Evaluating invisible value


One of the most frustrating things about being a communicator is that some of the areas in which we add the most value are often invisible. Here are some aspects of “invisible value” you may consider in evaluating your communications activities and reporting on the impact you deliver:

Risk avoidance: If you’re in the business of avoiding train wrecks, is the value of this result clear to your organization? Your biggest strategic success may be manifested only by the absence of a negative consequence. For example, if you receive 20 media calls about a nasty rumor and you’re able to make 18 of them go away, that’s vital to the story of your media relations performance. That means that you shouldn’t just report on the two bad stories; document those 18 saves as well.

Coaching and issue management: Your internal clients and executives probably value these activities the most, and yet they’re likely not captured anywhere in formal reporting. Think about including these kinds of activities in evaluating your work, perhaps by conducting an internal client satisfaction survey and then sharing the results.

Messaging: If your messages make a difference—if they’re used effectively across your organization, or even better, among some of your partners or stakeholders—make sure you track that success and report it. This can be done either through content analysis or by documenting your partners’ use of your material as a relationship indicator. It doesn’t matter much what category you use—the essential point is that you capture and communicate your results.

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