I confess. I love setting communication goals. It grounds and focuses me — and let’s me know if I’m winning. It’s the difference between practicing a golf swing without a ball. Or even worse? Without a hole.
Imagine if Topgolf didn’t have targets. Or if a driving range didn’t have markers indicating distance. We all like/need to have an objective to know if the effort is worth it.
In church communication today, many churches have no goals. They don’t know what they’re attempting to achieve, and in their busyness, they’re discouraged because they have no idea if they’re winning.
Want to feel like a winner in communication? Here are 3 tips for establishing comm goals that are reasonable, achievable, and effective. Once you follow them; you’ll start winning:
- Benchmark. Decide what your measurement is. For each aspect/channel/event (attendance, social media, website, groups, etc.) decide what is important to analyze. Which is best? Often you just have to decide what’s important to your leadership. Or what directly corresponds to mission wins. But CLEARLY decide what the rules are and what metrics to follow. For example, digital attendance? Perhaps it’s the combined viewers on your webpage and YouTube, who watched for 5+ minutes, during the first 3 days after posting/streaming. Yes, be that specific and make sure it’s measurable. Want to measure engagement for social media? You must first know what that means. Perhaps it’s based on the number of post comments. Or it could be the amount of likes. Just decide. And sure, you may find that you need to tweak your benchmark descriptions as you progress. But if someone asks what success looks like? You’ll know what you’re measuring.
- Compare. Everyone likes to feel successful. The human spirit tends to do that by comparing your achievements to another’s: “My golf drive is farther than everyone else in my foursome!” Or “my ball is closer to the hole than everyone else’s”. In church communication, comparisons to other churches (who have different benchmarks, goals, challenges, and audiences) proves to be discouraging. Instead? Compare yourself mainly to yourself. To a track record you’ve established. Perhaps it would be wise to compare metrics to similar timeframes in the past. For example: Our social media sharing on edited sermon video snippets is up 20% when posting on Thursdays at 10am instead of Mondays at 10am. Or attendance in June this year to last June. Why does self-comparison work? Because you’ll understand the variables better and the goal is to get better.
- Check. Someone (a communication person) needs to have an approved, written grid of benchmarks they are checking regularly. With an area that describes variables and (controlled/uncontrolled) situations that affected the metrics. This is the only way to know you’re winning! It’s also the easiest way to unify the entire leadership team for what they’re trying to achieve. If, along the way, your benchmarks and goals aren’t achievable; discuss this with leadership and adjust the plan. As a communication professional, it’s your duty to report these numbers and keep everyone focused on the prize.