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Strategic communication planning is like travel planning.

First, you have to decide on your destination. In communication terms, you have to identify the key message that you want to convey about your firm to your target audience. What do you want your audience to know about the firm when your communication plan is complete?

Second, you have to map your route to that destination. In communication, this is specific content that you will use to deliver that message. For example, if you want the audience to know that your firm has more experience in a particular substantive field than any other, what content will you develop to deliver that point? You might use lists of successful cases, client lists, or biographies to deliver that message.

Third, you have to decide on your mode of transportation. In communication, this means selecting the media (we call them "platforms") you will use to deliver your message. Just as a trip may involve driving, flying, and taking a cab, your strategic communication plan may utilize several platforms to deliver the message to the target audience. Some information may be delivered via your website, or in printed material. You may use more than one medium to deliver a single message, for example, by e-mailing out your newsletter and also putting past issues on your website.

Once the strategic plan is in place, it guides all firm communication. If you decide to do something that is not on the plan, that's fine, as long as you understand that the communication is not strategic. A funny partnership announcement may grab the attention of your audience, but it won't deliver the experience message. On the other hand, when conditions change, it's perfectly acceptable to revise your plan to account for the changes (say, by flying to Phoenix and then driving Tucson.) That is strategic.

After completing the plan, you will continually evaluate whether it has succeeded by evaluating your progress toward your goal.

We would be delighted to help your firm develop a strategic communication plan and help you deploy that plan across the firm's platforms, including print and the web.

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