Making a communication plan

When we make decisions or plan actions that affect many people or have major consequences, we need to communicate. This could involve, for example, a new programme, an event, a research project, an organisational change or a new IT system. At such times, it is good to have a communication plan.

  • Make the plan at an early stage.
  • Sometimes a simple activity plan is all you need.
  • Major decisions, projects or changes may require a more ambitious communication plan.

Activity plan

An activity plan is a concrete action plan outlining the activities you plan to carry out, and can be part of a larger communication plan. For smaller projects and assignments where you already have a good overview of the current situation, problem description and target audiences, or if you have a limited amount of time, you can make a concrete activity plan directly.

An activity plan can have headings such as target audiences, communication goals, messages, channels, activities and responsibilities. The block contains an activity plan template that you can use as a starting point and adapt to your needs.

Communication plan

For major decisions, projects or initiatives, or if you need to draw up a communication plan for all or part of your organisation, you may need a more ambitious communication plan based on thorough preparatory work and analysis. The block contains a communication plan template that you can use as a starting point and adapt to your needs.

Parts of a communication plan

Current situation – what is the problem?

What problems should the communication solve? What needs have to be addressed? A plan starts with a short or long analysis of the current situation and background information.

This section may also include any delimitations, and an analysis of how others have solved the problem and any communication challenges.

Tracking and monitoring trends

Purpose and objectives

What do you want to achieve with your communication? Increased awareness? Better understanding? A change in behaviour? Communication is not an end in and of itself, but rather a means to achieve results at work. Formulate a clear goal to be able to measure the results.

Strategy – how will you achieve your goals?

The strategy describes how you will work to achieve the goals and manage the challenges with the resources at your disposal. A large part of the strategy can be about setting priorities or the methods you will use.

Message – what do you want to say?

What are your key messages? Are they relevant and tailored to your target audiences? And who should say it? Who is the best messenger in this case? For a message to be interesting, understandable and useful, it needs to be formulated from the target audience's point of view. Attempting to communicate everything to everyone often results in nothing reaching anyone.

Formulating your message

Target audiences – who are you addressing?

With whom do you want to communicate? What do these people have in common? What are their needs, interests, knowledge and wishes? What prior knowledge and attitudes do they have?

Performing a target audience analysis
Umeå University's common target audience descriptions (Swedish)

Channels – how will you reach your target audience?

Where does your target audience usually seek out information? Newspapers, social media, face-to-face meetings, online, signs, education or something else? It is often a mix of channels that produces results. People are different and also want variety. Could there be unexpected channels that would provide extra impact? To be effective, a message also needs to be repeated and coordinated, both in different channels and over time.

Time – when should you say it?

When is the best time to carry out the communication to achieve the best results? Do you need to communicate at multiple points in time?

Responsibility – who should do what?

Which people should do what? It may be a good idea to specify who is responsible to make it clear what is expected of each person and to ensure that activities do not fall through the cracks.

Budget – what does it cost?

What resources do you have in terms of time, money and expertise? Are the costs reasonable in relation to what you want to achieve? What is the cost of not doing it? Make a communication budget.

Follow-up and evaluation – how will you evaluate the initiative and check its impact?

Think about what methods can be used for follow-up of the results. Is it possible to measure the effects? What went well and what was less successful? What can we do better next time? What happened that we did not foresee?

Tools and methods


If you have any questions about communication planning, please contact the Communications Office at

Tracking and analysing trends

Some techniques to track and analyse trends.

Get to know your target audience

Need to get to know your target audience a little better?

Communication goals

What do you want the target audience to know, feel and do?

Formulating your message

What do you want to say to your target audiences?

Annual wheel

Use an annual wheel to help you visualise.

Anja Axelsson