What’s the big picture when it comes to your project’s media impact strategy?
In this moment of always-on, many-platform campaigns, answers can be difficult for producers and funders to keep in sight. Visual planning tools can help stakeholders get on the same page—sometimes literally — in terms of goals, platforms and desired outcomes. Here are just a few you might find useful:
Get to Gridding…
Among the simplest and most common formats, planning grids offer an integrated space for pulling all of the pieces of a production or campaign together.
Here, storytelling strategist Lina Srivastava adapts the format of Alex Osterwalder’s influential Business Model Canvas for the media impact field:
narrative canvas
In a similar vein, the BBC Academy and Arts Council England teamed up to create a “project brief canvas” for digital arts producers. It’s part of a larger suite of resources designed to “maximize the creation and distribution of high quality arts content for audiences on digital platforms”
For nonprofits and activists crafting issue-based media, the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 offers a step-by-step walkthrough, aligning program decisions, context, strategic choices, measurement tips, and a few useful “reality checks.”
One Link at a Time
In Forbes, Mike McCreless, the director of strategy and impact at social investment fund Root Capital, offers up a popular heuristic: the “Chain of Impact.” Unfortunately, he notes, too many organizations stop at reporting outputs, and don’t make it all the way to evaluating outcomes — true in both the social and media impact fields.
chain of impact
Thumbs Up
Looking for less linear models? You might prefer the more fluid planning style suggested by Jennifer Strachan’s Content of the Future: Guide for Creating Rock Solid Content…Everytime. Strachen is the Executive Director of News at public radio station KPLU, and you’ll find this fun graphic on a dedicated Tumblr site she set up: iheartstrategery.
content of the future

See our research section to discover more resources for planning and assessing high-impact productions.

What visual tools are you and your grantees for impact strategy? Let me know at jessica@mediafunders.org.

About the Author
Jessica Clark

Jessica Clark

Research Consultant

Jessica is a research consultant for Media Impact Funders, and the founder and director of media production/strategy firm Dot Connector Studio. She is also currently a senior fellow at the Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project. Previously, she served as the media strategist for AIR’s groundbreaking Localore project, the director of the Future of Public Media project at American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact, and a Knight Media Policy Fellow at D.C.-based think tank the New America Foundation. Over the past decade, she has led research and convenings with high-profile universities and national media networks, including NPR, PBS, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, MIT, and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. She is the co-author of Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics Through Networked Progressive Media (The New Press, 2010), and a longtime independent journalist.