Some communications may be designed to simply inform - to just pass along facts or background information. While this could serve some value as content or data that may be used by audiences in some manner, most communications, through a wide range of possible media, have a more challenging goal - to go a step farther and help create change.
Several integrated components or steps are needed to make this happen:
This may sound very clinical, and perhaps only appropriate for developing a training class - teaching someone to perform a new skill. But the same principles should apply to almost all communications, even if the methodologies are simpler.
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In developing a technical training course, step-by-step behavioral objectives are written that gradually will lead students from where they are to eventually reach a stated goal. But suppose a goal is to motivate employees to take advantage of new health benefits, or to increase the number of existing customers who will accept paperless billing. Putting together a detailed instructional course may be overkill, ineffective, or simply not necessary.
But this isn't to say that understanding where an audience currently is - what they know and how they feel about a subject - and how you would like them to change, is not important preparation for your upcoming communications plan. With this understanding, you can then spell out the incremental steps to lead your audience from point A to point B.
This is often done intuitively, but will be more effective and useful if documented in writing. You will know that you are indeed prepared to move forward with confidence. And should a client ask why something was done, the reasons will be substantiated. A good time to put this all together is prior to design, writing and production, in a concept paper or treatment that identifies a problem, what is the goal that will solve that problem, and the steps to reach that goal.
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