According to the Holmes 2016 Global Communications Report, measurement and evaluation is one of the top three services that will drive future growth of the PR industry. Ironically, the study also found that this is an area that PR practitioners and clients struggle to find value in, due to how poorly PR measurement has long been constructed.
Although not easy, creating PR measurement metrics that tie to a business’s performance while providing strategy for PR campaigns can be done. At LEWIS, I work with clients to create measurement projects that drive PR strategies and provide KPIs that can be easily linked to business outcomes.
Here are a few top tips for creating impactful measurement metrics:
1. Define direct competitors
Defining the right competitors helps PR professionals formulate strategies that help brands stay ahead of the competition. More often than not, brands try to compare themselves with the wrong competitors. The most common mistake I see is a brand comparing themselves with the biggest brand in their industry, even though their brand is much smaller and serves a completely different group of clients. To avoid this slip-up, I encourage brands to think about the companies that compete with them in the same geographical locations, in the same vertical markets, for the same value propositions, or for the same media audience.
2. Understand the brand’s reporting structure
To build relevant metrics, you need to understand the internal reporting structure and expectations of the brand’s senior leaders. When you service a client, it is not enough to create metrics that make your client contact happy. Find out who your client contact reports to, what business outcomes they would like to see, and how they prefer that information be presented. When you measure your own brand, speak to senior leaders and external stakeholders to make sure you understand their expectations and that the measurement metrics you create align with their needs.
3. Be smarter than the measurement tools you use
Measuring metrics often requires the help of online automated tools to mine traditional media and social data. While many of these tools claim to do the same thing, the way they provide data can be wildly different. You have to understand the data each tool provides, including what their strengths and weaknesses are. Perhaps most importantly, you have to be consistent in your tool usage to provide “apples to apples” comparisons. Don’t create two comparable social metrics reports from two different tools. Chances are the data behind each will be very different.
4. Remove the “white noise” even if it makes you look better
In 2011, IPR, AMEC and CPRF founded the Coalition for PR Research Standards (CPRRS) to develop and promote industry-leading standards for the earned media aspect of social media measurement. According to CPRRS, pick-ups generated through controlled channels such as press release distribution websites do not count as media hits. Counting items such as irrelevant mentions of a brand name or press releases as media pick-ups may not always provide a real snapshot of how a brand’s media campaigns are doing. As such, they should be removed from media and social scans.
Do you have a client or a senior leader who has been giving your measurement metrics a blank look? Applying these tips will help you convert that blank stare into a smile, or even a pat in the back!