of registrations or new sign-ups
  • Number of surveys being returned

It’s helpful to create a scoring column in your spreadsheet or corporate communication plan example template for an engagement success score. Then defining your KPIs per each of those success score levels can make it easier when it’s time to evaluate your campaigns.

Communication Campaign Performance Tracking in OCMS Portal’s Communications & Messaging Toolkit

project communication plan sample

Using KPIs and engagement success scoring in OCMS Portal communication guidelines template gives you insightful and actionable data to make your messaging campaigns more effective.

Implement Your Strategic Communication Plan Template

Next, you’ll be implementing the messaging from your strategic communication plan template.

While implementing your communications plan, you’ll want to identify any issues and correct these as soon as possible to keep your messaging on track.

Follow-up and attention to detail are important qualities to look for when doing a communication skills assessment when choosing your team members for each task.

Be proactive and check on message delivery regularly to ensure your campaigns are going out smoothly. For example, if you know right away that an email didn’t send out successfully, you can quickly remedy the situation and resend rather than having your audience miss an important project communication.

If any timing details change for a project that impacts your communications, you will also want to stay on top of this so messages can be edited or rescheduled as needed. You may want to designate one person on the communications team to be responsible for timeline/message changes.

Analyze & Optimize Your Corporate Communications Plan

It’s important to continually optimize your corporate communication plan example to improve success. You do this by evaluating your campaigns and looking at what went right (successes) and what could be improved upon.

Do this throughout your project, not only at the end. For example, if you are doing an Agile communication plan, you could evaluate at the end of each sprint and continually optimize your messaging based upon the past sprint’s performance.

OCMS Portal Tool: Communication Plan Example (with Checklist for Tasks)

Are you interested in a sample communication plan for project management, a sample communication plan for events, or another type of comms project?

When you subscribe to the OCMS Portal All-in-One that comes with the Communications & Messaging Toolkit, you get a sample strategic communication plan that you can use. It comes pre-populated with a step-by-step checklist of communication planning activities.

Tasks Checklist

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Messaging Templates & Samples for Your Comms Plan

Following are some project communication plan example messaging templates and samples to give you some guidance for your own communication planning.

Communication via Email | Sample & Template

Depending on the global or regional scope of your target communication audience, email will be the primary communication channel you will use to broadcast your communications.

Outlook has a feature that allows you to track when someone opens and reads the email. However, the reader has to first click “Yes” on a pop-up asking them to allow tracking. Unfortunately, most people will click no.

To more effectively track the success of your email communications, it is recommended that you use a 3rd party tool or an Outlook extension.

Your company (e.g., your HR department or Corporate Communications) most likely already has such a tool you can use to broadcast email communications, plus track metrics like open rates, number of people that “clicked on links within the email”, how much time people are spending reading the email, number of times the email was forwarded, and other trackable metrics.

These metrics can also be tracked for your sample communication strategy and plan by using cloud email delivery tools (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.) or by using specific features of certain CRM programs.

Structure & Format to Use for Your Email Communication 

How should you structure and format your communication broadcast message?

We recommend that you break up your email message into segments – paragraphs and bullet points. People don’t like to read long lines of text messages in an email. Bullet points and short paragraphs are best practices.

It’s also helpful to include a consistent header image and signature for each communication, so recipients can immediately identify it as being from the relevant organization and related to the specific project for which you’ve created your strategic communication plan template.

This consistency can extend to the “From” address for emails as well. Keeping email communications consistently from the same email sender is helpful if users would like to set up email rules that will flag incoming messages from that address. You might want to make this suggestion to your internal audience, so messages don’t go to spam folders.

Sample Email Communication Template

change management communication templates

Benefits of Email Awareness Communications

Regular email awareness communications and status update emails are essential for engaging with communication groups. It is a vital way to communicate with your internal audience (company employees and managers) or external audience (customers, suppliers, vendors, etc.), especially those that are directly impacted by a business change or need to know about an event.

Awareness and status-update email communications are effective for providing employees and customers with a good understanding of what is changing, what are the benefits, and what’s the risk of not changing, as well as keeping end-users engaged throughout the duration of a change.

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Communication via Newsletter | Sample & Template

People generally skim through communications, without really taking the time to read every word. As such, using a newsletter format, which involves succinct messages and images is an important communication delivery channel that should be part of your comms plan.

When available, also add embedded videos or video links to your newsletters. Forty-eight percent of surveyed employees consider video the most engaging form of communication.

Leveraging newsletters as one of your communication delivery channels will greatly increase your ability to engage with readers and stakeholders. You should draft, socialize with selected people for feedback, and then broadcast your newsletters using a set cadence (i.e., weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, every 2 months, etc.).

