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Begin with the End in Mind: Communication Measurement Best Practices

Photo: Chesapeake Finish Line Tower,

Photo: Chesapeake Finish Line Tower,

Begin 2014 with the end in mind. Every successful communication plan is supported by an effective measurement strategy. Here are the top posts on communication measurement you helped make successful in 2013:

1. Six Sigma Project Ideas for PR

2. Measure What Matters with a Communication Scorecard

3. How to Calculate the Value of Organizational Communication

4. Reflecting on the Right Questions for Your Readership Surveys

Thank you for your readership and support of sharing corporate communication best practices in 2013. As we continue to build on our collective masterpiece of Starry Blue Brilliance, I’m inspired by the words of Vincent Van Gogh: “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” (

Have a very happy, healthy, prosperous and brilliant new year!


You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one


Today is my son Chris’ 18th birthday. I’m so proud of who he is and all that he will become. He enjoys music by The Beatles, so in honor of his milestone birthday, I titled this post after John Lennon’s famous quote from his song “Imagine.” Chris and I are dreamers!

Chris painted this beautiful picture when he was in preschool. It’s matted and framed and hangs in a prominent place in our home. It’s my absolute favorite picture because it projects optimism and joy. I look at it all the time as a reminder of how fortunate I am to have him in my life.

About 10 years ago, I found the perfect card for his 18th birthday. I’d like to share with you those inspirational words of wisdom (Greeting card created by Hallmark,

Someday, Son,

you will become a “sir” –

the world will expect you

to wear ties and pay taxes

and take care of your lawn.

People will try to sell you insurance

and major appliances.

You may feel the urge

to carry an umbrella “just in case”

and to go to bed early on Saturdays.

You’ll hear your favorite songs

on the elevator.

So take it from someone who knows,

someone who loves you –

there’ll never be another time

in your life like this.

Be happy.

Laugh until it hurts.



Do good stuff.

Ask questions.

Stop for pizza.

Order extra-large . . .

Play ball.

Hang out with friends.

Find something that matters

and be a part of it.

The world is full of “sirs.”

But there’s only one you,

only one now.


Happy Birthday, Chris!

Love always and forever,


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Reflecting on the Right Questions for Your Readership Surveys

Photo: Paul (Dex) Bica,  Toronto, Canada

Photo: Lake Reflections, Paul (Dex) Bica, Toronto, Canada

As 2013 comes to a close, it may be time to conduct a readership survey on your organization’s publications. Employee communication expert Steve Crescenzo, of Crescenzo Communications,, says that when it comes to readership surveys “it’s not about readership numbers; it’s about outcomes.”

In the attached article from IABC’s Communication World, Steve shares his recommendations for questions to include in your readership survey that will show the value of your publications to the organization. Steve Crescenzo_IABC CW_Readership Surveys

What questions do you include in your readership surveys?


Brilliance@Work and the Stars Who Make it Happen: Stefanie Rathjen Kelly

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, the first in a new series of profiles about stellar communication professionals and their best practices at work.

Stefanie Rathjen Kelly

Stefanie Rathjen Kelly

Stefanie Rathjen Kelly, Director of Digital Marketing for Pathway Medical Staffing (soon will be Medical Staffing Network: Beyond the Bedside), shares her insights and best practices for digital marketing in the healthcare industry:

Peggy L. Bieniek: How did content marketing become a key driver of your digital marketing efforts?
Stefanie Rathjen Kelly: I got into content marketing because I realized that my digital marketing programs would go nowhere if I didn’t have any interesting, educational and thought-provoking content to fill all of our channels and campaigns. I started to curate and share content from sources interesting to our audience, and then I started to publish original content.

PLB: What is your process for creating original content?
SRK: At the end of the day your content is about your audience and being able to engage with them at a very basic emotional level. I’ve found that engaging our audience in the content creation process has been extremely successful. The audience is interested because they took part in the content. Here are some examples of content we created by reaching out and understanding our audience:

PLB: What do you focus on when creating content for your audience?
SRK: You need to be specific with your content. We’re a staffing and recruiting firm for nurses. There’s a ton of information about staffing, recruiting, finding a job, career tips, etc. out there. There’s also a ton of information about nursing. However, there isn’t a lot of information about searching and crafting great career moves in Nurse Case Management, which is our specific niche of the healthcare world. When creating content you need to get down to a more granular level. If you have several different audiences, focus on your greatest revenue-producing audience first. This is the best place to start when you have limited resources.

PLB: How do you continue to create relevant content for your audience?
SRK: My advice is to get inspiration from organizations and thought leaders that have big resources to invest in content marketing. I’m a one-woman marketing show from creating the concepts and strategies for digital marketing and content marketing, conducting the surveys, writing the copy, creating the graphics, developing the landing pages and emails, and cutting up the content to feed it to our various marketing channels like blogs, social media, advertising and nurture campaigns. My philosophy is: don’t reinvent the wheel, just re-engineer it for your specific audience and business goals.

PLB: How do you “cut up your content” for your various media channels?
SRK: Creating great content is very labor intensive, especially for a one-person team like mine. I need to get the most out of each piece so I carve it up like a Thanksgiving turkey:

I cut up the information in each piece of content and push it out in small digestible bite-sized chunks of information using social media, nurture campaigns, etc. If our audience is engaged and wants more, they can respond to our call to action which is often an eBook download that feeds into our lead generation efforts. Here are a few examples:

PLB: Can you share an example of how you incorporate traditional marketing into your overall marketing efforts?
SRK: We participated in a trade show and gave away mouse pads printed with quotes from an eBook I created. The call to action was to download the rest of the eBook from a link. It’s a bit old school, but you’d be surprised how many people come looking for this thing. A nurse from a large managed care organization wanted 40 mouse pads for her entire team. The call to action on the mouse pad is… and it works. We’ve received tremendous response from this.
Pathway Mousepad 063013 cropped

PLB: What are some of your favorite resources for content and digital marketing inspiration?
SRK: Some of the resources I use on a regular basis are:

Two vendors that do a great job with their own content marketing:

Some individuals I watch for inspiration:

I recently attended a Content Marketing Master Class in NYC. Here’s a great summary of the event by Mary Montserrat-Howlett, which includes some of the ideas and tips I use on a regular basis:

“The 5 Whys” is a Six Sigma determining root cause best practice:

Also, one of my favorite examples of phenomenal content marketing is Coca-Cola’s Content 2020 strategy:

PLB: What is your contact information for questions, comments and ideas?
SRK: My LinkedIn profile is and my Twitter handle is @srkellyonline. I appreciate being featured in the first Brilliance@Work profile and am happy to share this information. I look forward to hearing from your readers.

What communication best practices would you like to share in future Brilliance@Work profiles? What are your ideas for topics or people featured in upcoming profiles?

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Award-Winning Case Studies: Improving PR with Six Sigma

Photo: Sunset at Lake Success, Patrick Mackin

Photo: Sunset at Lake Success, Patrick Mackin

As a follow-up to last month’s post, “Six Sigma Project Ideas for PR,” here are two recent award-winning case studies provided by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research,

2013_PR Platinum Award_Best Research, 2012 CMS Open Enrollment Research Program_case study

Mark shows that research-based PR requires discipline and focused application from Six Sigma thinking. These case studies demonstrate positive business outcomes, reduced waste and greater efficiencies.

What are some examples you’d like to share?