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Impact Metrics for Content: My Conversation with Stefan Byrd-Krueger

Everything changes…except for NGOs clinging to vanity content metrics instead of using data and analytics to really understand whether the reams of content they put out are having any impact.

But maybe even that’s changing now, too, says Stefan Byrd-Krueger, my guest on the latest episode of Science+Story: The Podcast. Stefan, the chief analytics officer of the digital and data strategy firm Parsons-TKO, joins me to chat about how research organizations should be thinking about measuring their impact. We talk about:

  • Which content impact metrics he pays attention to;
  • The factors behind the research sector’s reluctance to look critically at their content’s performance;
  • Why research organizations need to promote their individual experts more; and
  • Why he thinks the research sector is finally ready to level up the ways it measures content impact.

We also talk about Parsons-TKO’s new Data Innovation Studio initiative, which Stefan is deeply involved with and which promises to bring new data-driven insights to the research sector. Parsons-TKO works with many leading think tanks and mission-driven organizations, so these insights will be very applicable to your organization.

One thing that surprised me: Stefan credits communications leadership at these organizations — not funders — for pushing for data and analytics innovation to measure content impact. As he put it:

I think I’m seeing less patience from leadership when it comes to inability to tell these stories. And I think I actually want to credit leadership. Because I would say funders are a little late, little slow, and I think more of the momentum right now I’m seeing coming from organizational leadership to push for “give me the whole story, give me the full picture.” And I think, you know, lastly is – and this is a shoutout to our comms colleagues at these organizations – recognizing the ability – the role that comms has as an aggregator of insight about public audiences. You know, these organizations are less and less just focused on getting the word out, and a little bit more focused on understanding the people that they are serving, understanding the constituents of this research. You know, you can do surveys, you can do studies, but comms is the department that’s out there having interactions with these people most often. They have the largest number of discreet systems that have these touchpoints. And so I think there’s growing recognition of comms – heads of comms, you know, CMOs and their ability to serve as a research arm for the rest of the organization. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential there.

Stefan is brilliant — you will learn a lot.