This sets an expectation in people’s minds to expect your newsletters regularly, which is important because people like to feel that they are “in the loop.”

Sample Newsletter Communication Message

communication plan sample

What Kinds of Messages Can you Communicate Using a Newsletter?

Sample communications include:

  • Quarterly/monthly/annual/periodic business update communication
  • Product releases
  • New system/tool
  • Change to business culture or direction
  • Program kick-off
  • Customer service enhancements
  • Program status updates
  • Implementation roadmap
  • Awareness
  • Impacts
  • Completed milestones
  • Kudos & recognition
  • Heads-up / what’s next
  • How and where to get help
  • Training communications
  • Go-live & post-go-live messages

Where possible, make sure to customize your newsletter based on the targeted audience. For example, verbiage and wording used in newsletter communications to Sales, Finance, and Accounting will be slightly different from communication broadcasts sent to IT or Operations.

Likewise, your communication plan sample newsletter going to B2B customers about a new product launch will likely highlight different selling points than one going to B2C customers.

You want to include verbiage that the reader can relate to. If you send a communication to Sales that is filled with technical jargon, for example, your audience will not relate and will quickly disregard your communication.

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Two-Way Communication Strategy

As part of your comms plan, you should include a two-way communication strategy that involves both “Telling” and “Listening.”

  • Telling is communicating to people
  • Listening is hearing what these same people have to say

Change Managers, Program Leads, and Communication Specialists often communicate using a Telling strategy where all they do is communicate to their target audience. They don’t often involve the Listening component which involves hearing what people at the grassroots level are saying about what is being communicated.

By applying a Telling and a Listening strategy, you are communicating and also getting valuable input that will allow you to gauge the success of your communications.

Your Listening strategy should involve meeting with Change Champions, Super Users, Managers, and other stakeholders to gather what they are hearing from people at the grassroots level. What are front-line employees saying, and how are they reacting to what was communicated?

How are customers reacting to communication? Is there support or resistance to what is being communicated?

What is a communication plan delivery channel for two-way communication?

It can be any channel that allows you to both Tell and Listen. This can include channels such as:

  • Team messaging (MS Teams, Slack, etc.)
  • In-person meetings
  • Virtual meetings
  • Live chat on a website
  • Phone calls

Messaging Template with Sample Communication Strategy and Plan

3×5 Leadership Communication | Sample & Template

Your communication guidelines template should also include 3×5 regular updates to key stakeholders, impacted managers, senior executives, and any other senior project resources.

As the name implies, a 3×5 communication strategy involves providing a succinct update using three columns:

1. What you achieved
2. What you are working on
3. What you plan to do next

Each of these three columns will list five achieved, in-progress, and planned activities, respectively.

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When communicating a change to senior leaders, and project management leads, they generally like to receive communication that is succinct and presented from a high-level perspective. When leaders desire more detailed information, they prefer to be the ones asking for such details versus you sending them a very detailed first communication.

You will immediately lose the attention of most senior leaders if you send them communication that has too many details that they don’t have time to sift through. This is why including a 3×5 as part of your change management comms plan or project communication plan example is highly recommended.

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FAQs Communication Strategy

Proactively addressing frequently asked or anticipated questions about a project can help you address fear, concerns, or confusion upfront before it turns into project resistance.

When reviewing communication plan objectives examples, you should identify some questions you believe people would ask and answer those on an FAQ page. Add to this page as you receive actual questions from targeted internal and external audiences.

You can have one FAQ page that includes all frequently asked questions and answers, or you can have individual pages. Irrespective, this page(s) should be maintained regularly, and kept up to date with frequently asked questions and provided answers.

Also, the best project communication practice is to include a link at the bottom of every communication that you send out that points people to your FAQs page.

This will help drive end-user traffic to the FAQ page(s).

Sample FAQ Page

sample communications strategy

The FAQ page(s) should be published and maintained on the firm’s internal or external blog and should be accessible to all target audience groups. Using SharePoint or another internal platform that requires special access and approvals will not be ideal for external audiences.

Open access provides the broadest level of access to all target audience groups.

If you need to ensure exposure to customers and external parties, then post it on the company’s public site (you might need to work with Corporate HR or legal to get approval for this). Confidential level information should never be posted on an FAQ page, irrespective of whether the page is a public or an internal page.

Intranet/Blog Communication

In addition to, or separate from an FAQ page, you should also have an internal page or site where content can be posted that focuses on the project or initiative.

Use this dedicated project site to communicate progress and awareness. Upload communication videos, project documents, or artifacts that end-users can view or read. You can also upload training content and use the page as a repository for presentation and training documents.

