Metrics are often applied to outcomes of an activity. For instance, you publish a story on your blog, and the measurement is how many people read it. Or you post something on Facebook, and you measure how many people viewed it versus how many people “liked” it. That’s fine, but metrics also have a place in measuring activity towards a goal.

Activity to Content
What if you’re starting from scratch? What if your publishing efforts aren’t working? If you publish a story on your blog, and nobody reads it, what do you do?

If you don’t have a plan for generating stories, there isn’t much you can do to move the metrics on audience consumption.

That’s why, when I think about metrics, I think about activity that leads to the kind of stories that will affect post-publishing metrics.

How many phone calls did I make? How many emails did I send? How many interviews did I conduct today, this week or this month?

Story-First Strategy
If I could make one suggestion that would improve clients’ communications plans, it would be to adopt a story-first strategy. So many plans are based on messaging and publishing frequency that they forget the most important part — generating stories.

A story-first strategy doesn’t exclude decisions about messaging or frequency. It means those discussions follow decisions about activity.

For instance, instead of deciding arbitrarily to post on Facebook twice a day (a process- first strategy), you can ask: “Who are the most interesting customers we serve?” or “What does our organization mean to a customer?”

Now you’re asking questions that lead to stories. The more questions you have, the more stories you have. The more stories you have, the easier it will be to keep communications channels activated. The easier it will be to build campaigns with specific goals. The more likely you are to engage customers. MW