Want to be considered a strategic advisor, not just a skilled tactician? Start by developing and gaining buy-in for an annual employee communication plan. A plan demonstrates to leaders and other stakeholders how your communication program helps your organization reach its objectives.

Plus, a smart, strategic plan positions you as proactive, provides focus for your efforts and defines what success will look like.

To make sure your plan covers all the bases, use this handy checklist:

Answer the question: Where are we now?
Create a situation analysis to set context and get everyone on the same page.
Define key audiences
Be as specific as possible to describe important segments.
Set objectives that are specific, actionable and measurable
Objectives describe a desired outcome—and a commitment. They help you express what success will look like.
Develop a mix of strategies
This is the “how” of your plan, which outlines your approach for reaching your objectives.
Describe tactics in detail
Especially when proposing something new, make sure you provide enough color and texture so stakeholders can understand what you mean.
Create key messages
Targeted messages ensure that everyone gets consistent and focused information.
Include a timeline
Mapping out how and when your program works helps create a complete picture.