Stakeholders: How to involve them in communication efforts

Let’s be honest – stakeholders don’t always understand the reasoning behind communication efforts, and that’s OK. But it’s our job as PR practitioners to ensure they know the who, what, when, where and why of our strategies so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to planning for goals. At the end of the day, stakeholders want to see results come to fruition, and we’re happy to help them reach those. But, clear communication is key throughout the entire process! I’ve put together a quick timeline to help you start the process and involve stakeholders in all aspects of your action plan. 

#1 – Craft a clear action plan for your project. 

PR pros know to avoid jargon in our clients’ materials because not everyone will understand it – we take this same approach when it comes to crafting internal documents. Spell out your plans because this document will likely be your guide for the long haul. While the action plan doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete timeline, it may be helpful to include a few examples of your tactics so everyone more easily understands and you have something to go off of when you look back at it. Pro tip: When sharing this document with stakeholders, it may be beneficial to set up a meeting rather than explaining through an email, as things can get convoluted and the message could be muddled through text.

#2 -Update stakeholders before each big task. 

That action plan you just crafted? It’ll be your best friend when it comes to creating a timeline for execution and updating the team before a big task. We understand that most stakeholders don’t have a ton of time to review a massive document containing each and every move, so try laying out your ideas in bite-sized chunks so as not to overwhelm them. It’ll be much easier for your client to digest, and you’re more likely to get better feedback by doing it this way! This also helps with accountability and transparency, and will help keep them in the loop to prevent panic and/or shock if they see you’re doing a massive giveaway or partnering with a major member of the community.   

#3 – Evaluate and revise with input from the team. 

Once you’ve talked through stakeholders’ feedback, evaluate the best course of action with your team internally. Spend some time massaging tactics as needed to ensure you’ve tackled all angles of the plan and incorporated everyone’s changes. From here, it’s off to the races!  

I realize some of this may seem like a no-brainer, but creating an open line of communication between you and those who need to know your plans is imperative to your success as a partner. In PR, we always want to have a seat at the table, so make sure you include everyone at yours when big things are happening, as well. After all, we just want to see success for everyone involved!