As an organisation, you have constantly been publishing – or not, and which needs a rethink as you are missing out on great opportunities – throughout the year. Perhaps, doing online publishing via your organisation’s website, on social media or hard copies of books, reports, newsletters and so on.
And why have you been publishing? To reach out to others with similar ideas for partnership or to reach out to clients, both new or existing. Maybe, to create awareness on specific issues, to lobby or advocate for a certain course of action, as part of legal or funders’ requirements or a myriad other reason. Were you successful in your publishing objectives? Precisely, this is the reason why you must take stock of your publishing efforts as an organisation as the year draws to a close.
So, how are you to execute this endeavour that is taking stock of your yearlong publishing? In this, you have to take both a quantitative and qualitative approach to find out the impact of your publishing. Publishing, just like all other activities in your organisation, ought not to be perceived as an ad hoc activity, to borrow from the education sector, a kind of extracurricular activity to be paid lip service as your organisation concentrates on other core activities that you perceive heavily impacts your bottom-line. On the contrary, it should anchor all other activities; after all, it is the medium through which your organisation communicates its successes and challenges and its mission and vision to its various stakeholders.
The quantitative approach delves into the statistics of each publishing endeavour and their cumulative total at the end of the year. In short, the numbers – the numbers of books printed, the number of books distributed, the analytics of online and social media publishing campaigns via number of reads, likes and shares. Gauging the numbers of hard copy publications printed and disseminated is pretty much straightforward as the organisation keeps track of print orders and who got what publication and when. On the other hand, keeping track of online publishing endeavours may necessitate your organisation to invest in social media training to effectively harness the technology behind it.
The qualitative approach delves on the impact of what was published on the intended audience. This enables your organisation to plan and respond effectively to the concerns and interests of your audiences in each of your subsequent publishing endeavour. For instance, were the publications you distributed read and what was the feedback? How many online publications were shared as opposed to likes – with shares being more of a pointer to their impact as opposed to likes as the reader deemed them worthy to share with his or her circle of friends. What was the feedback of your online publishing as gleaned from the comments section?
Ultimately, both the quantitative and qualitative approach to your publishing endeavours enables you to have a pretty picture of the return on investment that is these endeavours. As such, your organisation is better placed to execute more impactful publishing campaigns for greater impact. Strategies to this end might include hiring a professional agency such as a publishing firm to help your organisation generate more engaging content, offer copyediting services to weed out those annoying typos in your published content and get your content read via insightful design. And while at it, not forgetting the adage that cheap is expensive.