Draft Strategic Communications Plan -- for your review
A Strategic Communications Plan
Presented by Words on Fire Communications, Inc.
PlanetMath.Org 2.0 is about increased collaboration and capacity. It can no longer stay in the same place, with limited resources, or it will not grow and thrive as an online community.
In the 21st century, boundaries are being blurred, between producer and user, manager and employee, top and bottom; communal environments are replacing rigid hierarchies. Whether we should thank web pioneers or the so-called Ã¢Â€ÂœWe Generation,Ã¢Â€Â? there is a new sense of communal ownership that is heartening. In a reversal of (or at least a queer twist on) the Ã¢Â€ÂœMeÃ¢Â€Â? trend in American culture, people increasingly are contributing to their communities for the simple satisfaction of having contributed. PlanetMath.Org must find the capacity to harness that impulse, to make it an engine for achieving its overall mission.
But, to move to the next level, PlanetMath must do two things:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ It must truly find and define its core reason for being; and
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ It must continually extend itself outward to attract new stakeholders
In the preparation of PlanetMath.Org 2.0 Plan Words on Fire Communications engaged in a two-month process of research, review and reflection. Our process included:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ One-on-one interviews with key stakeholders of PlanetMath.Org
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ One-on-one interviews with 3 online community experts
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Review of the PlanetMath.Org web experience
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Research and review of online math communities
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Research and review of additional online encyclopedias
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Review and incorporation of key stakeholdersÃ¢Â€Â™ visions into strategic communication framework
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Review and creation of targeted media lists to key audiences
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Research of math associations/math educators to find best way to reach potential new audiences
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Research and review of Linux and RedHat business models for possible transference to PlanetMath
PlanetMath is in the place that all adolescents must go through to become successful adults. Who am I and what do I want to become when I grow up?
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Stakeholders love and are committed to Ã¢Â€Âœthe commonsÃ¢Â€Â? of PlanetMath.Org
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Only specialized mathematics-oriented collaborative community
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Noosphere is transferable to create/spin-off additional CBPP collaborative communities
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Currently has little or no funding capacity for a host of essential support services to the organization, including: marketing, software enhancements, grant writing, relationship cultivation
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Lack of search engine optimization and key relationships leads to being invisible in the marketplace
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Lack of cohesion of priorities and objectives beyond the shared value of the Ã¢Â€ÂœcommonsÃ¢Â€Â?
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Cultural barriers of participating stakeholders can prevent them from engaging in the long-term sustainability beyond their own needs/uses for PlanetMath.Org.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Lack of clearly articulated mission
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ The inherent limits of on-line community, lack of face-to-face communication
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Explosion in on-line collaborative communities means more people seeking collaborative on-line communities
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Explosion in on-line learning provides potential natural partners
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Open source model is gaining strength and prominence in the marketplace; Linux model provides pathway for PlanetMath to build financial sustainability through Noosphere
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath has never done basic communications outreach
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ That PlanetMath.Org will not move forward because of lack of agreement of what PlanetMath.Org is and does
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ In an economy where poverty is increasing there is serious competition for sponsor/donor dollars
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ There are a number of math-oriented websites that at least at first-glance offer the same type of resources
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath.Org is a uniquely collaborative environment in which those engaged in the world of mathematics may Ã¢Â€ÂœpreÃ¢Â€Â? publish work and get feedback
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath is a space for identifying and cultivating emerging math talent/thought
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Peer-to-peer engagement
PlanetMath.Org Overall Mission and how it relates to the plan.
Communications is a core competency that PlanetMath.Org must acquire internally in order to drive traffic and participation on PlanetMath.Org. Before it can take on any additional activities, it must identify and communicate its value.
We were almost through with the strategic planning process before we realized the glaring omission that PlanetMath does not have an officially stated Ã¢Â€Âœmission.Ã¢Â€Â? As a mission defines an organizationsÃ¢Â€Â™ reason for being, we have attempted a first draft of a mission.
PlanetMath.OrgÃ¢Â€Â™s mission is to build and sustain an engaged collaborative math community that is free and open for all individuals with a serious interest in mathematics
This is the jumping off point for your mission. Before you can fully articulate what you do, you have to agree on this basic element of the organization. Everything you do flows from and to your mission.
There should also be a secondary mission established specifically for the role of the Noosphere that is separate from the mission of PlanetMath.Org.
The mission of the Noosphere is to provide and continually upgrade and improve its open source easy-to-use fully functioning platform for commons based peer production
This delineation will be key as PlanetMath moves forward in building community.
Visions for Strategic Communications Plan:
PlanetMath.Org envisions that through the successful implementation of its plan that:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath is making major contributions to the state of online collaborative authorship
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath is free and open to all who want to communicate about math, consistent with standards and rules established by the PlanetMath community itself.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath has a diverse and sustainable funding stream, including certain premium services (which will be accessed via linked websites to avoid antagonizing the community), tie-ins with products from corporate sponsors/supporters such MathResourcesÃ¢Â€Â™ Math Dictionary, foundation grants, and advertising..
