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Continuously Improving Communications

A few years ago I decided to conduct a readership survey of the audiences - employees, physicians and volunteers -  for my internal newsletters.  At the time, much like you probably do, we published all sorts of content about important-sounding decisions, committees and strategies.  It was important to us, ergo it was important to them.

Can you guess what we found?  Volunteers paid a little attention, physicians almost none.  (Of course we were soon producing an equally-ignored physicians' newsletter...another story for another day.)  Employees tuned in mainly for...the cafeteria menus!  Yikes!  But we learned some important lessons and got better.  So can you.
  • What questions are you asking to foster continuous improvement in your communications strategy?  
  • Are you building metrics around the answers to those questions? 
  • Do you have technology in place to generate the data to drive the metrics?

What questions SHOULD you ask to listen, learn and improve? A modest list, in no particular order;
  • Does your audience consider your content a "must read?"
  • Would it be missed if it went away?
  • Is anybody reading? Who is and who isn't? What differentiates the two groups?
  • Are you publishing the right content?  How do you know?
  • In the right format?
  • Is the content considered credible and trustworthy? Timely? (A monthly internal newsletter runs the risk of being out of date by the time it's published. Informal networks, gossip and rumor always work faster than official channels. Not that it SHOULD be that way.)
  • What should you do more of?  Less of?
  • Are you interactive enough? Multi-media enough?
  • Should you incorporate more social media? How?
  • Should you enable RSS feeds and let your audience assemble their own content, deciding for themselves what's important?
  • Is your content easy to share, like, tweet and recommend?  Or does that prospect freak you out?
  • Do you ever survey readers? How? What have you learned?
  • Are your efforts working in a vacuum?  Or do they mutually reinforce messages heard every day, every shift, from leaders throughout the organization?
Paraphrasing David Ogilvy, people read what interests them. Sometimes that's an employee newsletter.

What have I missed?  Leave a comment or suggestion.  Thanks!


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