PR Measurement 101
As a company dedicated to “solving PR problems”, we’ve created the following PR measurement 101 guide to assist you in understanding why measuring PR is vital, what you should be measuring, and how to gauge success.
Let’s start from the top.
What is PR Measurement?
- Think of PR measurement as an injection of science into the art of PR, a quant front-end to a qual back-end.
- PR measurement provides an understanding of how investments made in PR map to quantifiable business outcomes; and ultimately, how PR efforts affect (potential) customers.
Why is PR Measurement important?
- Proper measurement drives optimization and improvement, while clearly the communicating the value of PR.
- PR is about listening carefully and telling stories in order to reach a particular audience or customer segment. Measurement provides an objective feedback loop to what’s working and what’s not.
- Last but certainly not least, PR deserves a seat at the table. Measuring PR is how we secure it.
Where should I start?A strategic approach to PR measurement includes four core elements:
- Specific goals
- Clear metrics
- Integrated PESO model
- Curated set of PRTech tools
How To Set Goals
Establishing measurement goals must be done through the lens of what the business is focused on accomplishing. Clear business goals = clear PR goals. The best way to set these goals is to ask explicit questions such as:
- Which business problem(s) do you want me to help solve?
- What does success looks like from a company standpoint? From a PR standpoint?
- Who is the target audience(s) and what do we want them to be doing?
Direct inquiries ensure you walk away with a clear understanding of and what you should be working towards. This information will also be vital as you select the channels, formats, narratives, and messaging you will use to achieve your goals.
How To Choose Metrics
For better or worse, metrics are industry specific, company specific, and campaign specific. Once you establish what PR is responsible for driving, it’s time to identify specific metrics that will prove you met goals.
Clear definitions of success mean PR can let go of vanity metrics and instead look to outcomes that matter to a business like:
- Narrative spread
- Message pull-through
- Web traffic
- Interactions across digital properties
The right metrics, when attached to clear goals should signal what tactics to continue to use, which actions to add in, and where you should make strategic cuts.
How To Use PESO
PESO is a robust framework for how PR and communications professionals should think about holistic execution. PR must adopt the use of paid, earned, shared, owned media to push out fully integrated programs that deliver real organizational results.
When PR invests the time to build out an integrated media strategy, a mere story or blog post can inevitably become an entire campaign that reaches customers in a meaningful targeted way.
How To Choose Tools
The burgeoning PRTech ecosystem is STACKED with tools designed to assist PR every step of the way. Whether you’re planning, executing, or measuring, there is a deep list of tools designed around automation, optimization, productivity, granularity and more.
Be clear about what stage you are in so that the subset of tools you choose align with your current focus. Also, be sure to not over saturate your process with more tools than you can manage. Remember, any tech should allow you to focus on what matters most: critical thinking, relationship building and storytelling.
How do I define success?
Meeting measurement goals is a definite indicator of success; however don't forget to consider the ripple affect of your efforts.
PR measurement, much like PR itself, is not a static endeavor. Be sure you are not only measuring short-term responses, but also applying that feedback within a long-term strategy.
True success for PR measurement requires every PR pro (and their direct reports, clients, etc.) to embrace a paradigm that enables a strategic approach to PR fueled by the right data.
After all, to drop one of our favorite quotes of all times: "you can't manage what you can't measure."