Communications Strategy Roadmap: 5 Steps to Success

Whether your organization is just starting out or has been around for decades, if you are spending time and money on outreach efforts, you need a strategy.

The process for developing a strategy is itself very useful; you start to look at what you're doing now through the lens of where you want to be in the future, rather than as an extension of what you've always done in the past. You will gain new insights about the audiences you're trying to reach, and uncover strengths and challenges that you will need to address going forward.

Of course, the resulting strategy itself will also go a long way toward getting you where you want to be. When I create a strategy, the format itself is flexible -- it can be captured in a simple document, or a slide deck, or project management software, depending on what works best for an individual organization. Elements like metrics, benchmarks, timelines, and more ensure that your strategy functions as a continuous, ongoing compass to guide your efforts going forward.

Your strategy is not something that is finished and then sits gathering dust. When developed effectively, your strategy will be your guide going forward, a "roadmap" that really is designed to get you where you want to go.

It should be built in a way that is flexible and responsive, accounting for the ever-evolving nature of communications, but embodying your priorities, mission, capabilities, and vision.

While the results can be transformative, the process itself reads like any great adventure. 

5 Steps to a Communications Strategy

1. Determine where you are now
2. Survey the landscape
3. Figure out where you want to go
4. Map your best route
5. Get on the road

Draft Your Core Strategy Team

Before you begin to dive into these steps, it's also essential that you assemble your strategy team. This team should be a mix of:

  •  the people whose primary responsibility involves the communications/marketing for your organization and can drive the process; 
  • one or more people in a leadership role at your organization who is committed to this project;
  • someone from a different department or partner organization who can bring a unique perspective and has some investment in your success;
  • if feasible, it's great to have one person from one of the audiences you're trying to serve or connect with to help diversify your perspective

The exact right team is going to vary based on your own organization's makeup and goals. Ideally it's a fairly small group; involve at least four people so that you have some diverse perspectives in the mix, up to seven or eight. You want a team that's invested in moving your organization forward and understands the what and why of this project.

The person responsible for driving the project should also have a sense of how to engage the key stakeholders at your organization so that, ultimately, you're able to implement the plan. You may not be able to have the top levels of your organization involved as part of your core team, but you want key leadership to know what you're doing and you need to know how to keep them informed along the way so that you're able to make the changes you want to make down the road.

Check out all of the posts in the
Communications Strategy Roadmap Series:

Communications Strategy Roadmap: 5 Steps to Success
Step 1: Determine Where You Are Now
Step 2: Survey the Landscape
Step 3: Figure Out Where You Want to Go
Step 4: Map Out Your Best Route
Step 5: Get On the Road

If you have questions about the process or would like to hire outside help to facilitate creating a strategy for your organization, please feel free to get in touch with me any time at or 314.266.9489.