Data: Strategy and Storytelling


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This presentation was given as a guest lecture in Laurel Hart's Spring 2011 Masters progra course for Corporate and Organizational Communications in the NYU school of continuing studies by Amy Sample Ward. Learn more at

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  • The first step? Start measuring everything and anything you can. If you have a database, start exploring the kinds of reports you can generate that are already built into the tool. The same goes for whatever you use for web analytics. One thing to remember is that often we have a general sense of something but don’t ever keep track of the number – for example, we have a sense that people really like when we share breaking news alerts on twitter for issues in our sector (like if we work in human rights for example), but start charting it! Keep track of the amount of retweets you get on those breaking news posts compared to organizational news or other interesting content. Create a way to validate your intuition.
  • It seems like this is obvious. But it isn’t. I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve worked with where you get a different answer about what the organization’s goals are from every person you talk to. This isn’t a messaging issue either. This is an issue with identifying goals that are clear to everyone – whether they integrate with the community or not. The more clear you can be about what the goals are (and where they fall), the more your data can help you deliver. And specifically to what we will talk about today, creating goals that are relevant to segments of the community and the actions you’re encouraging them to take! If your goal for the group of people on facebook is to get them to register and attend an offline event, then that both shapes how you communicate and what you communicate there, as well as how you measure the success.
  • To zero in on the concept of goals, I like to use the sweet spot. The sweet spot is this nifty venn diagram. Here’s how you use it: first identify what your community wants to do, and remember that the community wants to do all kinds of things, and many of them have nothing to do with your mission or your services or your work – what it is coming together around, whether it’s an event, an action, or a movement. Next, identify what you want to do, what your organizational goals are; and again, there’s going to be aspects of your work that the community is really not that interested in. Those two “wants to do” areaswill overlap and that gray area is the sweet spot. The key here is knowing it’s okay that the circles don’t entirely overlap! Maybe you provide services, and your community doesn’t want to be providing those services, but they are happy you are doing so. And maybe the community wants to endorse a specific candidate, and your organization doesn’t. But both the community and your organization want to see certain laws passed, things improved, programs created or groups supported. That’s the sweet spot where you can focus your energy.
  • Let’s dive in to Community Mapping! You might be an avid user of flickr, and love sharing photos. But that doesn’t mean all your volunteers are. Mapping your community helps you identify where everyone is, likes to be, and wants to engage with you. The Community Mapping exercise is most valuable when you can do it as a full organization or a team of people from across the departments.Plus - If you want to start listening to the community but not sure where they are, there’s a resources slide at the end of the presentation with a link to Build your own Listening Dashboard!
  • Step 1 – Identify all the groups within your community.As I said before the definitions, community is a huge, nebulous thing. To start mapping the community we need to first identify which groups are within it. Do you have volunteers, interns, or adjunct staff? Maybe you work with schools so you have segments for teachers, administrators, parents, students, and then groups outside of the school. Here are some questions that can help get people talking to start sharing the groups they work with.In my experience, the more diverse group you can get together to have this conversation and work through this planning together, the more complete a picture you can draw of your community. When people who work in services, programs, grant writing and fundraising, for example, all share their view of the groups in the community, not only can you start mapping the network but you can also have really rich discussions about the way different parts of your organization view the community.
  • The next step is to define the goals that match each group. There are two sets of goals to be discussed here: the first are the goals of that group – what do they want from you, why do they want to come to you, what do they get out of it? The second are the goals your organization has for that group – what are you hoping they will do, how will they contribute, what are you asking for from them? Again, this conversation can be really eye-opening as a part of building the community map, but also as far as encouraging dialogue within your organization and providing clarity around the organizational goals and the way they play out with the community engagement.
  • The third step is to identify the tools. This means identifying the spaces, platforms, and applications where each group congregates and where you can communicate with them. Even though much of these will be online social technologies, don’t forget about the offline spaces, too. Identifying the mechanisms you can use to communicate with each group can help you target your efforts, but in many cases illuminates areas where only one or a couple groups use a certain platform, while others use another – not only will this help you figure out where to say things, but can dramatically change what you say where.
  • Here’s what your Community Map could look like. If you’re doing this as a group in the office or at a retreat, you can use a whiteboard or a flip chart, or even have someone do it on their computer so long as everyone can see it in real-time with a projector or something. You’ll see there’s a column for each area we talked about: the groups first, then their goals, your goals, and finally the tools. I also have a template of this chart set up as a public google doc so you can use that link to get the template and save it to your computer for your own use.Before I move to the next section – does anyone have any questions?
