Step 4: Map Out Your Best Route

Now it's time to dig into really determining what you are going to DO over the timeline of your plan in order to meet that objective that you came up with in Step 3.

I like to start by creating SMART strategies for each element the plan will focus on, and then develop each tactic and the specifics of each tactic, under each strategy. So take a look at all of the materials you gathered in step 1, and all of the ideas and research from step 2, and the beginnings of the framework you worked on in step 3, and then start to create and outline that will determine what you need to include.

For marketing and communications plans, I often see strategies that will address:

  • branding/identity platform and tools: messaging, proof points, logo, graphics
  • digital/web content: create or update a website, start a blog, focus on SEO, create or update an email newsletter
  • social media: starting or better utilizing your presence on one or more social media platforms
  • printed materials: flyers and brochures, or a newsletter and postcards, or signage and banners, or some other type of print materials to connect with your audience
  • publicity/PR: determine best media outreach targets, contacts, and strategy
  • partnerships/events: how do you leverage your current institutional and personal network, and what is the impact on your communications? how can you improve or build buzz and impact through these relationships?
  • advertising/sponsorships: do you have a comprehensive plan for advertising? do you need to do some market research for advertising/sponsorships? do you need to evaluate your past efforts and/or update your approach?

These are just some preliminary ideas. Your core group should take a look at what is and isn't working for you now, and use those as a springboard for some new creative initiatives. Absolutely consider and review all of the feedback you've received from your target audiences and the research you conducted in step 2

Aim for a mix of tactics that address: improvements to your current systems, developing audience-driven outreach, and fostering a few creative new ideas. Make sure that you're keeping that SWOT Analysis from step 2 in mind, and that your plan is taking advantage of your strengths and opportunities, and addressing your challenges and threats.

Once you have a list of strategies worked out, you're getting close! It's time to move on to step 5 and Get On 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