Translating Community Vision into an Actionable Roadmap


This the fourth article in a multi-part, living-and-breathing series on community strategy. This post appeared here first on

At Loyal, we believe that strategy is only as valuable as it is executable. So, while planning might be fun and sweet, translating vision into action is the most important part of community strategy and design. Given all of the information that you have, and all the given opportunities for moving forward, how do you decide what to actually do?

By now, you should have a firm idea of on what to base your community or what value to provide to it. This is your vision of community. Is it collective resources, collaboration data or as simple as a common interest? Really, it could be an infinite number of things, and it’s up to you decide based on your business goals and unique ability to add value to the community ecosystem. This vision of community should directly tie into to the market gaps or desired behavior change. Here are a few examples:

  • A support system for freelancers (Freelancers Union)
  • Helping sellers sell more (Etsy)
  • Reputation and distribution (most media-based communities)

But, is that vision executable? How realistic is it for you to accomplish all of that today? Most likely, it’s not feasible at all. But, we can try.

With a community vision in mind, these are the questions to ask about what can be accomplished and aligns with company goals:

  • Strategy: By what means can you accomplish your community vision? Is it a collective insurance policy? An education program?
  • Tactics/Campaigns: How do you accomplish this? Is it a partnership? An inspirational media campaign? An online class? A push notification?
  • More: What else do you need to support this – create a support system? Hire a CM? What’s non-negotiable? What can wait until next year? What can be productized vs. handled manually for now?

Again, these are blanket questions. Take a step back and imagine: what if you have $10M, unlimited staff resources and unlimited time? On the converse, what if you only have $5K and one part-time staff? What would you prioritize? Ultimately, you need to decide what you can realistically accomplish with your given resources.

Now, what about timing? With the big picture vision, goals and strategies in mind, we like to write down each tactic and step onto a sticky note and then visually plot it out on various timelimes: immediately, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 year. Be reasonable — everything always takes longer than you’d expect.


From here, with the vision, strategies and tactics together with your roadmap in mind, rank each tactic and action step according to the following:

Screenshot 2015-02-11 00.36.51

Prioritize what is high value/low cost, then what is high value/high cost and then what is low value/low cost. Eliminate what is low value/high cost – you don’t have time or resources for that! Also, don’t forget to account for energy and time when factoring costs; This can be what is most “expensive.”

Now, you have a complete community roadmap and strategy. What are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in seeing more content like this or more details on this series, drop us a note or a comment below.



  • Emily Veach

    Interesting exercise, thanks for talking through the thought process.

    Do you have any case studies you could share where you started this from scratch and built out each piece of the strategy with this method? How long does that take and how much does that differ among different types/sizes of businesses?


    • sarahjuddwelch

      Hi Emily – happy to share more! Shoot me a note at sarah at

  • Gilang Agustiar

    I really really appreciate this kind of content. Actually, I’m trying to build my own community right now. So, this kind of article is giving me a big picture of what I’m gonna build.

    I want to know more about what kind of role that needed for a community to run well?
    Thank you. :)

    • sarahjuddwelch

      Hey Gilang! So glad glad you found this one valuable.

      There are so many different roles for community folks. Can you be a bit more specific?