  • Content planning! This is where we start to get a little bit more messy as we pull in even more data to make our plan. The questions on this slide are great questions to help you in your content planning. You’ll see as we work through this planning template how you can start to pull in or create answers to all these questions.
  • The first step is identifying all the content. Now, for this content map to be as valuable across your organization as possible, you want to be as specific as you can be with this section. I’ve listed some examples to get you started, but really think about all the various pieces of content you have. Instead of listing “blog posts,” instead, list what those blog posts are about: maybe job openings, volunteer opportunities, news about your work, examples of your services or people you have helped. New grants or new programs. There will probably be a lot of things to list. And that’s okay!
  • The next step focuses on goals. These goals should primarily come from the Community Map where you have two columns’ worth of goals and actions. There will be additional goals as well, but you do want to ensure that the goals you have already identified from the community map are included here. The additional goals could be things like, increase visibility, recruit new funders, find new staff or volunteers, etc.
  • The third step is listing all the possible outlets. Again, you can draw a lot of these from the community map, but you will probably find that this is an opportunity to be really specific, more specific than you were in the community map. For example, the community map may have identified facebook as a platform that one group uses. And in the content map you may list a facebook page as well as facebook events as you can create an event that’s tied to your page but publicizes and manages RSVPs for a one-time event.
  • Here’s an example of what your content map might look like. You’ll see that the goals and the content are listed on the left, and then along the right are all the various outlets. I like to use X, O and blank to denote that x=that content is always posted to that outlet; o=content is posted only if relevant; and blank=content is never posted to that outlet. You can use yes no maybe or any other set of indicators that work for you. Again, I’ve created this template as a public google doc so you can use that link to grab the template and save it to your own computer to use with your team.Before we go ahead with the metrics and tracking, does anyone have any questions?
  • Metrics – the fun part, right? Just as I said earlier, the more you measure the more you can use that data and information to inform your strategy and your engagement. But, data isn’t anything without context. That is why I really urge you to do two things: 1. track things over time so that you can compare against yourself, and not just against reports or studies you read of how other organizations are doing; and 2. track not just the number of people to do something but the numbers that provide context as well.
  • The first step to getting valuable metrics is having access to analytics. I imagine many people on this webinar have used google analytics before or have it hooked up to your organization’s website now. You can use google analytics with a lot of other places you may be investing time and energy online, too! Including blogger and wordpress, wikispaces and even facebook. There are links on the resources slide for more information about how to get set up if you are interested. The point here is that even if the online space isn’t “yours” it is still a place you can and should feel empowered to track and measure.
  • In addition to creating a listening dashboard, you can use all kinds of tools to ensure you get alerted to important actions. These are just a few of the dozens of applications and companies out there. If you aren’t already using Google Alerts, then get started today! You can even set up google alerts as RSS feeds that are part of your listening dashboard! The one I recommend as well from this list is social mention, as it’s free and you can search for any key word or hashtagetc and see what’s happening across the web.
  • Here’s where the big template comes in. Even if you’re using google alerts and google analytics, you may not really be able to look at data over time in a critical way. You will have a good sense of where things are going or how people respond to content and actions, but tracking it like this means you can point to specific data to support your case. This template, like the others, is available at that link as a public google doc that you can save and reuse. It is not intended to be an end-all-be-all template, but it is designed to show you just how much you can be tracking. And get you thinking about where you may have more data points to add in. You’ll notice there are tabs for various platforms so that you can concentrate each view to one platform and measure points over time.
  • There is no point tracking what you’re doing if you aren’t reporting it! On my team, we have A LOT of things that we track. And it would be silly to think that we would have monthly reporting that covers all of it. Why? Well if we wanted to talk about all of it we would just look at the tracking documents! Instead, we have monthly reports that are created for two areas: content and community. They each pull out a few items that are noteworthy – whether it’s a change, a marked increase, or something we can see reflected in other areas of our work. And from those two reports, I create a global report that touches on the items highlighted from content and community as well as our programs. It can be shared with the CEOs in a way that is directly translated into their understanding of our work as well as into their conversations with other organizations or funders. These are a few tips for internal and external reporting.
  • Anyone have questions? I’d love to un-mute the lines and hear how those on the call are already or are looking to use social media in programs!
  • Thanks again to all of you for coming! Please feel free to connect with me online for more resources or conversation!
