How to Build an External Communication Plan for Your Brand

Effective external communications are crucial to building trust in your business. Shoppers are increasingly making purchase decisions based on a company’s reputation. A 2022 report from IBM found that 44% of all consumers seek out brands and products based on how a company aligns with their values. To convey your values and strengthen your brand image, it’s essential to have a well-defined external communications strategy. This strategy lays out how to communicate your values through press releases, social media, and other advertising. 

In this guide, we’ll break down how to build an external communication plan for your brand, including how to set goals, identify the right channels to leverage, and create content that’s relevant to your target audiences. 

What goes into an external communication plan?

An external communication plan details how your brand will engage with your target audiences, such as customers, investors, social media followers, and industry partners. It helps ensure consistent and effective communication with external stakeholders and maintain positive impressions of your brand. 

A successful external communications plan defines how you will convey your brand’s unique value proposition to your audience. It will guide any announcements or marketing campaigns you decide to implement. 

For example, the external communications plan will outline how to:  

  • Connect the marketing strategy to the business strategy
  • Implement a brand style and voice in line with the company’s strategy
  • Promote the brand on social media
  • Respond to customer feedback consistently and in line with company values

Internal versus external communication plan

An external communication plan is solely concerned with communicating with external stakeholders. An internal communication plan, on the other hand, is designed to communicate with employees and internal stakeholders. It covers details, such as organizational standards, company policies, and approval workflows. 

An external communication plan is used to maintain positive relationships with external parties, while an internal communication plan is used to guide, inform, and motivate employees.

How to build an external communication strategy

An external communication plan starts by defining your business goals and then determining the best ways to communicate those goals to an external audience.

1. Define your business goals

Defining your business goals forms the foundation of any effective external communication plan. These objectives serve as guiding principles, ensuring all efforts align with the organization's broader strategic vision.

Some common examples of business goals are: 

  • Maintain a positive brand image
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Increase engagement with your target audience 

2. Research your target audiences

Determine the different groups of external stakeholders with whom you will communicate. Detail the social media channels your audience uses, what media they engage with, and other insights into how they consume content. These details will help you determine which platforms to focus on and tailor your content to their interests and needs. 

You need to cross-reference your audience breakdown with your business objectives to find the platforms that tick all the boxes for your brand. Make sure you link the target audience research you conduct with your overall communication goals — whether that’s increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or boosting sales.

3. Establish your brand voice

No matter how many audiences you identify, your brand needs to communicate consistently in one voice. Use your external communication plan to outline the personality you want your brand to convey. Will your brand sound authoritative, friendly, humorous, or something else? Create brand voice guidelines that are platform-agnostic and connect with your brand values. 

4. Choose your communication channels

Based on your audience research, determine which communication channels you will use to promote your brand. Consider where your target audiences spend their time online and offline. You’ll likely use a few different options for your outreach, including social media, email marketing, content marketing, public relations, and events. Different audience segments may have different channel preferences, so make it clear which platforms are the highest priority. 

5. Build a content calendar 

Create an editorial calendar outlining your communication activities for the upcoming months, including topics, channels, and timing. Align your messaging with your business goals for the month, quarter, and year. 

This is also a good time to define workflows. Outline roles and responsibilities, such as who creates content, who schedules content for posting, and who needs to approve messaging before it gets published. Answer all of these questions in your external communication strategy to make sure there is no confusion when you put your plan into action. 

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6. Leverage employee advocacy

Encourage your employees to become brand ambassadors by sharing company news, updates, and content on their personal social media accounts. This can help increase your brand's reach and credibility, as people are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know.

An employee advocacy platform can help streamline this process by letting employees access and share company content. It can also track the success of your employee advocacy program by measuring engagement, reach, and other metrics.

7. Set key metrics to measure ROI

Finally, outline the platforms, tools, and metrics you will use to measure the impact of your communication efforts. Monitor key metrics related to your initial goal, such as website traffic, social media engagement, and leads generated. Based on your data, identify what's working and what needs improvement. Be prepared to adapt your strategy and tactics as needed to optimize your results.

External communication plans are living documents. As you start implementing your strategy, check what works and revisit your plan as often as you need to hone your external outreach.

External Communication Plan Template

Looking for inspiration to create your external communications plan? Here’s a sample communication plan template you can adapt for your business. 


In this section, outline the business purpose of your external communications. Answer questions like:

  • What do you want to achieve with your external communication? 
  • How does your external communication support your business goals? 

Target audience

Create audience profiles to showcase who you interact with in your various external communications. Answer questions like:

  • Who are you trying to reach with your message? 
  • What does their media consumption look like? 

Messaging and tone

In this section, define the key messages you want to share and your unique brand voice. Specifically, determine what you are going to say and how you plan to say it.


There are dozens of outreach channels you can leverage to speak to your audience. Social media, email marketing, paid ads, and press releases are just a few examples. However, it makes sense to focus on a few channels that best serve your audience rather than all of them. 


Create a content calendar detailing when and where you will release content. This helps keep workflows organized and messaging consistent. Use your calendar to answer questions like: 

  • What topics and themes will your company cover?
  •  Who is responsible for creating, reviewing, and approving the content?


Make sure you have a system in place for measuring the success of your external communications.

  • What key metrics will you track and measure? 
  • What tools will you use to monitor your results?


Finally, determine the resources you need to bring this plan to life.  

  • How much are you willing to spend? 
  • How will you allocate your budget to competing interests within your external plan?

Manage external communications with Clearview Social 

Once you have an approved external communication plan, it’s time to put it into action. A platform like Clearview Social helps streamline external communications with a set of features to communicate a consistent, positive message to the media, your clients, regulatory bodies, and investors. 

Clearview Social offers a range of tools to improve corporate communications. Amplify content with our employee advocacy software. Use our native distribution tools to ensure your content is seen. Our platform can help boost the visibility of your press releases, maintain a consistent tone across channels, and promote events for better attendance.

Clearview Social also measures the effectiveness of your social media outreach to help you adjust your external communications strategy as needed. Our analytics track employee shares, click-throughs, and the potential value of this traffic if purchased through Google. This information can inform your external communication strategy so you’re consistently improving your results. 

Learn more about Clearview Social’s platform and how it can help you implement a strong external communication strategy. Request a demo today.

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