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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!



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?

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How to Calculate the Value of Organizational Communication

© Jorge Royan / / CC-BY-SA-3.0

© Jorge Royan / / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Communicators know that effective communication delivers value to business in many tangible ways, but how can you show this value in a quantifiable way that is easy to understand?

Lorenzo Sierra of LoSierra Strategic Consulting,, created a solution to this dilemma:


That is, the value of communication is equal to the costs plus the efforts of what you’re communicating to the power of perception.

This equation is further explained in the attached article from the June/July 2003 edition of IABC’s Communication World. Sierra’s Theory of Communicativity_IABC CW

This concept was also applied to calculating the value of total rewards communication as detailed in the attached article from WorldatWork’s 2004 edition of Workspan. Lorenzo Sierra_Workspan_0204

How can this equation be applied to show the value of communication at your organization?


Six Sigma Project Ideas for PR

Six Sigma

What is Six Sigma and how can it help you improve your organization’s communication processes?

According to, “Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.”

I earned my Six Sigma Green Belt certification in 2004 by improving our employee newsletter. Six Sigma can be applied to all of your communication processes to help improve costs, engagement and productivity.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your public relations efforts, here is a list of “Six Sigma Project Ideas for PR” created by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research,

This list was published in IABC’s January/February 2004 Communication World. See attached article.
Six Sigma PR_IABC_CW 2004.

Six Sigma Project Ideas for PR

  • Reduce time for press release approval.
  • Improve media targeting (identify media that have proven reach among your target audience).
  • Assess journalists’ preference and satisfaction with current PR initiatives.
  • Assess “internal client” preferences and satisfaction with current PR initiatives.
  • Improve the ratio of releases sent versus releases used.
  • Improve the ratio of placements featuring critical messages.
  • Improve the ratio of placements featuring a company spokesperson.
  • Improve the ratio of stories featuring visuals or graphics.
  • Improve the ratio of stories that are either exclusives or feature-length.
  • Improve the ROI of events and event sponsorships.
  • For agencies, improve percentage of billable hours.

How do you use Six Sigma principles to improve communication processes at your organization?

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The Perfect Fit: How to Best Tell Your Organization’s Story

Thai Shadow Puppets by Steve Evans,

Thai Shadow Puppets by Steve Evans,

Timing is everything, especially when planning to tell your organization’s story as it’s unfolding. To do this successfully, you must have a strategy.

The attached article by Gary F. Grates, “The Perfect Fit,” explains how to successfully tell your organization’s story in a cohesive and compelling way. This article originally appeared in IABC’s October-November 2003 Communication World. Perfect Fit_IABC article

Use the attached template to successfully identify, design and communicate the “Perfect Fit” strategy for your organization. perfectfit

What are some of the ways you share your organization’s story?

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Measure What Matters with a Communication Scorecard

An effective measurement method supports a successful communication program. A communication scorecard can help you efficiently measure, track and show the results of your communication efforts.

For many years, I’ve used a highly successful measurement method and communication scorecard developed by Bill Quirke, Managing Director of Synopsis, at

The attached slides from his presentation, “Gaining Bottom Line Impact from the Communication Audit” explain this method. I am grateful to Bill for giving his approval to share this information with you. Be sure to check out the chapter on measurement in his book “Making the Connections: Using Internal Communication to Turn Strategy into Action.”

Communication Measurement_Bill Quirke

I developed the attached communication scorecard (modeled after Bill’s template in the last slide of his presentation) for measuring the effectiveness of our integration communication program following an acquisition.

Integration Communication Scorecard_Peggy Bieniek ABC

What are some of the ways you measure your communication programs?


Template for Creating a Vision

Create a vision of success for you, your teams and your organization. The attached template published by the American Society for Training & Development can help you create a vision to inspire higher levels of engagement, productivity, business performance and communication.

Creating A Vision Job Aid Page 1

Creating A Vision Job Aid Page 2


Template for Storytelling

Storytelling is a compelling and effective way to engage employees. The attached template published by the American Society for Training & Development can help you identify, create and track your organization’s stories. Once you uncover and document key stories, you can use them to support your communication strategy.

Storytelling Job Aid

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Template for Change Management Planning

Before you can begin to manage your organization’s change efforts, you must first focus on the plan to make this change successful. The attached Change Management Planning Job Aid published by the American Society for Training & Development will help you design an effective change management strategy for your organization.

Change Management Job Aid Page 1

Change Management Job Aid Page 2