You should now be clear on what your communications efforts are expected to achieve. You know your goal, objectives, audience, baseline and evaluation questions; the next step is to develop specific metrics to answer your evaluation questions.
The authors introduce milestones at this point of the evaluation. If objectives are intermediate markers toward your goal, milestones demonstrate your progress toward those objectives. Just like objectives, they are not intended to show your activities, your outputs, but rather your results on your way to reach your objective.
Milestones can either be measured quantitatively or qualitatively, or of course, a combination of both. Here are some examples of milestones and some of their possible metrics and measurements put into the context of familiar objectives (keep in mind, the metrics measure the milestone, not the objective per se):
“By the end of year one, have established an online community of 25,000 active, engaging members.”
“By the end of month six, have solicited one action from 10,000 community members”
You have established a rate of interaction of 10% of your total Facebook fans.
You have established a fan base of 20,000 members on Facebook.
“Position your organization as an essential element of your arts community by the end of year two.”
“Establish a relationship with bloggers from the 50 most-read arts blogs by the end of year one.”
Communication exchanges indicate increased interest by bloggers/creators.
Organization is referenced positively in at least five key blogs.
“By the end of year two, increase annual revenue from online referrals from Facebook and Twitter by $50,000.”
“By the end of year one, have established Web traffic of 150,000 annual visitors referred from Facebook and Twitter.”
You have established a fan base of 100,000 members on Facebook, with an average click-through rate of a posted item on Facebook at 5%
You have established a fan base of 200,000 members on Twitter, with an average click-through rate of a posted item on Twitter at 2%
The authors advise to identify three milestones per objective and three metrics or measures per milestone. They advise against tracking too much data; only track what measures whether you are reaching your milestone.
As we have seen in the baseline step, there are many tools out there to collect the data you need. Step eight will delve a little deeper into those tools.
On Monday, we’ll look at step eight: selecting your evaluation techniques.