The original plan for this particular publication was to round up our most popular articles of 2017 and write curated blurbs on them, just like we did last year. Easy enough, right? This information is ready available à la analytics by looking for the most clicked articles.
But I was challenged by a community member: “Click rates don’t necessarily indicate impact. Why don’t you try and round up the most impactful articles?”
That is, at the end of the day, what we’re after, right?
But, impact is great to imagine, and really difficult to measure.
For starters, how do you even define it? I’ll ask you to reflect for a second. How would you define impact? Is a piece impactful if it challenges (or confirms) your assumptions? Is it impactful if it gives meaningful advice that you were able to apply in your own setting? Or perhaps it backed up an idea you wanted to bring to your organization, thereby providing literature to point to.
Admittedly, the following round up has no quantitative bearing (maybe our friends over at rasa.io will figure out a way to harness AI into helping us measure impact one day). For the time being, I had to revert to good old fashioned asking. Through social media posts, and a couple pointed emails, I asked the community, (without defining my terms) which articles they found the most impactful.
Some referred to articles on our site; others linked out to brilliant pieces that I wish we had published. So without further ado:
“Her article gave me that ‘reflective pause’ that I spoke of on our call this week. It led me into deep think on how I can better build the confidence of my team to bring out their leadership. Plus, it referenced the Heath brothers, who I find to be required reading for everyone.” – Mike Moss, President, Society for College and University Planning.
“Because almost every conference experience executes the opposite of what would be considered excellent adult learning experiences.” – Garth Jordan, SV, Corporate Strategy, Healthcare Financial Management Association.
“Unless you are your own audience, no one cares what YOU like; you have to care what THEY like. More importantly, you have to understand what motivates them to act, and then exceed that benchmark.” – Tim Parsons, COO/CMO, 5:00 Films & Media.
(Note: this is a webinar, not an article!)
“Because we are a professional body, our membership is kind of built in. If they want to work, they must get a license from us. Most members register online and never deal with us unless they have problems, so we haven’t set a “memorable moment” that makes them see value in us. It really got me thinking about how important that first contact is with students and how we can harness it. I think we can improve our image/relevance in a generation of new members instantly. We are pushing for our online community to have an area specifically for students to help them learn, provide mentorship, and offer a handful of other things to kickstart their careers.” – Emery Wolfe, Multimedia & Technology Specialist, Saskatchewan Registered Nurse’s Association.
And finally, this insight didn’t come in the form of an article, but was rather an excellent suggestion of how we might define impact:
“[The most impactful articles] inspire the most conversation in the community. Better yet, the most meaningful conversation. When I think meaningful, I think strategic and philosophical.” – Amanda Kaiser, Chief Path Finder, Kaiser Insights LLC.