What You Can’t Measure Can Still Make A Huge Impact
Things that can’t be measured can still have a huge impact on you and your audience.
Creating yardsticks and expecting to be able to quantify the success, or otherwise, of every activity and initiative can distract you from fulfilling your real purpose. What is concealed or impossible to quantify often reveals its value over time and can bring far more significant returns than arbitrary metrics ever allow for.
This article makes a stand for what isn’t always immediately apparent – showing how things that are impossible to quantify can still amount to great work that attracts attention.
Setting The Stall Out
Everything that has a metric is attached to a particular level of achievement.
Two likes are seen as less impactful than 16 likes, a handful of visits to your About Us page in a week is not as effective as a ton of views, having only a small number of Twitter followers means you have less clout than those who can boast an army of followers. More is seen as good, less is seen as bad.
Of course, having a means of measuring means you can identify what works and what doesn’t. Then again, you have to ensure that your metrics are asking the right questions and make it possible to measure the right things. Marketing dashboards heavily focused on scale and likes, may not be that valuable – after all, a like does not necessarily equate to a new subscriber or sale.
An obsession with numbers is a safe place from which to make judgments. Quantifying things allows us to see what happens if we continue as we are, do more or stop. You Are The Media would probably have been pulled in its first year if I’d gone on numbers alone. Let’s just say that it was very quiet. Measuring something doesn’t make it easier to make a decision. It just makes it measurable.
Creating and sharing your best work rarely happens when you’ve set an express intention to align with a particular set of demographics and psychographics. You do it for other people (and also for yourself). So there is value in what can’t be measured.
Champion What Can’t Be Measured
Let’s look at some of the things that cannot be monitored but still have a positive effect on your work overall, and ultimately contribute to commercial success:
The enthusiasm you bring to the table
Enjoyment doesn’t have a metric associated with it, but offers its own support, helping you continue creating and over time, making others aware of your presence. All this starts from you gaining contentment from doing the work. I recognise that the moment I stop enjoying You Are The Media, will be the time it comes to an end. My enthusiasm and commitment is driven not by me having all the answers, but bringing people together to figure things out together (reasd this on why it’s ok to say I don’t know). This sort of spark and drive become the catalyst for so much more.
The way your work helps someone else
If someone takes an idea from you on board, then you’ve been genuinely helpful and are elevated to a place of trust.
If your message encourages others to think differently and they then apply that thinking, it’s something you can’t measure or even see. But what’s happened, quietly and in the background, is that you’ve attracted a supporter, someone who may be ready, in time, to stand beside you for the long term.
Whilst this can then progress into something that can be measured such as a decision to attend an event or work with you, it is the intangible that you may never know about – how your work made someone feel – that started it all.
Private sharing that means you may never know
It comes as no surprise that the majority of shares take place in places that can’t be measured. From a private DM, to a Facebook Group, conversations and shares, that your work may be a part of, are happening all the time in places you probably don’t know about.
The days of simply telling your Twitter followers to share your latest article are gone. In their place, there’s something far more organic happening outside of your control in private spaces.
The vibe you get from others
Nothing beats that feeling of everyone being together in the moment. This is something we’re enjoying in the current online version of the YATM Lunch Club and it’s something that can’t be measured.
Another thing that doesn’t lend itself to measurement is say, the personal sense of achievement you feel when things simply go as planned or others interact with you and you have the satisfaction of knowing that the content you created struck a chord with them.
These ephemeral moments are to be savoured as recognition of your being on the right path. The potential for measurement may come some way down the line, when activity’s scaled, for example taking the form of people telling others to attend an event you put on.
Knowing your work is improving and becoming more confident
You progress and improve by making a commitment to creating and sharing your narrative over time.
There will be no definitive moment when you suddenly feel more confident; self-assurance is not quantifiable. Also, counter-intuitive though it may seem at first glance, the more confident you become, the easier it will be to open up and acknowledge where you fall short or feel able to recount instances where you got things wrong. This openness and willingness to share the more personal experiences of your business journey becomes your differentiator and a magnet for bringing people to you.
An attachment to others around you
When your media mix connects with others, it forges a path for the future. From the weekly email to the live events (both on and offline), I like the idea of growing older together with the YATM community.
This is nothing to do with a drive for more likes or social followers, but having a sense of responsibility to the people around you and what you do to you help them. The relationships built are not driven by some underlying drive to sell by any means necessary but through finding a mutual space where people join you for the long term.
A personal response from someone
The best part of sending the weekly YATM email is not combing open rates, social shares and clicks for the different sections of the email, but the interaction that happens after the email is sent.
The one-to-one moments arising from the email are some of the best parts of my week. These interactions can be as simple as a “thank you” email or hearing from someone who’s recently subscribed, to someone stepping up to share something they learnt from you and used for themselves. This real-time closeness is something that a marketing dashboard cannot evaluate. It feels good to you, it feels good to the person who got in touch with you, and it means that you’re both listening to each other.
So much that’s valuable doesn’t lend itself to, and goes beyond, metric mantras such as likes, views, clicks and shares.
The things you can measure don’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know about your activity and your audience. Even if responses to your activity stay largely out of your sight, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t aware and engaged by what you’re doing.
Data, and the insight gleaned from it, is important, but what it misses or can’t pick up – the sharing, comments and relationships built one-to-one, in more private spaces – is just as important in building a sense of community, connection and your confidence.