Paine Publishing’s Measurement Beginner Tip: Start Small


So you want to begin doing communications measurement, but you don’t know where to start? Start small.

Here’s how to start small

Pick something very easy, very quick, very simple. Easy data, quick analysis, obvious results. Don’t call a meeting or write a grant proposal. Just find some basic data about what your organization did, and compare it to some basic results that are related to your organization’s business objectives.

Note: This is not the way to do measurement projects in general. Most measurement projects require lots of buy-in from your boss or whoever is paying for it, and whoever is going to use your results. But don’t worry about that now, here you are just getting started.

Start with a win for insight. You want your first project to build measurement confidence in both yourself and your organization. The way to do that is to produce some insight. So don’t measure the obvious or stuff that everyone knows (or think they know). Go for something surprising, maybe something that looked like a failure but, if you look at it the right way, actually drove good results.

Use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, or Google Analytics to gauge what kind of response you got to content you published recently. Compare it to interactions on your website. Or take an existing earned media report and match it up, time-wise, to social media. Is there any connection?

Here’s why to start small

You’ve got no budget. When you are just beginning to do measurement, you probably have a limited budget, limited resources. That’s fine, because there are plenty of low-hanging measurement-type fruit to be picked. One good piece of insight can loosen a lot of measurement purse strings. In fact, that’s the whole idea here.

And even if someone just handed you a suitcase full of money to do measurement, don’t spend it. At least not on your first measurement project. You’re much better off doing a pilot project to prove the value of good measurement. Roll it out to a broader application later.

You want to build organizational support. Do you have limited organizational support for research or evaluation? Maybe your boss or board doesn’t think this measurement thing is worth spending much time on? Well then, a quick and easy project will show them the value of measurement.

The idea is to make a modest splash and leave them wanting more. Your goal for your first project is to get your measurement foot in the organizational door. Where you want to be after you present your results is, “See how much we learned? See how much we can now improve? See how easy that was?” Pick your first project so you’ll be able to say those things. ∞

Thanks to Skeeze for the image.

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