  • Data: Strategy and Storytelling

    1. 1. Data! Strategy & Storytelling<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Becoming Data-Driven<br /> 1. Community Mapping<br /> 2. Content Planning<br /> 3. Metrics & Reporting<br />Storytelling with Data<br /> 1. Tools<br /> 2. Case Study<br />
    3. 3. definitions<br />
    4. 4. Definitions: Community vs Network<br />
    5. 5. Definitions: Social Media<br />
    6. 6. Definitions: Data<br />
    7. 7. Definitions: DIY<br />
    8. 8. Becoming data-driven<br />
    9. 9. Data-Driven: Measure, everything<br />
    10. 10. Data-Driven: Understand Goals<br />
    11. 11. Data-Driven: Use the Sweet Spot<br />
    12. 12. Community mapping<br />
    13. 13. Community Mapping<br />
    14. 14. Community Mapping: Step 1 - Groups<br />Questions to ask:<br />Do different programs or departments connect with different groups?<br />Do services or products target different groups?<br />How would you describe your community or audience to someone unfamiliar with your work, and if it is relevant to them?<br />
    15. 15. Community Mapping: Step 2 - Goals<br />Questions to ask:<br />Why does the community continuing needing your services, programs or work?<br />What is in it for others to participate?<br />-----<br />What do you need help with or involvement from the community to do?<br />How can your work improve with engagement?<br />
    16. 16. Community Mapping: Step 3 Tools<br />Questions to ask:<br />Where does this group already talk or engage online?<br />Which tools are most appropriate to the kind of message or content?<br />What kind of engagement is required to match the goals?<br />
    17. 17. Community Mapping: Complete<br />
    18. 18. Content mapping<br />
    19. 19. Content Planning<br />
    20. 20. Content Planning: Step 1 – Content<br />Examples:<br />Program or service updates/changes<br />Staff announcements<br />Jobs <br />Volunteer opportunities<br />Fundraisers<br />Events<br />
    21. 21. Content Planning: Step 2 – Goals<br />Examples:<br />Increase visibility of the organization<br />Increase participation<br />Raise funds<br />Build leadership<br />Find sponsors or partners<br />Recruit volunteers<br />Build community<br />
    22. 22. Content Planning: Step 3 – Outlets<br />Examples:<br />Newsletter or mailing<br />Email newsletter<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />LinkedIn<br />Website<br />Blog<br />
    23. 23. Content Planning: Complete<br />
    24. 24. Metrics & reporting<br />
    25. 25. Metrics<br />
    26. 26. Metrics: Analytics<br />
    27. 27. Metrics: Alerts<br />
    28. 28. Metrics: Tracking<br />
    29. 29. Metrics: Reporting<br />Internal reporting:<br /><ul><li>Weekly metrics for various platforms
    30. 30. Add metrics as you go
    31. 31. Look at long term, not just short term changes
    32. 32. Monthly reporting of trends and insights</li></ul>External reporting:<br /><ul><li>Share when there is something worth sharing
    33. 33. Reporting context, not just numbers
    34. 34. Ask for input and feedback
    35. 35. Highlight where others can get involved</li></li></ul><li>Storytelling with data<br />
    36. 36. County Sin Ranking<br />
    37. 37. Casualties<br />
    38. 38. tools<br />
    39. 39. Tools: Google Earth<br />Neighbours Against Irresponsible Logging (NAIL)<br />Hard-to-understandpublic notice of redwood logging plan<br />Plan remapped in Google Earth<br />Impact: Stopped the plan<br />
    40. 40. Open Street Map<br />
    41. 41. SeeClickFix<br />
    42. 42. Ushahidi<br />
    43. 43. Case study<br />
    44. 44. To Mama With Love<br />
    45. 45. Join To Mama With Love<br />Get in on the love!<br /> Want in on the action? There’s a secret team conspiring behind the scenes preparing this year’s launch. If you want to join in, send me an email and I’ll send you the secret link to join us!<br /><br />
    46. 46. Photo Credits<br />Slide 2:<br />Slide 4:<br />Slide 5:<br />Slide 6:<br />Slide 7:<br />Slide 9:<br />Slide 10:<br />Slide 13:<br />Slide 18:<br />Slide 25:<br />
    47. 47. Resources<br />Templates:<br />Community Map Template:<br />Content Map Template:<br />Metrics Template:<br />Research & Tools:<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    48. 48. Resources<br />Blog Posts:<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    49. 49. NTEN Membership<br />
    50. 50. Questions & Discussion<br />What data do you already have?<br />What story is most compelling?<br />What is the single most important action?<br />
    51. 51. THANKS!<br /><br /><br /><br />@AmyRSWard<br /><br /><br />