We asked all our international authors for their top 3 measurement tips. Here is a summary of what they said.
✔ Measurement is the best way to demonstrate the value of your work - use it;
✔ Be clear about your goals, measure objectively;
✔ Don't obsess about a number, focus on demonstrating the link between activities and outcomes.
✔ The age of measuring outcomes in PR is well and truly upon us.
✔ Avoid measurement at your own peril – and with significant opportunity costs.
✔ A commitment to measurement is as much an industry issue as a differentiator for individual competitors.
✔ Do the groundwork and engage people at all levels across the agency in the development of the approach before launching internally.
✔ Identify suitable clients with which to roll out the approach, using the success of the deployment to facilitate ‘sell in’ to other clients across the network.
✔ Don’t assume universal success immediately; it takes time and sometimes baby steps are needed.
✔ 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.
✔ Set specific and measurable objectives in advance that can be used to improve communications planning
✔ Communications creates business value in several steps: Activity, Output, Outcome, Business ROI.
✔ Don’t waste time and budget on evaluation if the results won’t be used!
✔ Read and understand the Barcelona Principles. Available at www.amecorg.com.
✔ When you report results, place them in the context of the business objectives of the organization as well as against the goals of the communications program you are measuring.
✔ Ask yourself how you can move your measurement program to the next level, whether it be to add a quality dimension to media measurement if you are only counting clips, or from a change in consumer perception to its impact on business performance.
✔ Begin with the end in mind – Measure against your objectives, align your social objectives to those of your organisation
✔ Measure appropriately - Be wary of automation, and counting basic metrics that are easy to count but basically meaningless
✔ A few charts and numbers are not measurement – successful social media measurement needs relevancy, context and insight
And a bonus tip:
✔ Don’t fear measurement, embrace it, it’s there to help guide you not criticise you!
✔ Be PROVOCATIVE! Abandon all goals for broad coverage. Aim for the right impact only. Become obsessive about "how did this change behaviour?" not how much coverage it got. Design communications programs from the outset to drive behaviour change, not clippings.
✔ Speak the language of the boardroom! Always strive to link public relations to results that can be ‘banked’ (ie. not clippings or AVE). This may be a longer term outcome (eg. new leads to closing deals 12 months later) or corporate reputation gains that open up access to new resources or cost savings from deeper employee engagement and reduced staff turnover.
✔ Reserve program budget for quality impact & outcome measurement to prove business impact. (Especially at the expense of meaningless clipping reports.)
✔ Don’t measure for vanity. Measure what matters against your objectives and demonstrate successes; but equally use measurement to identify what didn’t work and take action as a result.
✔ Fully understand the problem and objectives before you plan. At this planning stage set out the key metrics you will track including outputs, outtakes and outcomes.
✔ Don’t overcomplicate the reports. Communicate the findings with context so they make sense to those who are not expert in the field and tell the story of what it means for the organisation.
✔ Push for outcome metrics. These can put the BHA in the G; Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Sometimes our clients need our help in pinning them down. But when we do, we have a much clearer picture of what we are working towards, which is a great motivator.
✔ Budget-shmudget. Don’t get me wrong;: I’d be delighted with a huge measurement budget that let me create tons of fancy charts and graphs. But just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you can’t design a smart measurement program. Be creative – but not prevaricative – in your use of Internet-based tools (many of which are extremely affordable) to track your work.
✔ A clear call-to-action is vital. Not only does it make your strategy more effective, you know exactly what it is you’re tracking. Make sure your CTA connects to your desired outcome… and don’t be shy asking for it.
Read Shonali's Chapter
✔ Ensure all project briefs are clear
✔ Avoid jargon but if you must check what the word means and challenge people who use it in the wrong way.
✔ Don’t invent new words deliberately unless they truly represent a new idea.