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Create a communications strategy

Your communications strategy will pull from and build on the work you’ve done throughout the Take Action Cycle. It will help you persuade the right people at the right time to take an action that will lead to meaningful change.

We like Spitfire Strategies’ Smart Chart 3.0 for creating a comprehensive communications strategy because it is grounded in research and user experience. Much of the guidance you’ll find here is informed by Smart Chart.

Determine the purpose. Do you want to…

  • Share knowledge? People need basic knowledge on the issue before they can consider taking action. This will help you gain support for your issue, program, or policy.
  • Build will? This means overcoming the barriers that could stop your audience from taking action. You’ll ask your audience to take a manageable action that is within their comfort zone.
  • Reinforce action? This includes celebrating victories with the people who helped make them happen. If your supporters see the impact of their action they will be more likely to act again. (1)

Consider your audience and tailor your communication to them. (Find more on this under Develop your messaging) Consider the following:

  • What do they care about? What existing belief or value can you tap into?
  • What existing belief might be a barrier you have to overcome?
  • What is their interest in your issue?
  • What’s your message?
  • Who do they need to hear it from?

Decide how to get your message out to your key audiences.

  • Messenger. Who will best connect with your audiences?
  • Tactics. How will you deliver your message? Think presentations, media coverage (both social and print/broadcast), and direct communication with decision makers.

Look for results. How will you know if your messages are working? Look for outputs (i.e., the things you do or items you produce) and outcomes (i.e., the changes that occur as a result).

  1. Spitfire Strategies. The Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0.; 2013.

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