Host: Measurement is key to the success of internal comms teams and your organization at large. And in the modern age where we have access to more and more data points, data-driven decisions are everything. That’s why over the next three episodes, we’re talking with Sean Williams, an analytics and internal communications expert and professor in Media and Communication.
On Screen Text: Why is measurement so important in internal communications?
Sean: Traditionally, we’ve always been able to get away with the idea of saying to everyone, “trust me it’s important,” and everybody agreed with us. And now there is a generation of leaders who basically adopt the precept that says, “In God we trust all others bring data,” and we’re not exempt from that. So, it’s vitally important that in internal communication we embrace the data revolution. And the data revolution means that we have critical intelligence that we’re able to gather using measurement that helps inform how well, or how poorly, our different internal communication campaigns will go. So, you have to do measurement. You need to know how your content is resonating with people in order to know whether it’s having any impact at all. So, rely on internal metrics that are available to you can give you the intel you need to make better strategy.
On Screen Text: So how do you even get started?
Sean: If I’m internet famous for anything it’s for the former headline of my website, which was ‘Objectives are Everything.’ Objectives are what enable us to know where it is we’re going. So, defining what value is another very important strategic process in our planning. What we want to do when we’re defining value is we want to know how the organization is going to define success. And in internal comms, in particular, a lot of times the objectives that we frame, that we state, are too general. So, we’ll say we want people to be aware of our strategy. Well, what does that actually look like? What do we mean by awareness, and what’s our baseline? What are we trying to achieve with respect to awareness? Where is it now, and where do we want it to be? Objective setting, particularly one in a quantitative sense, can create that star in the sky, that aspiration that we’re driving for, but also it can help lay out the roadmap that we need to follow in order to get where it is we need to get.
Objectives don’t have to be fully quantitative. They don’t have to be SMART objectives: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Ideally they will be, but whether you call them objectives or you call them goals, the point is you have to set that aspiration. If you do that, then you set up a means of measuring the extent to which you’re being successful.
The third thing about objectives is that objectives also, by their nature, focus you. So, when you look at the organizational objectives and what the company or the firm or the nonprofit organization’s trying to achieve, then you can create communication objectives that support those. And that my friends is how you get relevance, and that’s how it is you’re perceived by senior management as being a strategist and not merely the deliverer of content.
Host: To recap, measurement is vital in internal comms to not only prove your value in your organization, but to actually help your company achieve its goals and be successful. The first step here is to (1) understand what the goals of your business are and then (2) create objectives within internal communications that align with those goals and will actually contribute to achieving them. (3) When you set goals in this way, you position yourself as a strategic advisor. Stay tuned for the next two episodes of ICTV where Sean Williams shares examples and tactics for both setting SMART objectives and getting started with measurement TODAY.
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