Setting Good Goals for Your Communications Programs

Soccer ball hitting net of goal

Effective communication is crucial for any organization, and setting good goals during the planning phase is an important step to achieve this.

What are good goals? They are relevant to your organization, they have a clear purpose, they give your communications programs direction, and they’re achievable. These goals allow you to move forward with purpose.

You’ve probably heard of the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting framework before. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. People use S.M.A.R.T. goals because they ensure that goals are clear and actionable, which makes it easier to track progress and measure success. How does that apply to setting goals for your communications programs?

1. Specific

In their first meetings with clients, communications agencies will work to identify the desired outcomes. What does the organization want to accomplish through communications?

For example, your organization may have the following goal: “Increase awareness of the organization.” But in planning how a specific communications program will do that, you need to be more specific. Include details like method and target audience. Your specific goal for a communications program could then be: “Leverage thought leadership to increase awareness of your organization’s new program within the local community.”

2. Measurable

Goals also need to be measurable. Communications professionals can help you identify metrics that allow your organization to tell what changed after implementing specific strategies.

Let’s say your organization wants to change the perception of a topic or product. You’ll need to measure audience sentiment before and after to tell what impact your communications strategy had.

These measurements are valuable because they help you understand if you reached your audience, if they took your desired action, and if you need to make changes to your communications strategies.

Here are five ways to tell if your communications strategies are working.

3. Achievable

Goals for your organization’s communications program should be both ambitious and achievable. Ambitious goals are exciting; they show what the organization can strive for. But each goal must be reasonable, based on available resources, time, and other factors.

During the goal-setting process, you need to evaluate where your organization currently stands in relation to its goals. If your goal is to raise awareness of a specific program or product, how much of your target audience currently knows about it? How did they learn about it, and how long did that take? This information helps you understand what’s possible and set achievable expectations.

4. Relevant

An organization’s goals for its communications programs need to be relevant to its overall business goals. This ensures that the time and effort invested in each strategy supports the organization’s overall direction.

Additionally, making the communications goals relevant to the organization’s mission helps gain buy-in and support from key stakeholders, including leadership and employees. This is important because successful communications programs require the active participation and engagement of those stakeholders to be effective.

Likewise, the goals for each communications strategy should be relevant to the target audience. If the organization is trying to change the perception of a topic or product, the communications strategy needs to highlight benefits that matter to the audience.

5. Time-bound

Each goal for your organization’s communications programs, long-term or short-term, must have a designated beginning and end.

When do you want to see your desired outcome? This allows your organization and communications partners to create a plan to get there. It helps you know what’s achievable and design communications strategies that will be most effective within that timeline.


By setting good goals during the planning phase, your communications program will be strategic. You’ll have specific desired outcomes, you’ll be prepared to assess the effectiveness of each strategy, and you’ll know that what you’re doing matters to your organization and your audience.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you invest in communications strategies that help your organization achieve its goals.


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