Building a Community Roadmap (and a Template!)

During the downtime that is Christmas Break, schools, teachers, and many other people are mentally checked out and taking some much-needed time off from work. Alas, not I.

I was recently tasked with building out a six-month plan for our community growth and marketing. It was an overwhelming task—not only to prioritize the many branches of community that I juggle, but also to what degree of detail I should cover, and to do so in a visual way. (If you’re like me, just the word “spreadsheet” induces dread, let alone building a relatively detailed one.)

Today, I spent most of my time building a community calendar using a Google Sheets template. I’ve made this template available for other community managers to use for their own planning.

getitnow

As my community work falls primarily within the realm of content marketing and outreach, I bucketed the content into the following categories:

  1. Curated blog posts
  2. Contributed blog posts
  3. Webinars (information or product-focused)
  4. Product updates
  5. Conferences
  6. Additional tasks

I’m a pretty visual person, and each of these categories required additional characteristics, like:

  • Relating to specific products (currently, we’re marketing three)
  • Aligning a specific item with the product marketing roadmap
  • Timing blog posts with conferences, etc.

To accommodate my visually-oriented brain, the workaround to cover all my bases was to group specific items by category, color-coding them when appropriate by product, and indicating alignment with our product marketer’s goals with an asterisk. When I look at the “big picture” of several months, I can easily see if I have a good mix of content (varied-but-equal colors), or if we’re over-prioritizing one product (too much of one color).

Much like the road at the start of this post, this roadmap spreadsheet is not linear. Like any spreadsheet, it’s fluid, and not the be-all, end-all of community planning. Use it as a starting point to get your ideas, strategies, and goals in order.

Don’t forget: Everything is outlined in this Google Sheet. Depending on your company, this roadmap may be a bit too detailed for higher-ups, in which case I suggest adding another sheet to provide an overview. Either way, I hope you find this useful, and feel free to share with your fellow CMs.

See ya in 2016!

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