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Measuring messaging? Testing is king.

I’m a content advocate first and last. I love message development, turning a convincing phrase, writing in active voice — all that creative copy stuff that guys with Justin Bieber haircuts and little lozenge-shaped glasses will tell you is so essential to any social media effort.

That said, I’ll be the first to say that it takes a backseat to engineering, testing, and refining the tactics of the outreach itself. Any messaging effort can consist of myriad mini-campaigns presented across just as many platforms. Twitter barrages, consistent blogging, a video or podcast series, email blasts — even old-school banner ads, Adwords and PPC, with their need for watchmaker-precise word selection, are in the mix.

And all those platforms demand testing.

Yes, they are conduits for whatever slew of benefit statements you want to cook up, architected with all the clever, catchy language at your disposal. But reaching your audiences and inciting reaction absolutely demands attention to the medium as much as the message. You need to be more than a bit ruthless, willing to let a favorite turn of phrase go if it’s not getting enough response. Craft your messaging, pick your means of delivery, push send and see what happens.  Monitor the metrics constantly, and if the returns aren’t making you happy, scrap it and change course.

Sure, try it on every channel. Put it on beer coasters and t-shirts if you like, but if the in-box stays empty and the phone doesn’t ring, you’re making cleverness a priority over effectiveness.