A hamster on a wheel. That’s what it felt like when I stopped measuring the progress of my communication strategy.
Running and running in circle I had no idea where I was going (a.k.a. nowhere), I was unfocused, unmotivated and utterly bored.
Because communicating takes time and effort, we don’t do it for no reason. We share to reach goals, to inspire people, to let them know how we can help them, to pass knowledge … The reasons why we communicate and share should be at the core of our communication strategy which is nothing but a plan of how we’re going to share our content and which media we’ll be using. Everything we do in terms of sharing, creating content, publishing posts, writing books, printing out flyers, should serve that one reason, that objective.
And to avoid feeling like a hamster running on a wheel, you routinely need to check and measure the progress of your communication strategy.
How to measure the progress of your communication strategy
If you are thinking that the answer is the easy “I wanted to double the number of my followers and I’ve done it”, let me break it to you, that doesn’t measure a thing. Despite being a fundamental step of our work, almost no one explains to you how you can actually measure the progress of your communication strategy. Which is why I’m sharing some of the things I do.
7 Ways To Measure The Progress of Your Communication Strategy
1. Define progress
Before you even start measuring the progress of your communication strategy, you need to have a clear idea of what progress means. It is very important to focus on this because, we can’t measure something if we don’t know what it is.
We can’t measure love because it’s a fantastic, abstract feeling. But we need to be able to measure the progress of our communication strategy. And the only way to do that is by knowing where we’re going, what exactly we want to achieve. And I’m not talking about the “I want to change the world” kind of aim. But something more like “I want to enrol 10 people into my non-violent free course by the end of February 2021”. And our communication strategy will serve us to explain our course, connect to people potentially interested, share why the course is relevant to them… In this case, progress can mean that you start with zero participants and get to 5 in November 2020. So define what you mean by progress.
2. Register your starting point
You can only measure how far you’ve come, if you know where you started from. Hence, once your aim is clear and your communication strategy aligns to serve that aim, make sure to put a pin on where you are, really. Register date, data, budget, on a diary or online. If you need to measure social media metrics, you can look at the analytics; if you are aiming for more subscribers, take notes of how many you have to start with and so on.
3. Do monthly reviews
Personally, I love doing a yearly review of my progress with my communication strategy. It’s an intense yet helpful exercise. On top of that, in a very informal way, I review my progress monthly. This helps to:
- Stay focused on the objective
- Catch on time if something is not working
- Stay motivated
If you’re working for a bigger organisation, you might want to organise the monthly review in a more formal way, with graphs, data and a presentation.
4. Take visual proof
This is very much true if you are measuring analytics, you can screenshoot the relevant pages and save it for your archive. However, this is also true for live events. And I have learned this the hard way.
When touring my documentary around the world, screening and training tons of students of all ages, I was so focused on the actual event that I never considered documenting it. Luckily, the organisations I was working with did it for me sometimes!
Taking visual proof of the results of your communication strategy help you both to testify of its effectiveness but also to measure how far you’ve come.
5. Take notes of changes
Are you using different approaches with your communication strategy? Take notes of how things change whenever you change platform or medium. What works? What brings you closer to your aim?
Observe and always, take some time to give yourself a feedback.
6. Adopt milestones
Milestones help to stay focused and motivated. And they also help to measure the progress of your communication strategy. Even more if you give yourself the rule that you are not going to proceed any further until you’ve reached the milestone. Obviously, milestones have to serve the final aim I mentioned before and can never be an empty exercises.
7. Be accountable
If you are working for an organisation, it will be much easier to refer to a supervisor or someone who expects you to deliver on your communication strategy. But even if you are an entrepreneur or a side hustler, you can find an accountability partner. It can be a friend, a fellow entrepreneur, a coach or a mentor. But make sure you have to show someone how far you’ve come.
Don’t forget to add your own personal way to how you measure the progress of your communication strategy and have fun doing it!