Alternatively, you can also use SharePoint, Dropbox, or other collaborative platforms as your centralized program repository. However, as mentioned in the section above, if you need all impacted end-users to be able to quickly access the repository without having to go through approval hoops, then effective communication strategies call for using a platform that is easily accessible by all impacted end-users.

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Videos & Recordings Strategy to Include on Your Project Management Communication Plan

Where possible, you should record your team’s end-user meetings, training, coaching, workshops, and other touchpoints, and post the recordings on the firm’s website, on your FAQ page, or on the project page for stakeholders to view.

If you are using video and audio tools (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, etc.) these platforms generally come with recording features. You should record your meetings and post the information on the project site.

Posting videos as communications for events and product promotions can also be very effective. People retain more information for longer when they see it in video format rather than text only. This makes video an important part of any communication and engagement plan example that is focused on customers or leads.

strategic communication plan template

Do you have any questions about the types of online communication? Please reach out and let us know.

Social Media Strategy

Social media is a newer medium, but one that is becoming increasingly important in communication assessments for audiences and their preferred communication channels.

Not only do consumers increasingly contact companies over social media, many internal platforms, like Yammer in Microsoft 365, are also enabling internal social media communications.

When putting together a communication plan sample for your social media campaigns, you’ll want to consider the demographics of your audiences to choose the most appropriate social media platform.

For example, if you’re targeting a business audience, then LinkedIn will be an important social media site to use. For consumers, you may want to consider Facebook or Instagram. Companies have also increasingly been exploring TikTok for reaching new audiences.

Keywords will also be important when conducting social media messaging, and your communication assessment should include research on keywords for your audience as well as the suggested number of keywords to use for a specific social platform.

For social media messaging over internal networks, you’ll want to create and use consistent keywords throughout your messaging for a specific project. This makes the topic easy to search for users.

All of the channels and strategies outlined above are effective communication strategies that when implemented will help you increase the success of your communication activities.

Communication Plan Template Example for Managing Your Communications

OCMS Portal Communication Plan Template with Sample Communication Strategy & Plan

Are you looking for a place to keep all your comms plan details in one place? Need communication & messaging software that allows you to collaborate with your team? How about a communication plan sample with a step-by-step checklist included?

The OCMS Portal Communications & Messaging Toolkit provides all that and more. It includes a best-in-class communication plan template, samples, a communication plan checklist, a 360-degree interactive analytics view of your communication strategy, and much more.

OCMS Portal’s 360° Portfolio is a full-featured cloud platform to help you plan, manage, and execute a successful change, marketing, or another type of project, end-to-end, whether this is your first project or your one-hundredth. You can choose several toolkits on the platform or just choose the Communication Management Toolkit.

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Do you have any questions about the team communication plan? Please reach out and let us know.

Conclusion – Strategic Communication Plan Template

Over the last decade in my role as a Senior Change Management Program Manager, I have delivered end-to-end change management capabilities for large, complex business transformations. Something I have identified again and again is that different groups and individuals have different preferences for how they consume communication.

By applying a multi-prong approach as part of your project and change management communication plan, you drastically increase the success of your communication efforts.

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Making a Case for Change Management

The aim of this communication plan and strategic guide presented above is to provide you with a step-by-step overview of the best communication plan practices that you need to be aware of, to help increase your communication successes.

Best of luck in your communication planning and delivery. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Communication & Messaging Planning Software Tool

What is a Communication Plan?

A communication plan is a document that outlines the communication strategies, activities, and deliverables that will be used to communicate with a targeted audience including both internal and external audiences. The best communication plans include the list of targeted communication audience groups, as well as the success matrix and indicators that will be used to track the communication successes.

What Should be Included in a Communication Plan?

The purpose of a communication plan is to document the approach that will be used to design, develop, implement and track the effectiveness of a communication program. As such, a communication plan should include the who, what, when, and how of the communication campaign.

What Does a Communication Plan Look Like?

The initial step to creating the best communication plan is to first determine your communication objectives. And next, you will want to identify the list of communication audiences, what they need to know, how they need to be communicated with, and what KPIs you will use to track the success of your communication campaigns.

How to Write an Effective Communications Plan

The initial step to creating the best communication plan is to first determine your communication objectives. And next, you will want to identify the list of targeted internal and external communication audience groups, what they need to know, how they will be communicated with, and what KPIs you will use to track the success of your communication program.

Note: Content on OCM Solution's website is protected by copyright. Should you have any questions or comments regarding this OCM Solutions page, please reach out to Ogbe Airiodion (Change Management Lead) or the OCM Solutions Team today. OCM Solution was previously known as Airiodion Global Services (AGS).

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