Plan, measure, invest: how CommDiv is changing the Communication/PR industries
A shared passion for seeing Communication/PR professionals rewarded for the value we create has brought The Communication Dividend Founder, Deb Camden together with Paul Cheal, former Managing Director of corporate and financial PR agency, Honner, to make communication intelligence available to all PR practitioners.
Between them, Deb and Paul have more than 60 years’ experience as communication professionals. Both started out in journalism; both have headed up PR agencies; and as judges in Australian and international awards for communication measurement and evaluation, both have seen first-hand the standards that need to be reached as well as the enormous potential for improvement.
Deb and Paul agree three small words are transforming the Communication/PR industry: plan, measure and invest. It’s the tried and tested trio they’ve based their careers on, so if you’re a CEO or organisational decision maker and you’re reading this, they have a very clear message for you:
If you don’t know what your Communication/PR department is planning, measuring and investing in, it’s time to get informed. Just as your Accounts and Finance departments are crucial to ensuring your organisation’s success and profitability, those working to communicate effectively with your customers and communities, are also critical.
An issue many outside of these departments face is that they don’t actually know what each step in planning, measuring and investing entails. After all, they’ve never been a Communication/PR professional.
Plan – like other professions, without a plan, very little is achieved in Communication/PR. The notion of ‘winging it’ is a mere fantasy. The most constructive Communication/PR activity is planned well in advance to capitalise on key opportunities or organisational milestones. Most importantly, these departments cannot be effective unless their activity is linked to the company’s Business Plan. Mapping out a solid plan for the next 3 to 6 months ensures team members are on the same page and everyone understands what is required of them and why this plan matters.
Measure – if you’re familiar with how Communication/PR departments typically function, you’ll notice that they’re pretty much a hustle and bustle of constant activity. Regular tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, media releases and alerts… if nothing else, you can count on these departments to be constantly busy. The issue with this is that unless you’re measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of this activity according to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives, there’s little point. The more you can measure in relation to your organisation’s priorities, the more knowledge you have up your sleeve to work with down the track. It’s also important to know where you’re starting from to see what goals you can set and aspire to achieve moving forward.
Invest – once you’ve measured and evaluated the activities your Communication/PR department is performing, the next step is to look at the findings critically. From here, decide where it’s best for your organisation to invest time and money. For instance, if the data presented to you shows that despite tweeting multiple times a day, you haven’t grown your Twitter audience by a great deal over the last month, you may decide to focus more time on Facebook in order to experiment further.
Whenever Deb and Paul work with organisations and outline what needs to be done, people tend to look worried initially because it seems as though they’ll need to prepare themselves for a lot more work. However, The Communication Dividend has been built specifically to assist Communication/PR professionals in gathering this information so that it’s meaningful and can be presented in a useful way – saving time and precious resources.
The Communication Dividend is changing the Communication/PR profession and ultimately, this is what drives Deb and Paul towards their shared success.