Dear Colleague: I’m often asked if there’s a secret to winning IABC Gold Quill awards. If there is, it’s an open secret that is spelled out clearly in the description of what to include in the Statement of Objectives that accompanies the work sample you want to enter—measurable objectives and measurable results tied to organizational goals. I’ve put together some slides that show examples of how to, and how not to, think through your objectives and then measure how well you achieve them. You can also review a Quill-winning statement of objectives, as well as look at two Gold Quill-winning statements of objectives for client projects. The “secret,” if there is one, is building in research and measurement. Do upfront research to be sure you understand the organizational need and your key audiences. Establish baselines for where you’re starting out before your communication is launched. Then repeat the research to measure the progress you made. And above all, be sure that what you’re measuring is connected to audience behaviors that lead to financial results, not just improvements in knowledge and greater satisfaction with a communication vehicle. This approach ensures that the value of what you’re doing is appreciated by your senior leadership team, not just award program judges. If you’re thinking of entering any award programs next year, now is the time to establish your baselines. I hope the information here gives you some ideas on how to do that. If you need any more, just give us a call. May you have a measurably successful year!
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