A Step-By-Step Approach to PR Measurement
Public relations professionals today must measure their work if they hope to be taken seriously. Measurement has never been more productive and innovative. With the increasing prominence given to measurement through industry associations, academics and analysis vendors, it is easier to stay tuned to important media channels, keep tabs on competitors and anticipate unwelcome surprises than ever before. But to maximize the value and benefits of a measurement program, it’s critical to set goals and identify key stakeholders for the data. How do you get the process started without spending a fortune or risking repercussions from an unsuccessful program? The tips below are a step-by-step routemap to get you going in the right direction!
FIRST: CLARIFY YOUR ORGANISATIONAL GOALS
An organisational goal is a broad idea of what you would like to achieve, stated in clear, simple terms. Typically, these over-arching goals cluster around the following:
SECOND: DETERMINE KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND PRIORITISE
Who are your key stakeholders internally and externally, and which are most important to reaching your goals? Practical budgeting considerations may make it impossible to address them all, so start prioritising through some smart initial research:
THIRD: SET SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES FOR PRIORITISED STAKEHOLDER GROUPS
At the conclusion of this research, meet again with key internal managers to help decide which goals and stakeholders will take priority for the PR and/or social media measurement. Then, set specific objectives for each goal that specify:
For example, if a business goal is to sell more homes, an objective might be “to increase the number of home tours among first-time buyers aged 25-54 by 50% in the following year.” Simply focusing efforts in this way will increase your likelihood of success and enable you to modify the objective as you gain history and move forward.
FOURTH: SET "KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS" AGAINST EACH OBJECTIVE
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable (numeric) measures that enable you to show progress over time for each objective. For example, if your objective is to get first-time buyers into your show homes, some KPIs might be:
FIFTH: CHOOSE TOOLS AND BENCHMARK
At this point, you’ll need to decide who to measure against. Is it just your own organisation over time or would it be important to measure performance against competitors? Choosing appropriate tools and metrics for measurement is vital to the success of the programme - e.g. the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework would enable you to identify the tools and metrics needed to measure your campaign in terms of:
SIXTH: ANALYSE THE RESULTS AND COMPARE TO COSTS
Data by itself does not equal intelligence. It must be analysed and interpreted to generate actionable insights and recommendations for strategy and planning. It should also provide a means to compare programme costs against identified results. “Return on Investment” is a very ill understood term, and some claim that it cannot be accurately calculated for non-financial programs. However, cost-efficiency metrics such as “cost-per-targeted impression,” “cost-per-lead” or “cost-per-unique visitor” can be useful. If you DO want to calculate ROI, you should use a true financial formula expressed as a percentage or ratio, as follows:
SEVENTH: PRESENTING TO THE CEO and senior management
A dashboard or scorecard with headlines, bullets and metrics that show performance trends can be highly compelling to the C-suite. Survey results, correlations to outcomes, or solid tracking data from web analytics, will all resonate strongly with a CEO and senior management.
EIGHTH: MEASURE CONTINUOUSLY AND IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
Stay vigilant by keeping your programme growing and robust.
✔ Always start with asking yourself what you want your evaluation to achieve (sounds pretty basic, but you’d be amazed how many organisations forget this vital step).
✔ Be realistic – on budget, on timing, on scope. You tend to get what you pay for ……
✔ Invest time up front with your evaluation provider – time invested now in defining expectations, scope, budget etc will pay dividends down the line.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Carma