Posts Tagged ‘benchmarks’

Measuring the Success of Your PR Campaign

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Tape measure bar chart“We don’t all measure the same things, measure the same ways, or use the same tools or terminology,” wrote Jack Felton in the forward to the 2002 edition of the Dictionary of Public Relations Measurement and Research. The dictionary unifies the nomenclature of PR and media measurement, but once you know the vocabulary, it’s time for the down-and-dirty work of actually measuring.

David Rockland, partner and managing director of global research at Ketchum, said of the principles of PR measurement, that “Public relations has evolved at an extremely rapid pace of the past decade, and with that evolution must come a comprehensive and effective way of measuring its value.” Within are some of the most effective measurement tips to assess the progress of your PR campaign.

Establish Goals

Every successful PR campaign starts from clearly-defined, measurable goals. Is your aim to create brand awareness, to generate leads, to increase sales, or to position your organization as an industry leader? The scope of your organization’s goals affects methods of measurement and definitions of success.

Set Benchmarks

Establish your benchmarks based on what enables you to clearly, quantitatively, or qualitatively determine success. Most PR campaigns utilize media outreach, so it’s imperative to track tone, prominence, share of voice, and page visits. These are central to tracking how your key messaging plays in the media.

For goals that influence target groups, include metrics like brand awareness, recognition, credibility, and image. Business-oriented goals like increasing revenue, brand value, or market share are best measured through market analytics and sales tracking.


The quality of media coverage your PR campaign receives is just as – if not more – important than the quantity of coverage it receives. Don’t focus solely on circulation or media value; qualitative measures like tone, prominence, and share of voice are indicators of campaign success.

The Right Quantity

Though Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) has proved a popular PR yardstick, there are more revealing quantitative measures to use. These quantitative measures don’t need to be confined within narrow parameters, and the most effective quantitative measures distinguish placement and publication prominence and message variety.

Social Media

Now that social media is an inherent component to most PR campaigns, it must also be measured, and there are plenty of social media tools to help. When monitoring social media platforms, look out for discussions relevant to your organizations and become an active participant. Approach social media with an analytical eye and identify patterns, trends, and opinions.

Quantify the results of your social media efforts by shares, recommendations, retweets, followers, reach, and tone, as well as social media measurement standards such as impact and value, influence, relevance, reach, impressions, and sentiment.

Remember to identify who your most active users are. Active users can not only help spread your social media messages, they may also be prime candidates for becoming brand evangelists.

Best Practices for Measurement

Choose measurement benchmarks that can consistently track progress over extended periods of time. Keep your analysis on a manageable scale; limit your analysis to a few select publications or competitors, or keep the tracking within a shorter amount of time.

Finally, make use of experts. This could mean enlisting internal experts on tracking and coding, or it could mean hiring a third-party expert to provide a comprehensive, robust measurement report.  Make sure that any expert fully understands your goals and objectives, and be sure to ask plenty of questions so you know exactly how things are measured and the depth of analysis your campaign requires.

How do you track your PR progress? Which metrics do you find most revealing?

Are You Still Using Multipliers?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

flickr_graphmeeting_2136954043_5145b15312.jpgDuring a recent PRSA webinar sponsored by BurrellesLuce I referenced the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) white paper, “Dispelling the Myth of PR Multipliers and Other Inflationary Audience Measures” by: Mark Weiner and Don Bartholomew. This prompted many follow-up questions, mostly about the “greater” credibility of editorial content vs. advertising. As noted in the white paper there are flaws in that thinking and there is no substantiated data proving this notion.

The white paper is excellent and should be read by everyone currently using multipliers in their measurement rationale and those thinking about its implications.

Here I want to provide my very “Reader’s Digest” summary for our peers who may need to recalibrate existing benchmarks if they lose a multiplier. In the real world of business, a “multiplier” of publisher supported data is an “Enron Metric.” The more you have to explain something, the more you compromise the credibility. Think about it this way: Your company has a certain number of clients. That’s the number. Would it be acceptable for the customer service department to report a higher number because they have a lot of “happy clients” or “clients who are referring business”? No. Then why would you want to put forward a number that can’t stand on its own merit?

The power of social media is thriving and growing by word-of-mouth and the influence of peers. The reason: credibility. Don’t compromise your greatest asset by taking a short cut or using numbers that aren’t straight forward and/or supported by a third-party data source.

Google Alert Users: Are You Getting What Google’s Not Paying For?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Twitter was so abuzz with discussion about Google and fair use of AP content that I couldn’t resist riffing off yesterday’s post by BurrellesLuce Executive Vice President Steve Shannon regarding AP copyright discussions.

The graphic below shows tweet results for the terms “Google,” “AP,” “Copyright,” “NAA” (Newspaper Association of America) and “ACAP” (Automated Content Access Protocol). If one were to review quantitative share of conversation yielded by this graph you would think Google “owns” the conversation; however a qualitative look into these conversations shows if Google were to engage in a “pay-per-click” micro-payment system for copyrighted content, the search giant risks being abandoned by some searchers.


If public relations teaches us anything it’s that huge fires can be started by a small spark. This graphic also demonstrates that the metrics produced the fastest and easiest often tell only part of the story.

Google has already found it’s difficult to monetize social media (e.g. purchase of YouTube) and may experience some bumps in their upward trajectory if micro-payment of copyrighted content takes hold. This situation will continue to evolve and Internet users will be watching closely to protect the free search.

I’m left thinking this is one more reason to protect the free press and investigative journalism that could provide in-depth reporting on this very important issue. Is this the tipping point showing the importance of getting the estimated 15K-20K trained reporters back to work? While micro-blogging grows increasingly popular, my guess is micro-payments won’t be embraced with quite the same fervor. I want a good investigative journalist to take the reins on this and let us know the real ramifications and the likely future of copyrighted material.

Questions specifically for public relation pros:
Will micro-payments change how some of you currently use the free alert system?
How will you be affected if Google alerts are forced to change its source list?
Are you prepared to modify your benchmarks to accommodate this change?