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath is the center of a constellation of related and interlinked projects, including other Planets, [premium tutoringÃ¢Â€Â”letÃ¢Â€Â™s talk about this] and other services.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath is simultaneously a publisher (of a free online encyclopedia), a learned society (where mathematicians meet to discuss math topics and get news of whatÃ¢Â€Â™s happening in the math profession) and a school [ (providing fee-for-service tutoring for all levels of math-learners).]
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath has become the outlet of choice for advanced researchers to submit their work for peer review prior to formal journal publication.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath has an appropriate mix of full- and part-time paid staff.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath has significantly upgraded its web architecture (Noosphere) and is funding research on such topics as autolinker development, scholium system research, and reputation system research.
PlanetMath.Org now must move from vision to reality. What you will find contained in the pages hereafter are strategies and an overview of the activities and resources needed to fulfill the stated visions.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Focus on upper tier of mathematics community
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ DonÃ¢Â€Â™t try to be all things to all people
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Create a paradigm where Noosphere becomes the galaxy that all Planets align within
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Create a what PlanetMath IsnÃ¢Â€Â™t space (a la wikipedia)
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Play to PlanetMathÃ¢Â€Â™s strengths of having an online-publishing platform to provide opportunities/access to pre-publish and get Ã¢Â€Âœfriendly-fireÃ¢Â€Â? peer-to-peer review
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop complementary technology deliverables, e.g., podcasts and video conferencing special events
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop and find investors (social philanthropists) to help grow, build and market the Noosphere
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Establish PlanetMath Advisory Board, using advisory as a foundation introduce the work of PlanetMath, recruit prominent mathematicians, proponents of Ã¢Â€Âœthe CommonsÃ¢Â€Â? and leaders open source and related technical fields
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Create a Ã¢Â€Âœgo-toÃ¢Â€Â? destination for mathematicians with job-listings, personal area to assist keeping people in/linked to the community
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Leveraging Ã¢Â€Âœthe askÃ¢Â€Â? to heighten profile of PlanetMath to key organizations, including employers of mathematicians, financial services industry, technology companies, academic settings, etc.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Human Impact StoryÃ¢Â€Â? of PlanetMathÃ¢Â€Â”tell how PlanetMath made a difference in someoneÃ¢Â€Â™s life
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Create an annual Ã¢Â€Âœstate of mathÃ¢Â€Â? awards and presentation to be deployed annually
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Leverage Noosphere for consulting revenue
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop a high-end coffee table book of art, comics, etc. of math that could be sold through science museums, etc.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Leverage online outlets to heighten profile of PlanetMath, including YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook, etc.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop and leverage relationships with mathematic departments at a variety of learning institutions
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Establish relationships with math organizations/outlets
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Develop a subscription based premium-pay Ã¢Â€ÂœDigestÃ¢Â€Â? of PlanetMath
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Adopt Ã¢Â€ÂœcooperativeÃ¢Â€Â? business model so that individual collaborators recognizes the need for ongoing support for the community
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Aggregate/invite in smaller sites that just have one or two people, such as Pierre & David at Math2.org
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Create a MathMentors program that links emerging mathematicians with established mathematicians
Promising Revenue Sources:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Establishing sponsor relationships with premiere businesses to outright fund basic operating of PlanetMathÃ¢Â€Â”must speak to aligned values and benefits to business
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Noosphere launch into market & consulting support
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Premium pay or free with ad view access
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Expand general online ad services
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Once a year online auction by and for PlanetMath participants
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath Digest subscriptions
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ PlanetMath annual corporate/education ask
There are a broad range of activities implied by this plan, including:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Database development and managements of potentially thousands individual mathematicians/organizations, as well as media
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Regular communications with a host of math journals, math departments, educators, sponsors and other stakeholders
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Regularly linking to websites
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Regularly announcing PlanetNews
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Presenting/bringing the world of PlanetMath to the media and general public
In all revenue models, in all instances, there must be capacity to continuously support the work. PlanetMath must find ongoing operating support of at minimum $6,000 per month to actually establish and maintain the relationships that PlanetMath must have to be sustainable.
There are two different evaluations that must be executed to ascertain the effectiveness of PlanetMath.Org 2.0 Plan.
These will need to be set as a team, once the plan is approved and adopted, but include the number and types of stories and outcomes that resulted from the ongoing communications efforts. We would expect those benchmarks to be quantifiable:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Increase in number of active contributors from __ to ____
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Increase in number of registered members from __ to ___
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ How many mentions in media/journals says Ã¢Â€Âœsuccess?Ã¢Â€Â?
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Number of links from complementary web sites
The second set of evaluative tools we will need to establish will involve answering questions such as:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Are we reaching the right audiences through our communications efforts?
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Are the deliverables and services provided the right mix for the population we are seeking to attract?
Under separate cover, Words on Fire will provide PlanetMath.Org with:
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ Targeted media lists
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ A list of college math departments
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ A list of potential funders with which PlanetMath.Org may not already be familiar, whose values and missions aligns with PlanetMath.Org.
Ã¯ÂƒÂ˜ A brief list of potential sponsors
- Planetary Bugs
- Research Topics
- LaTeX help
- Math Comptetitions
- Math History
- Math Humor
- PlanetMath Comments
- PlanetMath System Updates and News
- PlanetMath help
- Strategic Communications Development
- The Math Pub
- Testing messages (ignore)
- Other useful stuff