Measuring Up? You Should

Size matters. Statistics do more. Numbers are often considered the arch enemy of communicators and journalists. Chances are, part of the reason you chose your field had to do with the lack of mathematics related courses for the completion of your degree. Statistics and research methods were there however for a reason!

When time is money and page views = increased advertising revenue, the head honchos and “de bosses dem” need something more than “we should because we should” to convince them to continue programs. As communications/ marketing budgets shrink, as ink costs more to print than ever before and as the desire for superfast download speed and information retrieval limits the amount of content editors will place on the home pages of websites, measurement is key. You need to measure up.

Communicators, this means more than counting the number of times your media release appears in the press. Retweets, unique page views, forwards, “Likes” etc have more meaning today than page placement in the press. Don’t believe me? Chances are your CEO does. Why? A visit to any website these days has a “Like” button and the number of times an article has been Retweeted. So while they may not be sure how something gets “retweeted” they do care HOW MANY read the material and WHAT they read and WHEN they read it. Why? CEO’s respond to numbers, dollars and sense. Generalisation? Yep. Wrong? Nope.

So what should you do to measure up? While there’s no real cure for not measuring up in the pants area for men (yep – I went THERE), there is a cure for the numerically challenged communicator.

  1. Find your CMS (Content Management System) and figure out where your web stats are located. Can’t find the manual? Find the geeky IT person that would love to walk you through it. Translate all the gibberish they speak;
  2. Make Friends with Excel: If you don’t know how to use Microsoft Excel, consider yourself directed to learn how NOW. Microsoft has many online tutorials for the programme. As does YouTube. Excel is the CEO’s friend because it can turn wordiness into easy to read charts and graphs. In other words, start your proposal with a great excel chart summary and guess what? Changes are they may just read the first few sentences of your 9 page communication report with the cute page border that NO ONE but you has time to riffle through.
  3. Read what they Read: Ok so you’re not the Chief Accountant (thank GOD!) or the Head of Operations but guess what? The CEO listens to them and knows why they’re budgets are important right? Well, learn to talk as they do. Read their reports and emulate their styles. You’ll definitely learn something – even if its the best solution to insomnia
  4. Have a Conversation: As you shift your report writing style to suit that of your CEO, have a conversation with them on their preferred reporting style. Do they want details or just high level information? Do they want a written report or are bi-weekly verbal reports followed up by quarterly reports acceptable? You won’t know until you ask. Do yourself a favour though – ask in a succinct manner.

hugs to the world!

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One Response to “Measuring Up? You Should”

  1. Joanne Says:

    Wow is this ever true! In the non-profit world, many of the most secure positions are the ones that deal with bringing in or managing the money. You don’t have to be a marketing whiz if you can work your way around an excel spreadsheet. I know that ability (which I taught myself on the job one summer) has saved my you-know-what more than once!

    But more importantly, in my opinion, is the ability to take that spreadsheet knowledge and that ability to work with and manipulate numbers and meld it with an ability (said that word one time too many in the sentence, but oh well!) to *explain* what those numbers mean! Never fails to make you look really smart. Great post!

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