How to develop a communications strategy

Creating a communications strategy for your department is a great way to make sure all of your activities align with your faculty or department goals and the broader university goals. It’s about starting with the big picture with SFU’s Communications Strategy and working down to detail.

Goals

Get familiar with SFU’s most recent Communications and Marketing Strategy and decide how your department can support these goals.

Example:

SFU strategic priority: Learning for Life
Department goal: Increase awareness of our experiential learning initiatives

Communications

How will communications support your departmental goal?

Example:

We will increase awareness of our experiential learning initiatives through a campaign about our co-op program. This will include:

  • Social media
  • Earned media
  • Spotlight articles

Measurable objectives

How will you measure the success of your goals? Define the metrics you’ll use to define success. Copy and paste or attach your detailed metrics and measurement goals.

Activity milestones

Here’s where you’ll start getting into more detail. What specific activities will you plan to support your goals? Each activity should have its own mini strategy. Include the deadline for your activity strategy worksheets in this section.

Risks/interdependencies

Use this section to highlight any potential challenges or opportunities with your activity list and other known initiatives. For example, large, unrelated events like Convocation may overshadow your activity in the news. Alternatively, you may be able to cross-promote with another event from another internal department or external partner.

Audiences

Break your audience down as specifically as you can. For each primary audience, include:

  • Demographics, psychographics, perceptions of SFU
  • What the audience knows now and what they need to know
  • Preferred channels and content formats

Ideally this information will be based on audience research.
List out secondary audiences who will see your content, but aren’t your primary target.

Key messages

Messages are concepts being communicated and are not actual copy. Use the messaging tool to create key messages that will align with your goals and address the needs of your audiences.

Budget

Itemize your costs for the year and provide the total communications budget for your department.