Communications are almost always works in progress – and so too is their evaluation. First up, it’s obviously important to know what you want to achieve and how you’ll reach your goals.
But how will you measure success in engaging and positively impacting your key stakeholders?
People often measure what is easiest, including so-called ‘vanity metrics’ on social media, such as ‘likes’ or ‘impressions’. Email newsletter distribution services can report who opens newsletters and how many times they forward them. Media monitoring agencies can provide statistics to show that one story has reached a certain number of consumers.
But say you are quoted in a media outlet that reaches one million people, or you have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, or you are frequently posting content that inspires loads of reactions. Does this really give you the answers you need? For example:
- Who ‘likes’ you? Who are your followers? Have you been able to cut through the noise and encourage people to apply your information in practical ways?
- Can any of your work be attributed directly to a major shift in government policy, incremental industry changes or re-framing of public narratives?
- Has media exposure of your work resulted in new industry or research partnerships? Has it attracted more students to your courses?
- Would a stakeholder consider using you as an expert researcher, speaker or consultant?