GG’s Marykate Cary Mattiello reminds communicators that now is the time to get a head start on 2023 communications planning.
Time flies when you’re having fun! Shocking as it may seem, we’ve arrived at the time of year when communications and marketing teams must begin planning for 2023. The process may seem daunting and challenging to start, but a few key steps and guiding principles can help ensure a smooth, thorough communications planning season – and a successful 2023.
Before you start any active planning for 2023, it’s critical to reflect on 2022 first. For B2B and nonprofit clients alike, it can be helpful to review the latest communications plan to assess which goals still need to be achieved by the end of the year. Because while communications planning at this time of year is necessary, it must run parallel with efforts to keep existing campaigns moving in the right direction.
From there, asking questions like “What worked really well this year?” and, equally as important, “What didn’t work?” will lay the groundwork for 2023 planning. For most companies, a thorough quantitative audit of earned media, on top of any qualitative analysis, will provide answers to these questions. That said, every organization’s priorities are different. An internal communications or marketing team should work alongside public relations teams to determine what other indicators may reveal further insights. For example, should you analyze what drove coverage, how coverage was distributed throughout the year, how far your reach extended with key audiences, or how substantive the coverage is? Benchmarking against competitors or peer organizations will also increase understanding of industry-wide drivers, trends, and expectations for the following year.
Once you’ve evaluated your 2022 plan, progress, and areas for improvement, it’s time to set new goals for the new year. This requires taking an additional step back. While PR, marketing, and brand goals may seem clear to those respective teams, the most successful communications planning processes zoom out further and reevaluate how those efforts align with the core goals of the business.
In this year especially, massive changes are likely underway that need to be considered. Nonprofits may be winding down programs and advocacy directly related to COVID-19 and investing in new projects with new audiences. Many B2B companies are making cuts and adapting to a quieter funding environment that may shift thought leadership areas or require deprioritizing hiring- or workplace-related media coverage. Internal communications efforts may need to be ramped up for any company as they navigate a new environment and ensure staff is on board and understands new objectives. By checking in with critical business functions outside the typical communications departments, it will ensure goals are right for the entire enterprise and better received as they are finalized.
When it comes to actually moving forward with a plan, clearly communicating the new recommendations to all departments involved in the planning process will increase buy-in and the likelihood for success over the course of the next year. Additionally, consider implementing clear next steps such as a quarterly check-in, coverage report schedule, or reevaluation meeting to revisit business goals due to the still turbulent economic environment.